New World fixtures firmed

It was announced today that three of the originally scheduled first-round qualifiers for South Africa 2010 will be played in a single-elimination format rather than the originally agreed-upon home-away series.

Puerto Rico-Dominican Republic, Grenada-US Virgin Islands and Montserrat-Surinam will be played over one leg in late March due to several Member Associations failing to meet the new FIFA Stadium standards and being unable to secure a home venue.

The contest between Montserrat and Surinam will be played in Trinidad & Tobago because neither side are able to provide a suitable venue according to FIFA's guidelines.

The remaining eight first-round series will be played over two legs in an aggregate format. The first match takes place on 3 February 2008 with Bermuda hosting the Cayman Islands at the National Sports Centre in Hamilton.

Six more matches will then be played on 6 February with Dominica taking on Barbados at the Windsor Park Stadium in Roseau, while Aruba face Antigua & Barbuda at the Centro Deportivo Guillermo Trinidad in Oranjestad.

The Turks & Caicos Islands will host their first ever FIFA World Cup Qualifying contest at the Providenciales' National Stadium when they meet St. Lucia, while tiny Belize will host St. Kitts & Nevis at the Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.

Also on 6 February, El Salvador and Nicaragua will be hosting Anguilla and Netherlands Antilles at San Salvador's Estadio Cuscatlan and Estadio Cacique Diriangen in Diriamba, respectively.

One late leg
Rounding out the first-leg encounters will be the British Virgin Islands who visit the Bahamas at the BFA National Centre in Nassau on 26 March.

The exact dates and locations of the second legs of the home-away first-round contests will be announced in due course, but will fall between 26 and 30 March.

The winners of the first-round of North, Central American and Caribbean qualifying will join the remaining 13 teams (including powers the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica) in June, with two group stages following that.

The top three teams from the CONCACAF Final Round in 2009 will automatically qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth finisher will play off with South America's fifth-place team in a home-and-away series for one of the last berths to the world finals.