Ex-Gunner Joel Campbell strikes early to send Costa Rica to FIFA World Cup

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By Martin Graham | 16th Jun 2022

Former Arsenal striker Joel Campbell put New Zealand to the sword by scoring early to send his country to a third consecutive FIFA World Cup appearance.

The Costa Ricans had to hold out their slender lead and battle to see out their 1 – 0 score against a 10-man New Zealand side.

The ex-Arsenal man scored in less than four minutes into the game as he moved past two New Zealand defenders to get a through pass from Jewison Bennett and poke home the only goal of the game while the defenders looked too slow to react to the attack.

New Zealand bemoan controversial VAR calls

The New Zealand team also had an opportunity of scoring a goal of their own and restoring parity. Former Burnley and now Newcastle United point man Chris Wood put the ball into the back of the net in the 39th minute but the goal was ruled out due to a foul in the build up to the goal.

The VAR ruled out that Matthew Garnett fouled Oscar Duarte in the build up to Wood’s goal, a decision that has left many All White fans fuming as it genuinely looked harsh.

Also, Kosta Barbarouses was shown a red card for a foul in the 69th minute, leaving the All Whites down to 10 men and making their task even more difficult

The playoff final at the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium in Qatar involving the fourth placed team in the CONCACAF qualifying series and the winner of the Oceania Cup drew a close to an interesting qualifying series and our attention will now turn to the World Cup in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.

New Zealand hard pressed to miss out on World Cup

The Costa Ricans will now appear in their sixth World Cup and their third consecutive appearance at the world’s pinnacle stage. They find themselves in group E involving former world champions Spain and Germany with the difficult Japan.

Though Campbell’s 3rd minute goal set the whole stadium on fire, the result was not a true reflection of the entire game. The Kiwis were the more dominant and inquiring of both sides with the Newcastle striker Wood constituting a nuisance throughout the game.

The Costa Ricans will hardly care about the performance yesterday instead they will revel in the gloss of victory. However, if they are to make any mark in Qatar, they will need to do much better than what they displayed against New Zealand.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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