All will be known in the CONCACAF Zone on Tuesday night, when the dust settles and five teams join high-flying Mexico in the final six-team round of CONCACAF qualifying. USA and Guatemala are looking good in Group A, but Jamaica can still have their say. From Group B, Costa Rica are likely to pip El Salvador to the finish line, and in Group C Panama look like going through, and will be joined by either Canada or Honduras.
The big game
The equation is simple: a draw or a win for Canada (10 points) on the road in San Pedro Sula will take the Canucks through to the final six-team round of Brazil 2010 qualifying in the CONCACAF zone. The Hondurans, on eight points after a goalless draw with Panama last week, need a win. The Canucks have momentum from their recent 3-0 win over whipping boys Cuba, but they'll have no easy day before a passionate Honduran crowd, and against a desperate team that has improved since making a terrible start. The two teams drew 0-0 in Toronto early in the campaign, a game in which the Canadians, with only five goals in five games, wasted chance after chance to score. “As long as you’re creating scoring opportunities, they’re going to fall at some point,” said Canada’s Norwich City striker Simeon Jackson, who is due for a goal, having failed to find the net in Canada’s five previous games.
After a nail-biter of a win at Antigua and Barbuda last week, Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA can book their place in the final qualifying round with a win or a draw at home in Kansas City against Guatemala, a team the Americans drew against when they met earlier in the Group A campaign.
Guatemala, who beat Jamaica 2-1 last time, will also qualify with a win or a draw, while the Jamaicans need a resounding win over their already eliminated neighbours Antigua and Barbuda, and to hope that USA and Guatemala don’t draw, to keep their fading chances of progressing alive.
Mexico, with a perfect five wins from five games, were the first team to qualify for the final round. With Guyana eliminated, the battle for second place, and the other ticket to the final round from Group B, is on between Costa Rica and El Salvador. The Ticos, led by Bryan Ruiz and Alvaro Saborio, are in pole position and a win against Guyana in San Jose would put them through. El Salvador need victory against mighty Mexico, reigning Olympic champions, on the road in Torreon – a tough ask against the form-team of the region – to have a chance.
Panama, who have been the cream of Group C, just need a win or a draw in Havana against Cuba, a team that have lost all five of their games so far, while Honduras would move on with a home win against Canada, who themselves need a draw or better.
What they’re saying
“We’re expecting a great atmosphere. It’s at the point where now we can play a qualifier in our country and we can know that it’s going to be an American crowd, a great crowd and it’s going to be a fun night. It’s up to us to make sure the stuff on the field gets taken care of, but that is something we look forward to and we’ll get the job done.” USA and Roma midfielder Michael Bradley, looking forward to a pro-USA crowd on American soil, something that hasn’t always been a guarantee in the past.
11 – the number of points that USA and Guatemala would finish with should they draw their game in Kansas City, one more than Jamaica can get should they win their game against the Antiguans in Kingston. Will USA coach Klinsmann, an exponent of stylish, attacking football, risk getting caught out by going for the win, or will caution rule the day?
CONCACAF semi-final qualifying round, matchday 6
Jamaica-Antigua and Barbuda
Have your say
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