After a trying set of three road qualifying matches, Mexico is back at its Estadio Azteca home, where it will face a Costa Rica team that will be scrapping for a draw or even more as it seeks to keep its World Cup qualifying hopes alive.
Mexico is in third place in the qualifying standings and with three straight home games at the Estadio Azteca, it could cement its place in one of the top three standings positions which will award a direct berth to the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be played in Qatar in November. El Tri could also use a few convincing performances in that stretch after losses to the USA and Canada had fans and media piling the pressure.
Struggling Costa Rica has its own issues, but also enters with renewed hope of contention for fourth place in the standings, which would give it a place in an intercontinental playoffs to be played in June against the team that emerges from Oceania, likely to be New Zealand.
Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Mexico vs. Costa Rica live score
(All times Eastern)
40th min.: Costa Rica chance! Celso Borges all alone on the header and it’s an easy stop for Memo Ochoa. Costa Rica continues to be dangerous on the counter. Borges was wide open on the header. The Ticos have the best chance of the game so far.
39th min.: YELLOW — Another caution for Costa Rica. Keysher Fuller goes in the book, which is good news for the Mexico wingers, who will target him.
37th min.: Mexico ‘keeper Memo Ochoa has to come off his line to stop a Costa Rica attack and that’s followed by another Chucky Lozano shot that’s high from distance. Mexico needs Chucky to take on players instead of settling for a low percentage shot.
34th min.: Chucky Lozano shot high of the bar. Mexico is picking up the pace here.
32nd min.: Goal Mexico, but it’s disallowed! Great play by Tecatito down the left and Rogelio Funes Mori puts home the rebound. But it turns out Funes Mori was offside on the touch by Tecatito.
26th min.: Another weak header by Chucky Lozano and a hopeful shot by Hector Herrera (which was probably a cross). El Tri is not clicking, passes aren’t sharp. It doesn’t look like Mexico is on tonight.
23rd min.: Mexico is not really able to create much so far. Costa Rica is well-organized, as is always the case with the Ticos. El Tri needs to get Tecatito and Chucky going on the wings. They can’t find them so far.
13th min.: YELLOW — Costa Rica’s Alonso Martinez gets a yellow card for a stomp. First caution of the game.
12th min.: First goal kick of the match at the Estadio Azteca and the fans shout out “Mexico” in lieu of the homophobic chant that is the reason why Mexico only has a small crowd of 2,000 employees and corporate partners at this home qualifier. All of them were registered for the match and if there is a homophobic chant, they’re going to track down the guilty fans and ban them for five years.
10th min.: Costa Rica chance! Joel Campbell to Alonso Martinez and Memo Ochoa has to come up with the save. Costa Rica’s transition was dangerous there.
3rd min.: Set piece taken by Tecatito Corona and sent into the box, but Chucky Lozano can’t get the header on target.
1st min.: We’re off with a small crowd at the Estadio Azteca and Mexico is already on the front foot.
5:58 p.m.: As we get set for kickoff, here are the highlights of the five changes in the Mexico lineup:
Son 5 cambios con relación al
último juego 🇯🇲 1-2 🇲🇽:
Salen del 11:
— Xavi (@XaviSol_) January 30, 2022
5:15 p.m.: A storied stadium for an important match:
Mexico vs. Costa Rica lineups
The return of ‘Chucky’ Lozano in attack, along with the recovery of midfielder Edson Alvarez and center back Cesar Montes (COVID-19) will be a boost to Mexico’s hopes of delivering a convincing performance. Raul Jimenez was always going to be a gameday decision and doesn’t make the cut.
Right back Jorge Sanchez won’t be available due to a left MCL injury suffered against Jamaica, the extent of which was not disclosed. Chaka Rodriguez gets the start instead. No Jonathan Orozco, Osvaldo Rodriguez, Andres Guardado or Uriel Antuna on the matchday roster.
