CONCACAF: Unsettled territory
© AFP

With just two matchdays remaining, no teams from North, Central America and the Caribbean have yet qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Trinidad and Tobago are officially out of the running, but the five other participants - USA, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica - are all still alive, and the former three can book passage to the finals on the penultimate matchday on 10 October.

The top three finishers from the region will automatically reach South Africa 2010, while the fourth-placed team will face a two-legged play-off with the fifth-placed side from the South American Zone.

Who is qualified?
With just four points separating the top four teams, no sides from the CONCACAF Zone have yet booked passage to the first African finals.

Who is out?
Picking up just five points from their eight games in the final round of qualifying, Trinidad and Tobago - who made their FIFA World Cup debut at Germany 2006 - are officially out of contention for South Africa as, at best, they can only gain six more points, putting them on 11 (one point behind fourth-placed Costa Rica). As the only island participant in the final 'hexagonal', the Soca Warriors' elimination means no Caribbean team will be present among the 32 sides at next year's world finals.

The scenarios
USA: The US will assure themselves of a place at South Africa 2010 with a win in their penultimate qualifier in Honduras, regardless of other results. If Bob Bradley's team draw and Costa Rica, currently in fourth with 12 points, fail to win, then USA will qualify. They will also qualify if Costa Rica lose, regardless of what they do against Honduras.

Mexico: El Tri can qualify for the finals in their next match, against El Salvador in Mexico City, with a win, regardless of other results in the region.

Honduras: Los Catrachos can reach South Africa 2010 in their next game if they win at home against USA and Costa Rica lose.

All three of the leading teams - USA, Mexico and Honduras - will qualify automatically if Honduras wins, Mexico avoids defeat and Costa Rica loses.

El Salvador: Los Cuscatlecos gave themselves a lifeline by beating Costa Rica 1-0 on Wednesday but with only eight points from eight games, they could find themselves eliminated after their next match in Mexico. They will go out of contention if they lose, if they draw and Costa Rica draw, or if they win and Costa Rica and Honduras both win.

The play-off
The fourth-placed finishers in the CONCACAF Zone will square off against South America's fifth-placed side (likely to be Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela or Colombia) over two legs. The CONCACAF team will host the first leg on 14 November 2009, with the return leg in South America four days later.

Have your say
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