Mexico finished their series with Belize on Saturday, setting up an intriguing Group 2 in the next stage of North, Central American and Caribbean qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. El Tri join Jamaica, Honduras and Canada - who beat St. Vincent on Friday - in what has the makings of an all-action section.
The heavily fancied Mexicans put an end to Belize's brave fight, winning 7-0 in Monterrey to bring the two-game series to a close with an emphatic 9-0 aggregate scoreline. Fernando Arce grabbed a pair of goals and Carlos Vela, Andres Guardado, and Jared Borgetti (2) all scored, while Tervor Lennen bundled in a late own goal as Belize, much improved in spite of the result, tumbled out.
Costa Rica managed to rebound from their shock draw on the road in St. George's, beating Grenada 3-0 at Saprissa Stadium in San Jose. Alvaro Saborio opened the scoring and Bryan Ruiz and Randall Azofeifa each struck to make the aggregate score 5-2, and bring an end the Spice Boyz' courageous qualifying campaign.
Guatemala, who took a 6-0 first leg lead over St. Lucia into their return fixture on Saturday in Los Angeles, met a motivated opponent. However, St Lucia's impressive performance did nothing to change the end result. Gonzalo Romero scored twice and Abner Trigueros added another for the Chapines in a 3-1 win while Kenwen McPhee pulled one back to make the aggregate result 9-1.
Canada beat St. Vincent and the Grenadines 4-1 on Friday in Montreal to put a cap on their series, which ended 7-1 on the aggregate. Ali Gerba scored two goals on the night after scoring a pair in the first leg in Kingstown. Dwayne De Rosario also bagged a brace and Marlon James picked up a consolation goal for the islanders.
Jamaica won their series with the Bahamas 13-0 on aggregate, and Honduras beat Puerto Rico 6-2 to set up an intriguing Group 2, which will begin in late August. Mexico, Honduras, Canada and Jamaica will all play in a round-robin format with only the winner and runners-up booking passage to the final round of qualifying in North, Central America and the Caribbean for South Africa 2010.
The remaining six ties will be concluded on Sunday, and all 12 participants for the first group stage will then be known.
Sunday's second legs:
Antigua and Barbuda 3-4 Cuba
Suriname 1-0 Guyana
USA 8-0 Barbados
Haiti 0-0 Netherlands Antilles
Panama 1-0 El Salvador
Trinidad and Tobago 1- 2 Bermuda