Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Costa Rica's national football team arrived in Jamaica yesterday for tonight's CONCACAF Final Round qualifier, in a great position to qualify for next year's FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil.
However, the central Americans are wary of the threat that the struggling Reggae Boyz pose in their clash at the National Stadium tonight at 7:00.
Los Ticos lead the Hexagonal series on 14 points, followed by the United States of America (USA) (13), Honduras (10), Mexico (8), Panama (7), while Jamaica remains rooted at the cellar on three points with three rounds of games remaining.
Whilst Costa Rica could win today and qualify for next year's showpiece, the Reggae Boyz must win in order to continue their quest for a spot.
"Yes, we are in a great position, topping the group at this stage. We are looking to secure a spot as soon as possible," Paulo Wanchope, assistant coach of Costa Rica, told The Gleaner upon arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday afternoon.
"It is difficult to play against a team that is down. They have a new coach (Winfried Schäfer), so we have to be careful. It is always difficult to play against Jamaica," Wanchope, who represented Costa Rica in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup Finals and also played several times here against The Reggae Boyz added.
"We have to be patient, we are nearly there. We have to think about what we need to do, to remain calm. Jamaica still have a chance, so it won't be easy," Wanchope added.
Wanchope said he is not surprised that the Los Ticos are in pole position.
"We are not surprised as we have a great team with great players," he noted.
Costa Rica are coming off a high with a 2-1 win against USA in Costa Rica.
The full Costa Rica squad is: Bryan Ruiz (captain), Patrick Pemberton, Leonel Moreira, Michael Vimaria, Junior Diaz, Geancario Gonzales, Bryan Oviedo, Jhonny Acosta, Cristian Gamboa, Carlos Johnson, Oscar Duarte, Carlos Borges, Michael Barrantes, Jose Miguel Cubero, Yeltsin Tejeda, Esteban Granados, Mauricio Cstillo, Diego Calou, Alvaro Saborio, Randall Brenz, Joel Campbell, Victor Nunez and Yendrick Ruiz. The coach is Jorge Luis Pinto.