Costa Rica were outplayed by New Zealand in their inter-confederation World Cup play-off on Tuesday but clung on to a 1-0 advantage to reach Qatar 2022.
In a winner-takes-all match between the fourth-placed side in CONCACAF qualifying and the OFC stage winners, Joel Campbell struck the decisive goal after just three minutes.
The former Arsenal forward squeezed between two New Zealand defenders and bundled a first-time finish past Oli Sail.
Rather than tee up a straightforward Costa Rica victory, though, that goal preceded a sustained backs-to-the-wall effort as the All Whites dominated.
Chris Wood thought he had netted a precious equaliser late in the first half, only for a VAR review to spot a foul earlier in the move.
And another video referral in the second period saw substitute Kosta Barbarouses' lunge on Francisco Calvo upgraded from a yellow card to red, leaving New Zealand with a mountain to climb.
They continued to control the contest but could not score the leveller that would deny Costa Rica their place in Qatar, joining Spain, Japan and Germany in a tricky Group E.
Los Ticos – going to their sixth World Cup and third in a row – begin their campaign against Spain in Doha on November 23.