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Final six in regional World Cup qualifying now set

Oct 16, 2012, 11:30 PM EDT


The final round of qualifying in the United States’ regional (CONCACAF) is set.

The United States finished first atop Group C (but gets nothing for finishing first rather than second) and joins five others in final-stage qualifying, which begins in February.

The top three teams from final round play move on to Brazil 2014; CONCAFAF’s fourth-place team meets Oceania’s winner in a home-and-home series for a spot.

Here are the teams in next year’s final round (which some people refer to as the “hexagonal,” although I am only telling you that to alleviate confusion when you read about it elsewhere, because “hexagonal” is silly; it’s just the “final round of qualifying” if you ask me.)

  • United States
  • Costa Rica
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Panama

It was close for the Panamanians, who needed a 77th-minute to manage a 1-1 draw with Cuba. This is only the second time in the final round for Panama since this format was adopted before the 1998 World Cup.

Honduras capped a wonderful year for soccer in that country by claiming a spot, doing so at the expense of Canada. The Honduran capital of San Pedro Sula became a true house of horrors Tuesday for the Canadians, whose 8-1 defeat was its second worse loss ever.

Mexico was already through (finishing strong with a win over El Salvador), and final round regular Costa Rica secured its spot as expected with an easy victory over Guyana.

Officials of the six federations will meet later this week in Miami, hoping to arrange the schedule. The first match is Feb. 6; the next two matches will be in March.

If officials cannot come to suitable scheduling arrangements – this is a new method of attempting to set the matches – they will revert to the old method of a draw to arrange the order of matches.

  1. pjbowmaster - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    USSF should schedule home matches in Columbus, KC, and Salt Lake. For me no other venues need apply. Unless they install real grass in Portland…….

    • tylerbetts - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      I can’t argue with any of those three. Let’s just avoid giant football stadiums and the state of Florida from now on in non-friendly games.

      We need five WCQ spots for next year. Columbus gets Mexico (right?), and KC should get the 2nd toughest opponent (Costa Rica or Honduras). I think Salt Lake is a fine venue for a WCQ. I think Philadelphia could be fine, as well. If Portland had grass, I’d be all about that, ditto for Seattle. Lacking either of those options, I could see Chicago (against a warm climate team in a cold month) or RBA (ditto) as good options. I know there are concerns about large imigrant populations taking away “home field advantage”, but when you have a maximum of 25k seats to sell, I’m pretty sure the US fan has proven they will buy up most of those.

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      So to you the largest-capacity soccer-specific stadium in MLS isn’t good enough? Home Depot Center in Carson, CA., the second stadium in MLS designed specifically for futbol, is certainly good enough for both national teams to train (and hold matches) there on a regular basis. Without mentioning an MLS all-star game and four cups.

      • cdhoeger - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:51 PM

        Were you there or did you watch the Gold Cup final against Mexico there last year? The soil may have be in the US, but Mexico definitely had the home-field advantage. The problem with the Home Depot Center is exactly that it is the largest-capacity stadium we have and that lots of those seats end up being filled by fans of the visiting team. For that reason, the only team I would consider playing against in that stadium is Jamaica since there are far fewer Jamaicans in Cali than Central American immigrants. However, wouldn’t it make more sense to play Jamaica in a cold location during winter? The HDC itself is a great stadium, but it’s not a good location for a “home” WCQ.

  2. slxc - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    USA, México, Honduras Panamá Serán los clasificados al Mundial.

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