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How many times has Costa Rica played in the Copa América? What was their best result?

After suffering a CONCACAF Nations League thrashing at the hands of Panama, Los Ticos have one more chance to qualify against Honduras.

Estados UnidosUpdate:
¿Cuántas veces ha jugado Costa Rica la Copa América? ¿Cuál fue su mejor resultado?
Jeffrey ArguedasEFE

The CONCACAF Nations League quarter-finals decided four of the six North American, Central American and Caribbean teams that will be competing in 2024 Copa América in the United States next summer, although Costa Rica were surprisingly one of the nations to miss out.

Los Ticos were convincingly beaten by Panama over two legs in the last eight, just a couple of weeks after they had appointed Gustavo Alfaro as their new head coach. They do have one more chance to qualify for the Copa América but they know they cannot afford any more slip-ups.

How can Costa Rica qualify for the 2024 Copa América?

Former Boca Juniors and Ecuador boss Alfaro will hope to put a disastrous start behind him and lead his new team to next summer’s tournament by defeating Honduras, who came agonisingly close to beating Mexico in the quarter-finals, in a play-off in March.

Things couldn’t be simpler for both teams. The winner of the one-off game, to be played at Toyota Stadium in Dallas, Texas, qualifies for the Copa América, while the loser will have a clear schedule in the summer and must turn their focus to their preparations for the 2026 World Cup.

As they get ready to face Honduras, Costa Rica will be desperate to show something approaching their form of recent years, in which they have been one of CONCACAF’s strongest teams.

When was Costa Ricas’ best Copa América performance?

If they beat Honduras, Costa Rica will take part in the Copa América for the sixth time in their history and will be confident of making an impact given Alfaro has plenty experience in the competition.

Los Ticos’ previous five appearances have come in 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2011, as well as the Copa América Centenario in 2016, the last time the tournament was held in the United States. They have twice reached the quarter-finals (in 2001 and 2004) but failed to get past the group stage on the other three occasions.

Their most impressive performance arguably came in 2001 in Colombia, when they topped their group containing Honduras, Bolivia and Uruguay. However, they then lost out in the first knockout round to the latter of those three teams, a quirk of that edition’s 12-team format.