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Win or bust for Bermuda

The Bermuda Under-20 train before their do-or-die clash with Costa Rica (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

Bermuda have no margin for error in their final group C match against Costa Rica at the Estadio Nacional today.

The fate of Kyle Lightbourne’s team is out of their hands as they must rely on group winners El Salvador getting at least a draw against Trinidad and Tobago. Bermuda then must beat the host nation. They kick-off at 6pm.

“It’s all on the line for three teams,” Lightbourne said. “We have a chance to do something about our result but we can’t do anything about Trinidad.

“We know it’s going to be another tough game for us, so we have to put the game plan in place and stick to it.

“We need a plan A, plan B and plan C. We have talked about many different things and are trying to get what’s right for this game.

“Obviously a positive mindset is what is needed. I’m not saying we had a negative mindset [in the last game], it was positive but it was hard.

“We were trying to make it hard for them [El Salvador] to break us down and at 60 minutes we were still in the match. We just had a three-minute lapse, where we conceded two goals and before that we had opportunities to score. But that game is gone and we move on.

“I don’t think we are far off. We compete well, but it’s just those little mental lapses that have cost us.

“But we know that we still have a chance of qualifying. we realise that for us in Bermuda to improve, we need to stay in competitions.”

El Salvador lead the group with the maximum six points from two matches, with Costa Rica on three and Bermuda and Trinidad both on one.

If the standings are level for the remaining spot in the classification stage, goal difference is the first tiebreaker, followed by goals scored in matches between the tied teams, goal difference in all matches and drawing of lots.

Lightbourne has been forced to make at least one change to his starting XI for today’s match as utility player Mikiel Thomas is serving a one-game suspension after accumulating yellow cards against Trinidad and El Salvador.

“Mikiel will have to miss the game through suspension so that’s one forced change there,” he said. “But we definitely have the cover to deal with Mikiel not being in the team.”

As for his team’s next opponents, Lightbourne said: “We have seen Costa Rica twice and they started both games with three at the back and finished the game the other night [against Trinidad] with a 4-3-3, so we are not sure which way they are going to go while one of their central defenders is back from suspension.

“Costa Rica are a good team and we will have to be at our best to beat them, so it should be an interesting game.”

The top two teams from each of the initial groups will advance to the classification stage featuring six teams divided into two groups. The top four teams from the classification stage will qualify for this year’s Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, with the group winners facing off in the final.