Costa Rica booked their place in the final 'hexagonal' round of North, Central American and Caribbean qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ with a simple 4-1 win over Suriname in Paramaribo on Saturday.
Having thrashed the Surinamese 7-0 in their last meeting in San Juan, Rodrigo Kenton's Ticos picked up right where they left off in the away leg. Old reliable Walter Centeno opened the scoring after ten minutes and young gun Celso Borges made it 2-0 four minutes before the interval. Armando Alonso added a third two minutes after the break.
Suriname earned a goal for pride through Clifton Sandvliet just one minute later. But it wasn't enough to keep Suriname from losing out 4-1 after a late goal from Alonso Solis. The result gives Costa Rica a perfect 12 points from their four games and a place in the final round of qualifying with two games to go (against Haiti and El Salvador).
El Salvador missed their chance to join Costa Rica in the next round, but the goalless draw against Haiti in Port au Prince was still a positive result for the Central Americans. With the one they earned on the night, the Salvadorans are now on seven points as Haiti are third in the section with two and Suriname are on one.
The United States assured their passage to the final round of qualifying from Group 2 with a 6-1 drubbing of Cuba at RFK stadium in Washington DC. DaMarcus Beasley opened the scoring and added another before Jensy Munoz pulled one back for Cuba to make it 2-1. But after having Yoel Colome sent off in the 40th minute, Cuba faltered and the US turned on the heat, completing the lopsided scoreline with goals from Landon Donovan, Brian Ching, substitute Jozy Altidore and Oguchi Onyewu.
Mexico missed out on their chance to join the other two members of CONCACAF's big three in the final round of qualifying after losing out to Jamaica 1-0 in Kingston. The Caribbean islanders put in a ferocious fight in the game which produced seven yellow cards and no mean amount of physicality, grabbing the lone goal via a cheeky chip from Stoke City standout Ricardo Fuller in the 14th minute.
Mexico remain in top spot of Group 2 with two games to go and nine points to show. The 1-0 victory sees Jamaica move up to four points and third place.
Honduras managed to move even on points with Mexico in their section thanks to a 3-1 win in San Pedro Sula against Canada. Walter Martinez opened the scoring for the Central Americans, but Andrew Hainault drew level for the Canadians early in the second half. The home fans' jangling nerves were finally put at ease in the 65th minute when Carlos Costly sealed the win and Hendry Thomas added a bit of insurance in the final minute.
The final game of the round in the region saw a goalless draw between Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago in Guatemala City. Despite seeing Cyd Gray sent off in the first half, the Trinidadians hung on. The two sides are now tangled on five points each in second place with a pair of games to go to lay claim to the second spot in Group 1.
North, Central America and Caribbean Zone results
Saturday 11 October
Suriname 1-4 Costa Rica
Haiti 0-0 El Salvador
USA 6-1 Cuba
Jamaica 1-0 Mexico
Guatemala 0-0 Trinidad and Tobago
Honduras 3-1 Canada