CONCACAF qualifying preview

 

 

 

CONCACAF – October 12-16, 2012 – Preview

The third round of the CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup is coming down to the wire. The top 2 teams from each group advance to the 4th and final round and with only 2 rounds remaining, we can look forward to some exciting football this Friday and Tuesday. Here is a group-by-group analysis:

Group A:

Team……….     …….Pts…   . ..GF…    ..GA
1. Guatemala…………7…………6………..4
2. USA…………………7…………6………..4
3. Jamaica…………….7…………4………..3
4. Ant.&Barbuda……..1……. …..2………..7

Remaining matches:

10/12…………….Antigua&Barbuda v USA
10/12…………….Guatemala v Jamaica
10/16…………….Jamaica v Antigua&Barbuda
10/16…………….USA v Guatemala

With Antigua & Barbuda officially out of the running, the other 3 teams are fighting for 2 places that lead into the 4th round. USA and Jamaica seem in good position since they face Antigua & Barbuda and can assure themselves 3 points, so it all boils down to their respective encounters against Guatemala. Since all 3 teams are tied with 7 points, nothing can be officially decided on Friday but Jamaica would take a major step to advancing with a win at Guatemala. Keep in mind that goal difference followed by goals scored are the tiebreakers when teams are tied on points. It could all boil down to goal difference in the end. One thing is for sure, this group is going down to the wire.

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Group B:

Team………………  ..Pts…..    ..GF….   ..GA
1. Mexico………………12………..8………..2
2. El Salvador…………..5………..8………..8
3. Costa Rica…….. .. …4………..6………..5
4. Guyana………………1………..5……….12

Remaining matches:

10/12…………….El Salvador v Costa Rica
10/12…………….Guyana v Mexico
10/16…………….Costa Rica v Guyana
10/16…………….Mexico v El Salvador

Group B is much more straight forward as an El Salvador home victory on Friday could confirm Mexico and El Salvador advancing to the 4th and final round. Neutrals will be hoping for Costa Rica to earn at least a point in order to make Tuesday’s matches meaningful. Mexico are through to the final round and may experiment with their lineups over the last 2 matches but even then, their deep talent is head and shoulders above Guyana as well as El Salvador. Bottom line: look for Costa Rica to go all-out on friday as they will be playing for their survival in what should be a very contentious matchup in San Salvador.

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Group C:

Team…………….     ….Pts…….GF…. ..GA
1. Panama……………….9……….5……….1
2. Honduras…………. …7……….4………..2
3. Canada…………. .  ….7….  ….2……….2
4. Cuba………………. . ..0……….0……….6

Remaining matches:

10/12…………….Canada v Cuba
10/12…………….Panama v Honduras
10/16…………….Honduras v Canada
10/16…………….Cuba v Panama

When the draw was made for this 3rd round, Honduras were top seed along with Mexico and the US. Now they may be facing an early exit from qualification. Panama have been the surprise in this group and they can clinch a spot in the 4th round with a win over Honduras on Friday. But even with a loss to Panama, Honduras will have a chance to advance at home on Tuesday when they face Canada. Even if Canada take all 3 points on Friday against Cuba (as expected), they better walk away with plenty of goals as they will need them in a potential tiebreaker with Honduras. So 2 things to watch on Friday: can Honduras stop the surprising Panamanian squad; and can Canada fill Cuba’s net to give them some breathing room going into Tuesday’s huge clash in Honduras.

TV info for Friday’s matches HERE.

 

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