COLCHESTER United skipper Tommy Smith has suffered World Cup heartbreak after New Zealand were beaten by Costa Rica in their intercontinental play-off clash.

Joel Campbell's early goal proved enough at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Qatar, as the battling ten-man All Whites agonisingly missed out on making it to the 2022 tournament.

The former Arsenal striker swept home after just three minutes to secure a 1-0 win, with Smith an unused substitute for New Zealand.

New Zealand rallied, with Newcastle's Chris Wood having a goal disallowed, but Los Ticos goalkeeper Keylor Navas was also in inspired form and the late dismissal of Kosta Barbarouses damaged the All Whites' chances.

They pushed to the end but Costa Rica held firm to claim the 32nd and final place at this winter's tournament.

The central Americans will join Group E alongside Germany, Spain and Japan.

Costa Rica got off to a superb start when Jewison Bennette broke free down the left and pulled the ball back into the box.

Campbell timed his run superbly to get between two defenders and guide a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.


Dejection - New Zealand's Joe Bell sits dejected after their qualifying play-off defeat Costa Rica Picture: AP PHOTO/HUSSEIN SAYED

New Zealand responded well with Alex Grieve and Matthew Garbutt both threatening before Wood twice tested Navas. Wood then found the net but was denied by VAR for a foul in the build-up.

Anthony Contreras went close for Costa Rica just after the hour but New Zealand were frustrated by VAR again after a lunge by substitute Barbarouses on Francisco Calvo was checked.

The ruling went against the New Zealander with a straight red card produced.

New Zealand fought on with Clayton Lewis forcing a brilliant save from Navas and Wood also shooting at the Paris St Germain goalkeeper.

Wood worked another opportunity late on but failed to connect with his shot and time ran out.