Fans can watch the South Africa vs. Costa Rica soccer match live online and see how the teams fare in what amounts to a warm-up for World Cup qualifying matches.
While their fellow nations are busy in Russia 2018 qualifiers on Thursday, South Africa and Costa Rica are facing off in an international friendly match.
The teams will meet in Costa Rica, with kickoff scheduled for 10 p.m. ET. Fans in South Africa will have to wake up early, with the match playing at 4 a.m. local time on Friday.
For Costa Rica, the match will mark the return of Bryan Oviedo, who is back after a two-year break from the national team. A stretch of injuries that included a broken leg sidelined Oviedo, forcing him to miss the team’s surprise run to the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals.
Though there is technically nothing at stake in Thursday’s match, it will still be very meaningful for Oviedo.
“Every time I was preparing to come back I was thinking, ‘something is going to happen,’ and it always did,” Oviedo said (via FourFourTwo). “Finally I’m back here though and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of it.”
Costa Rica will also have the return of goaltender Keylor Navas, who missed the Gold Cup and the last two international matches. This will be the Real Madrid star’s first appearance since Costa Rica’s loss to Spain in June, where he turned in an incredible performance.
Fans who watch the South Africa vs. Costa Rica soccer match live online will see two teams being primed for their World Cup runs. Costa Rica is through to the fourth round of CONCACAF qualification, with matches against Haiti and Panama. South Africa will face Angola in CAF qualification, with the first leg on November 8.
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The chance to play against Costa Rica could be important for the Bafana Bafana team, which failed to qualify for the World Cup last year and is faltering in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
There is a lot of pressure both on the team and coach, Goal.com reported.
“Shakes Mashaba will be looking for his players to build on the impressive win against Senegal. Over the last couple of months, public opinion has really turned against the coach and for many, the 3-1 loss in Mauritania was the final straw but Mashaba pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a hugely impressive performance against the Lions of Teranga.”
And to win the match, South Africa must do without a trio of Orlando Pirates players. The team excused left-back Thabo Matlaba‚ midfielder Mpho Makola, and striker Thamsanqa Gabuza from the match. The players were originally going to depart on Wednesday for Liberia, a city in the northeast corner of Costa Rica, the Times Live reported.
A win against Costa Rica could be a big boost to the Bafana Bafana team. After the amazing World Cup run last year, Costa Rica has fallen from No. 16 down to No. 42 in the FIFA world rankings, making them vulnerable. South Africa is ranked No. 73 on the FIFA world table.
The teams don’t have much of a rivalry, meeting just one other time, with South Africa winning 2-1 in 2003. The match was part of the Nelson Mandela Challenge, which brought nations to South Africa in friendly matches to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
Fans who want to watch the South Africa vs. Costa Rica soccer match live online can click here for streaming video links.