Sextet advance in Concacaf on tense final matchday
Crunch time in Concacaf FIFA World Cup qualifying as Round 1 concluded
Six nations advanced amid several winner-takes-all closing matches
Four former World Cup finalists among those to progress
There were several do-or-die contests taking place across the Concacaf region as Round 1 of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying reached a conclusion.
Canada, Curacao, El Salvador, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Panama are the six nations to survive the 29-nation Round 1, while a host of teams narrowly fell short on the final matchday.
Concacaf fixtures (All matches)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 0-1 Cuba Guyana 0-2 Puerto Rico Haiti 1-0 Nicaragua Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 St. Kitts and Nevis Barbados 1-1 Dominica Grenada 1-2 Montserrat Curaçao 0-0 Guatemala Bermuda 1-1 Cayman Islands Panama 3-0 Dominican Republic Canada 4-0 Suriname El Salvador 3-0 Antigua and Barbuda
Panama and Canada advanced in some style with strong wins over Dominican Republic and Suriname respectively to progress at the expense of their opponents. Canucks' forward Jonathan David was arguably the biggest performer of the matchday as his second-half hat-trick sealed victory.
El Salvador outlasted Antigua and Barbuda 3-0 in another top-of-the-table meeting, while a third nation hopeful of snatching progression – Montserrat – saw their Qatar 2022 campaign ended.
There was far more tension in Port Au Prince, where Haiti managed to hold off a Nicaragua side who needed a win to progress. A lone strike from Derrick Etienne proved the difference as the 1974 World Cup finalists won through.
Trinidad and Tobago finished on a high with a 2-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis. Despite the defeat, the Sugar Boyz had already sealed a surprise ticket to the next round with a match to spare.
Finally to Willemstad in Curacao, where the home team edged through at the expense of a hugely unlucky Guatemala. The pair played out a tense scoreless draw as the Central Americans missed out by virtue of having scored fewer goals.