Final four set for Futsal Championship with two berths at Guatemala 2000 on line this weekend
Host country Costa Rica took the early advantage in gaining one of thetwo berths to the FIFA Futsal World Championship later this year inGuatemala when they captured first place in their group in the CONCACAF FutsalChampionship, being held in Heredia, Costa Rica.
The four semifinal teams were known after each won their first two gamesin group play, seeding holding true to form as Costa Rica and Cubaguaranteed advancement out of Group A, while USA and Mexico did the sameout of Group B.
But in a first preview of the semifinal phase, Costa Rica defeated Cuba4:2 behind a pair of goals in the final two minutes from Jose Picado ina vibrant encounter before a loud, passionate crowd at the Palacio delos Deportes.
Cuba held a 1:0 halftime lead, but Costa Rica came out flying after thebreak and scored twice in the first two minutes of the second half. WhenBoris Saname scored his second goal of the night for Cuba to draw termslevel with six minutes left, that would have been enough for Cuba totake the group on goal difference, but Picado's heroics gave the homeside the victory and the group.
In group play, Costa Rica nearly had the biggest stumble, forced to comeback from two goals in the second half to defeat Suriname 5:3. Cuba hadno trouble in their group games, winning both by lopsided margins.
USA and Mexico play Tuesday night to decide the Group B title. USAhasn't allowed a goal in winning their two group encounters againstPuerto Rico and Netherlands Antilles, while Mexico has failed toimpress, struggling to defeat both.