Costa Rican players sing national anthem before qualifying soccer match against the United States

Costa Rican civil servants will be given an extra lunch break to watch the national team play against New Zealand in the playoffs to determine the final team to compete in the World Cup in Qatar.

The edict of President Rodrigo Chavez allows Costa Rican public sector workers to follow the broadcast during today’s long lunch break. [Macau time] It will be a shock to the team from New Zealand where rugby is an obsession with national sports.

The playoffs at Doha’s Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium will begin at 6am local time Wednesday in New Zealand.

World Cup qualifying campaigns can make football stand out in New Zealand. The so-called All White made its first appearance in the World Cup final in 1982 through a record 13 zigzag game campaign from China to Saudi Arabia.

When they qualified to play in South Africa in 2010, they were eliminated in group play after three draws, including one with Italy, and regained public attention. The playoffs against Bahrain brought a record crowd, but the football time in the limelight was short-lived.

New Zealand reached this final qualifying match after emerging as the top team in the Oceania region, but did not break the TV rating record in most Pacific island nations. Recently, the international friendly match against Peru, where New Zealand lost 1-0, and Oman, who drew 0-0, did little to increase enthusiasm among those unskilled in the global appeal of football. Hmm.

Costa Rica participated in the 1990s, 2002, 2006, 2014 and 2018 and regularly participates in the World Cup.

Costa Rica finished fourth in the challenging CONCACAF qualifying campaign this time, but today has won seven of the last nine games.

Recognizing the importance of the playoffs, President Chavez sought to ensure that central government workers had the opportunity to watch most of the match. He encouraged other employers to be generous as well.

“June 14th [local time] It’s a very special day for all of us who love “Sele” and Costa Rica, “said the president. “More than 13,000 kilometers away, there are 11 warriors in the field to qualify for historic qualifications.”

Chavez said the lunch hour extension was designed “to send all the good atmosphere and excitement of those who are passionate about the most beautiful sports in the world.”

Costa Rica, the 31st in the world, is known for its defensive quality, with Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas behind.

“We will do our best to do that,” Navas said. “We look forward to it with a lot of enthusiasm, tranquility and a desire to have fun. Hopefully we can win the game.”

101st place New Zealand will face Newcastle United striker Chris Wood. Chris Wood will make his 68th international appearance. Wood said he was happy to hear Costa Rica consider him a key player.

“I’m happy to know that my career came from something and people are paying attention,” Wood told the New Zealand media. “But in the end, I’m glad they’re worried about me, because if they give me 0.5 yards, it’s a sign that I’ll score. They need to be prepared for it. .. Stephen McMorran, MDT / AP

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