[WOMEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING] Following its shock defeat to Mexico in Friday's semifinals of the Concacaf Women's World Cup qualifying in Cancun, the U.S. women's national team suddenly finds itself in a must-win situation. It will have to beat Costa Rica Monday in the Concacaf third-place game (TV: ESPN2, 6 p.m. ET) if it is to advance to the playoff against Italy later in the month.
Monday's USA-Costa Rica winner will advance to a two-leg home-and-series with Italy for the last of 16 berths to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The first leg would take place in Italy on Nov. 20 in Padova. The return leg would take place on Nov. 27 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.
The USA beat Costa Rica, 4-0, in the final group game a week ago thanks to goals by Abby Wambach, Lauren Cheney, Yael Averbuch and Alex Morgan.
The win was the sixth for the USA in six meetings with the Ticas.
Costa Rica, which fell to Canada, 4-0, in the other semifinal, is led by Costa Rica is led by midfielder Shirley Cruz, who plays for French club Lyon.
The Americans will be without Megan Rapinoe, who was suspended for the third-place match after picking up yellow cards against Guatemala and Mexico.