Just six teams remain in the CONCACAF zone and all are preparing to open their 'hexagonal' accounts on Wednesday night in a hunt for 3.5 places at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. And in the spirit of supporting the underdog, FIFA.com users think El Salvador - who last qualified for a FIFA World Cup in 1982 and went out in the first round - will be out in front after their first match, at home at their intimidating Estadio Cuscatlan against Trinidad and Tobago.
FIFA.com's poll question for last week asked users "Which team will top the standings after Matchday 1 in the final round of North, Central America and the Caribbean Zone qualifying for South Africa 2010?" The response was nothing short of surprising as 31. 34 per cent of users expect El Salvador to top the standings after Wednesday's round of matches, which also sees USA against Mexico and Costa Rica taking on Honduras.
The Salvadorans grabbed 39.59 per cent of the vote, first among English-speaking users while finishing fifth in the Spanish-language results and dead last in German and French. Mexico - who have reached a CONCACAF-best 13 world finals - finished second in the overall results with 29.29 per cent of the vote, while coming in first in all three languages save for English. The United States - reigning champions of the region - finished third overall with 24.23 per cent of the vote and a full sweep of third place across all languages. Their game against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio is tipped as the marquee clash of this first matchday.
Costa Rica - who host Honduras in San Jose - just edged out their opponents with 6.56 per cent of the overall vote to Honduras' 6.13. Trinidad and Tobago - who reached their first finals at Germany 2006 - finished dead last with a paltry 2.46 per cent of the overall, although they can take heart that French and German users ranked them above El Salvador.
With the results in, and users having had their say, all that's left is to keep close to FIFA.com and see who was right and who was wrong when action commences on 11 February 2009.