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Mar 25, 2013

Costa Rica demand replay

The Costa Rican Football Federation has lodged an official protest and is demanding a replay of the World Cup qualifier away in the United States after the match was played in a blizzard.

United States picked up a crucial 1-0 win over Costa Rica in Denver, thanks to Clint Dempsey's 16th minute goal. But conditions were atrocious throughout the match and officials regularly had to come on to clear the snow to make the pitch markings visible.

FIFA has now confirmed that it has received the official protest from Costa Rica. A spokesperson told ESPN on Monday: "We can confirm that FIFA has received a letter from the Costa Rica FA regarding last Friday's FIFA World Cup qualifier. FIFA will now analyse the content of the letter and next steps will be determined in due course."

It was a crucial win for Jurgen Klinsmann's USA side after they had lost 2-1 in Honduras in their first match of the final round of qualifying. And defeat for Costa Rica leaves them bottom of the six-team group - the top three guaranteed a trip to Brazil - with one point from two games.

Eduardo Li, president of the federation, told the Zona Tecnica football show on Channel 7: "We [have] already handed a formal report and complaint within 24 hours post-match, according to the regulations. We attached videos and claimed this match must be played again.

"It was terrible. While the match was being played, at the same time, machines and people came onto the field to clean the lines.

"We fought - we talked to the [match] commissioner, who totally rejected our complaint. These are embarrassing situations we should not accept."

Li wants "disciplinary action" taken against Victor Daniel, the match commissioner, and Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar after they refused to postpone the fixture. Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto urged the referee to call the game off but that was rejected after Klinsmann insisted the game must be completed. It is said that "ball movement became impossible given the quantity of snow on the field".

"It's embarrassing for football and embarrassing for fair play. It's disrespectful to FIFA, the fans, the players and spectacle," Pinto told Extra.

Costa Rican Football Federation treasurer Rolando Villalobos said in a statement on Sunday: "What happened ... has no precedents, since it not only went against the sporting spectacle, but also against the physical integrity of the officials and players. You couldn't see the pitch markings and that is not allowed under the FIFA regulations."

Vice-president Jorge Hidalgo told La Nacion: "We ask for a prolonged suspension for the match referee and a replay of the match because of the conditions in which we played. We understand it is complicated, but we feel we must protest."

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