Doha: Joel Campbell’s early goal sent Costa Rica to the World Cup for the third tournament in a row when in the Intercontinental Playoffs on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) they beat New Zealand with 10 men 1-0 and secured last place in the final in Qatar.
The former Arsenal striker scored three minutes behind Costa Rica as he squeezed between two defenders to touch Juan Bennett’s home square pass and the New Zealand defense reacted slowly.
But all the whites will feel hard after VAR equalized for a foul in the build-up of Chris Wood, who scored the goal in the 39th minute.
An investigation revealed that Matthew Garbett fouled on Oscar Duarte, which looked like a tough decision.
A VAR test also led to a red card in the 69th minute for Sydney FC winger Costa Barbarussez, leaving 10 people in the Kiwi.
The playoffs between the fourth-ranked team in the CONCACAF region and the winner of the Oceania Confederation at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium have completed the qualifying campaign for the 2022 final in Qatar, which will be held from November 21 to December 18.
Costa Rica in total qualified for the sixth World Cup and will fight in Group E in the final against Germany, Japan and Spain.
Campbell’s goal lifted about 6,000 itinerant fans from a crowd of 10,803 people, but that didn’t lead to the expected dominant game of the Central American team.