The fixtures for the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ are now set, following the Official Draw in Miami, USA on Wednesday 7 November. The final six-team group, also known as the Hexagonal, will be played over ten matchdays between February and October 2013.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA begin their campaign with a tricky road test in Honduras on 6 January at San Pedro Sula’s Estadio Olimpico, the very same ground where the Catrachos dismantled Canada 8-1 in their last qualifying game.
The good news for the Americans is that they avoid a midsummer trip to Mexico’s steamy Estadio Azteca. Instead, they will travel to their arch-rivals from south of the border in their third game on 26 March.
“We’ve got to go to places like Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras with the mentality that you are spot-on once you get on the field,” said Klinsmann. “I think that if the players are aware of that like they were the last two, three games, when they got the job done, then we will also qualify for Brazil in 2014.”
Reigning CONCACAF and Olympic champions Mexico, who finished the semi-final round of Brazil 2014 qualifying with a perfect record in their six games, open their Hexagonal account against Jamaica in Mexico City.
Central American giants Costa Rica meet neighbours Panama in Panama City in their first game.
“After a very exciting third round in the CONCACAF qualifiers we are very much looking forward to the last stage to begin,” said FIFA Head of World Cup and Olympic Qualifying Gordon Savic, who was on hand for the event in the US state of Florida.
The top three finishers from the final round will qualify automatically for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth-place finisher will play off home and away against a team from the Oceania zone.
Wednesday 6 February
** The fixture involving Mexico on 18 June will be moved to 4 June to allow Mexico, the CONCACAF representative, to participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013.