Heartbreak for Puerto Rico as draw pulls Costa Rica’s name first for last quarter final slot

February 28 – Costa Rica dramatically made it through to the quarter finals of the W Gold Cup, not through outperforming opponents on the pitch but through a head-to-head draw with Puerto Rico.

When the final game of the Group C matches completed in Houston, Texas, Paraguay’s 3-2 win over El Salvador gave them the second place and automatic qualification for the last eight, pushing Costa Rica into third position.

The two best placed third-place finishers qualify for the quarter finals. Argentina had qualified as the best of third place group finishers. The second-best third-place finisher was a tie between Puerto Rico (Group B) and Costa Rica (Group C).

They were exactly level on all the competition’s tie-breaking criteria (points, goal difference, goals scored, and lowest number of points based on yellow and red cards).

In a hastily arranged draw at the Shell Energy Stadium in Houston after the final whistle of the Paraguay vs El Salvador match, Concacaf held a televised draw in the press conference room of the stadium.

With only two balls in the pot, Costa Rica were drawn first and will take the quarter final slot in Los Angeles this weekend as the eight ranked qualifier.

They will meet top ranked Canada again, who beat them 3-0 earlier in the first of the double headers in Houston.

For Puerto Rico it was heartbreak. The Puerto Ricans have been one of the big stories of the inaugural W Gold Cup. Having qualified for the group stages with an unexpected preliminary round victory over 2023 World Cup qualifiers Haiti, Puerto Rico then opened their group campaign with a stunning 1-0 loss to Brazil, world ranked 11 to their 1o3 ranking.

For 80 minutes it looked as though they were going to hold out for a draw in what would have been one of the biggest shock results ever in the international women’s game.

Puerto Rico weren’t done. In their second game they beat Panama, who had also played at the 2023 World Cup, 2-1. In their final game they lost to Colombia 2-0. For all intents and purposes they looked as though they had qualified with a -2 goal difference… until the results of tonight tied them with Costa Rica.

The quarter finals take this place this weekend at the BMO Stadium in Los Angeles with the ranking positions determining the ties as below.

2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup Quarterfinals Standings
*Based on points, goal difference, and goals scored

  1. Canada (9 pts, +13 gd, 13 gs)
  2. Brazil (9 pts, +7 gd, 7 gs)
  3. Mexico (7 pts, +10 gd, 10 gs)
  4. United States (6 pts, +7 gd, 9 gs)
  5. Colombia (6 pts, +7 gd, 8 gs)
  6. Paraguay (6 pts, -2 gd, 4gs)
  7. Argentina (4 pts, -1 gd, 3 gs)
  8. Costa Rica (3 pts, -2 gd, 2 gs)

2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup Quarterfinals Matchups

QF1: Canada vs Costa Rica
QF2: Brazil vs Argentina
QF3: Mexico vs Paraguay
QF4: United States vs Colombia

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