Mexico starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 13-Guillermo Ochoa (GK) — 23-Jesus Gallardo, 15-Hector Moreno, 3-Cesar Montes, 21-Luis Rodriguez — 8-Carlos ‘Charly’ Rodriguez, 4-Edson Alvarez, 16-Hector Herrera — 17-Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona, 11-Rogelio Funes Mori, 22-Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano
Mexico subs (12): 1-Alfredo Talavera (GK), 12-Rodolfo Cota (GK), 6-Julian Araujo, 5-Johan Vasquez, 2-Nestor Araujo, 19-Gerardo Arteaga, 14-Erick Gutierrez, 7-Luis Romo, 9-Diego Lainez, 20-Henry Martin, 10-Alexis Vega, 18-Orbelin Pineda
Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez confirmed there would be changes due to the physical toll of Thursday’s gritty home win over Panama. Moving to a five-man backline was always likely given his team’s expected defensive stance, and Mexico’s strength on the wings.
Winger Randall Leal (gastroenteritis) is out and midfielder Orlando Galo will also miss the match due to a knock picked up against Panama. Jefry Valverde (San Carlos) and Anthony Contreras (Guanacasteca) were called up to fill the void. Regulars Oscar Duarte (right thigh), Cristian Gamboa (hip) and Ricardo Blanco (right hamstring) are not with the team due to injury, and third-string ‘keeper Esteban Alvarado was a last-minute scratch after he was not permitted to leave Costa Rica by authorities due to a legal matter.
Costa Rica starting lineup (5-3-2, right to left): 1-Keylor Navas (GK) — 4-Keysher Fuller, 2-Youstin Salas, 19-Kendall Waston, 15-Francisco Calvo, 8-Bryan Oviedo — 5-Celso Borges, 17-Yeltsin Tejeda, 16-Alonso Martinez — 13-Gerson Torres 12-Joel Campbell
Costa Rica subs (12): 23-Leonel Moreira (GK), 3-Juan Pablo Vargas, 6-Daniel Chacon, 22-Ronald Matarrita, 7-Douglas Lopez, 14-Jefry Valverde, 10-Bryan Ruiz, 20-Aaron Suarez, 11-Johan Venegas, 9-Jewison Bennette, 18-Anthony Contreras, 21-Jose Guillermo Ortiz
How to watch Mexico vs. Costa Rica
- Date: Sun, Jan. 30, 2022
- Time: 6 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: Univision, TUDN
- Streaming: fuboTV, Paramount+
The Mexico vs. Costa Rica World Cup qualifier from the Estadio Azteca will be broadcast on Univision and TUDN in the USA. Both channels can be streamed on fuboTV, which is available via free trial.
The match will also be streamed in English on CBS streaming platform Paramount+.
There will be 2,000 fans in attendance at the Estadio Azteca comprised of Mexican federation staff and corporate partners, as the federation institutes a pilot program to help it eradicate a homophobic chant that originally forced it to play the Jan. 30 and Feb. 2 qualifiers behind closed doors.
Mexico vs. Costa Rica betting odds, pick & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
The lines for this game tell the story: The outlook clearly calls for a Mexico home victory, and likely by a shutout. The only suspense — and the most compelling odds — lies in how many goals El Tri will score and what the margin of victory will be.
During this final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, Mexico is averaging 2.38 xG at the Estadio Azteca and Costa Rica is giving up 1.53 xgA on the road per FootyStats. So projecting two goals scored by Mexico is not much of a reach, except for the fact that the Ticos have Paris Saint-Germain master shot-stopper Keylor Navas in goal and they’ve only actually conceded three goals in four road matches so far.
So which will outshine the other? Mexico attack or Costa Rica defense? El Tri has a chip on its shoulder to prove the critics wrong after two previous losses to the USA and Canada, and a scare against Jamaica. Tata Martino’s men should have an edge to their game, and the sparse crowd could help take away some of the pressure that’s usually present at the Azteca. The return of an in-form Chucky Lozano should make Mexico difficult to contain.
Pick: Mexico -1.25 Asian Handicap (-125)
Prediction: Mexico 3, Costa Rica 0
- Moneyline: Mexico -330 / Draw +400 / Costa Rica +850
- Spread: Mexico -1.5 (+100) / Costa Rica +1.5 (-135)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over +105 / Under -135
- Both Teams To Score: Yes +165 / No -220