Mexico vs. Costa Rica: Time, TV channel, stream, lineups, betting odds for soccer World Cup qualifier

Mexico’s men’s national team has made it clear that only a win will do when it hosts a Costa Rica side that will scratch and claw for at minimum a draw in a World Cup qualifier at the Estadio Azteca. Only four matches remain in the regional qualifying campaign after Sunday’s match.

El Tri (3rd, 17 points) got its quest to qualify for Qatar 2022 back on track with a win in Jamaica on Thursday, but manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino says that “the win would serve nothing if we don’t win [Sunday vs. Costa Rica] and on Wednesday against Panama.” Martino’s men have to finish in the top three in the CONCACAF regional qualifying table to clinch a direct berth to the World Cup in November.

Although it thoroughly dominated Thursday’s 2-1 win in Kingston, Mexico was forced to come from behind against a Jamaica team that was playing to save its qualifying dreams. Costa Rica (5th, 12 points) will similarly have its back to the wall as it seeks to keep up its chase of fourth place, a placement which would guarantee a berth to an intercontinental World Cup playoff against a team from Oceania, likely to be New Zealand.

MORE: Updated CONCACAF qualifying standings, schedule & results

This Costa Rica team is in full rebuilding mode, and it’s evident on the field as it struggles to replicate the flowing football that brought it to within a penalty-kick shootout of the 2014 World Cup semifinals. But the Ticos’ bid for an upset win (or draw) on Mexican soil will not be helped by the return to action of suspended El Tri star Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano and the potential availability of his teammate Raul Jimenez. A shock result for the visitors would be a critical result, as they sit just two points back of Panama in the final intercontinental playoff qualifying spot, still within a shout with two matches to go.

Mexico came away with a 1-0 qualifying win the last time they faced off in Costa Rica in September courtesy of an Orbelin Pineda penalty-kick conversion in first-half stoppage time.

How to watch Mexico vs. Costa Rica

  • Date: Sun, Jan. 30, 2022
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: Univision, TUDN
  • Streaming: fuboTV, Paramount+

The Mexico vs. Costa Rica World Cup qualifier from the Estadio Azteca will be broadcast on Univision and TUDN in the USA. Both channels can be streamed on fuboTV, which is available via free trial.

The match will also be streamed in English on CBS streaming platform Paramount+.

MORE: How Mexico won on the road against Jamaica

There will be 2,000 fans in attendance at the Estadio Azteca comprised of Mexican federation staff and corporate partners, as the federation institutes a pilot program to help it eradicate a homophobic chant that originally forced it to play the Jan. 30 and Feb. 2 qualifiers behind closed doors.

Mexico vs. Costa Rica lineups

The returns of ‘Chucky’ Lozano and Jimenez in attack, along with the recovery of midfielder Edson Alvarez and center back Cesar Montes (COVID-19) will be a boost to Mexico’s hopes of delivering a convincing performance. Montes trained on Saturday and should be available, while Jimenez will be a gameday decision and is likely to start on the bench.

Right back Jorge Sanchez won’t be available due to a left MCL injury suffered against Jamaica, the extent of which was not disclosed. California-born Julian Araujo of the LA Galaxy is an option to make his senior Mexico debut in place of Sanchez.

Mexico projected starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): Guillermo Ochoa (GK) — Gerardo Arteaga, Hector Moreno, Johan Vasquez, Luis Rodriguez — Carlos ‘Charly’ Rodriguez, Edson Alvarez, Hector Herrera — Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona, Henry Martin, Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano

Mexico projected subs from: Jonathan Orozco (GK), Alfredo Talavera (GK), Julian Araujo, Cesar Montes, Nestor Araujo, Julio Cesar Dominguez, Jesus Gallardo, Osvaldo Rodriguez, Andres Guardado, Erick Gutierrez, Luis Romo, Diego Lainez, Orbelin Pineda, Rogelio Funes Mori, Uriel Antuna, Alexis Vega, Raul Jimenez

Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez has confirmed there will be changes due to the physical toll of Thursday’s gritty home win over Panama. Moving to a five-man backline is likely given his team’s expected defensive stance, and Mexico’s strength on the wings.

Winger Randall Leal (gastroenteritis) is out and midfielder Orlando Galo will also miss the match due to a knock picked up against Panama. Jefry Valverde (San Carlos) and Anthony Contreras (Guanacasteca) were called up to fill the void. Regulars Oscar Duarte (right thigh), Cristian Gamboa (hip) and Ricardo Blanco (right hamstring) are not with the team due to injury, and third-string ‘keeper Esteban Alvarado was a last-minute scratch after he was not permitted to leave Costa Rica by authorities due to a legal matter.

Costa Rica projected starting lineup (5-3-2, right to left): Keylor Navas (GK) — Keysher Fuller, Daniel Chacon, Kendall Waston, Francisco Calvo, Bryan Oviedo — Youstin Salas, Yeltsin Tejeda, Alonso Martinez — Jose Guillermo Ortiz, Joel Campbell

Costa Rica projected subs from: Leonel Moreira (GK), Juan Pablo Vargas, Ronald Matarrita, Celso Borges, Douglas Lopez, Jefry Valverde, Gerson Torres, Bryan Ruiz, Aaron Suarez, Johan Venegas, Jewison Bennette, Anthony Contreras

Mexico vs. Costa Rica betting odds, pick & prediction

Odds courtesy of DraftKings

The lines for this game tell the story: The outlook clearly calls for a Mexico home victory, and likely by a shutout. The only suspense — and the most compelling odds — lies in how many goals El Tri will score and what the margin of victory will be.

During this final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, Mexico is averaging 2.38 xG at the Estadio Azteca and Costa Rica is giving up 1.53 xgA on the road per FootyStats. So projecting two goals scored by Mexico is not much of a reach, except for the fact that the Ticos have Paris Saint-Germain master shot-stopper Keylor Navas in goal and they’ve only actually conceded three goals in four road matches so far.

MORE: Which teams have qualified to 2022 FIFA World Cup?

So which will outshine the other? Mexico attack or Costa Rica defense? El Tri has a chip on its shoulder to prove the critics wrong after two previous losses to the USA and Canada, and a scare against Jamaica. Tata Martino’s men should have an edge to their game, and the sparse crowd could help take away some of the pressure that’s usually present at the Azteca. The return of an in-form Chucky Lozano should make Mexico difficult to contain.

Pick: Mexico -1.25 Asian Handicap (-125)

Prediction: Mexico 3, Costa Rica 0

  • Moneyline: Mexico -330 / Draw +400 / Costa Rica +850
  • Spread: Mexico -1.5 (+100) / Costa Rica +1.5 (-135)
  • O/U 2.5 total goals: Over +105 / Under -135
  • Both Teams To Score: Yes +165 / No -220

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