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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 6, 2001

Costa Rica beats U.S., gains Cup berth

Associated Press

Amazingly, the United States put itself in jeopardy of missing next year's World Cup.

Cobi Jones, left, of the United States guarded Gilberto Martinez of Costa Rica during last nightâs World Cup qualifier at San Jose, Costa Rica.

Associated Press

The Americans played their third straight dismal qualifier, losing to Costa Rica 2-0 last night in San Jose, Costa Rica on a pair of goals by Rolando Fonseca.

After going unbeaten in the first five games of the regional finals, the U.S. has lost three straight qualifiers for the first time in 29 years and fell into fourth place in the finals of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.

"We know we have to get six points to be in the next World Cup," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said.

Costa Rica (6-1-1) clinched its first World Cup berth since 1990, outplaying an American team that only twice came close to scoring. With five minutes to go, a special edition of the El Dia newspaper was handed out through the stands, proclaiming the victory.

The United States (4-3-1), seeking its fourth straight World Cup appearance, has games remaining against Jamaica on Oct. 7, at Foxboro, Mass., and at Trinidad and Tobago on Nov. 11.

The Americans probably need a win and a tie and possibly two wins to capture one of the region's three berths. Both opponents have little incentive, though. Trinidad (0-7-1) has been eliminated and Jamaica (2-4-2) has virtually no chance of qualifying.

Honduras (4-2-2) moved into second place with 14 points by beating Jamaica 1-0 last night and Mexico (4-3-1) took over third, ahead of the U.S. team on goal difference, with a 3-0 win over Trinidad.


• Argentina tips Brazil: Argentina rallied for two goals in the final 15 minutes, beating Brazil 2-1 last night in a World Cup qualifier at Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Argentina (12-1-2) leads South American qualifying with 38 points. Paraguay (9-4-2), which won 5-1 at Bolivia last night, is second with 29 points followed by Ecuador (8-5-1) with 25 and Brazil and Uruguay (both 7-5-3) with 24 each.

Brazil is struggling to gain one of South America's four berths in the 2002 tournament. The No. 5 team meets Australia in a playoff

• Sweden, Spain are in: Sweden and Spain clinched berths in next year's World Cup last night, and the Netherlands was eliminated in qualifying and the tournament for the first time since 1986.

Sweden (7-0-2) rallied past Turkey 2-1 at Istanbul and clinch Group Four.

Spain (6-0-2) won 2-0 at Liechtenstein (0-7) to clinch Group Seven.

The Netherlands (5-2-2) was eliminated despite a 5-0 win over Estonia (2-5-2) at Eindhoven.