As we cross over the half-way point in the hexagonal stage of North, Central America and Caribbean qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, three crucial fixtures play out this matchday. FIFA.com looks at the CONCACAF clashes for Matchday 11 of McDonald's FIFA World Cup Predictor.
Clash of the continental kings: Mexico-USA
USA will attempt to erase the still-fresh memory of their 5-0 shock defeat to Mexico in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup 2009 final. El Tri broke a decade-long winless streak on US soil to claim their fifth continental trophy, but the big question now is whether USA can overcome their very own dubious away record: they have never won a match at the infamous Estadio Azteca.
The fight for ground: Honduras-Costa Rica
Current CONCACAF leaders Costa Rica will be eager to bring home three more points this matchday as they try to holding onto first place. Meanwhile Honduras, who currently occupy third-place, are also eager to gain some leverage. The last remaining direct qualification spot, which they currently hold, is well within the reach of Mexico (1 point behind) and El Salvador (2 points behind). A Costa Rica win would return Los Ticos backers 58 points, while a Honduran victory is worth slightly more (66 points).
Last FIFA World Cup qualifying meeting: Costa Rica 2-0 Honduras (San Jose, 11 February 2009)
FIFA World Cup qualifying head-to-head record: Played (18), Honduras (8), Costa Rica (4), Draws (6)
The basement battle: Trinidad and Tobago-El Salvador
Without a win in their five hexagonal stage matches, and with only five fixtures left, Trinidad and Tobago are in desperate need of three points when they face second-from the-bottom El Salvador. Likewise, Carlos De Los Cobos's team have their own psychological barrier to overcome: they have yet to beat Trinidad and Tobago in FIFA World Cup qualification. The odds are almost exactly evenly across all three possible results, making this a crucial prediction.
Last FIFA World Cup qualifying meeting: El Salvador 2-2 Trinidad and Tobago (San Salvador, 11 February 2009)
FIFA World Cup qualifying head-to-head record: Played (3), Trinidad and Tobago (1), El Salvador (0), Draws (2)
Predictors, Be sure to make your predictions before the matchday deadline and remember: FIFA World Leagues Predictor Season 3 kicks-off in early August, don't miss out!
Matchday 11 Deadline: 00:00 GMT 12 August 2009