Skip to content

CONCACAF upsets dot World Cup landscape, hinting the federation can play with the best

Jun 20, 2014, 9:37 PM EDT

CostaRica AP

The beauty of knockout tournaments is that conventional wisdom goes out the window and storylines build themselves.

It’s often evident in environments such as the NCAA Tournament and professional sports playoffs, where teams built for long-term seasonal success face one-and-done situations that become their demise.

North and Central American teams from the CONCACAF federation are raising plenty of eyebrows this World Cup, giving fans of countries along the corridor plenty to smile about, and validation that their region is no laughing matter.

It’s also doing more than giving people notice – it’s earning them points, valuable points as they push towards unlikely knockout round positions.

Costa Rica was drawn into the “Group of Champions” alongside Uruguay, Italy, and England. They’re already into the next round.  The United States was apprehended into the “Group of Death” with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana.

Often dismissed as inferior by those following European and South American teams, the likes of Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States at this point are…at risk of horrific jinx consequences…undefeated against the likes of Italy, Uruguay, Brazil, Ghana, and Cameroon.

That means 28th-ranked Costa Rica has beaten the 7th- and 9th-ranked teams, 20th-ranked Mexico held 2nd-ranked Brazil, and the 13th-ranked US exorcised awful demons against 37th-ranked Ghana and has the chance to make noise Sunday vs. 4th-ranked Portugal.

Only Honduras remains without a win, but even Los Catrachos showed signs of life in their 2-1 loss to Ecuador.

For more (current before the Honduras loss to Ecuador):

The real noise is made during the knockout rounds of course, but with Costa Rica already through, Mexico in a very solid position, and the United States has an opportunity to continue CONCACAF’s shocking run.

Costa Rica proved tactically superior to both Italy and Uruguay, as the genius of Jorge Luis Pinto befuddled Uruguay with a dangerous counter-attack and shackled the Italian stars with a structurally sound back five.

source: AP

John Brooks’ winner over Ghana set the United States up to potentially make serious noise against Portugal and Germany in the “Group of Death”

If the US can at least pull out a draw against Portugal, something which is not considered a long-shot but is by no means an expected result, CONCACAF teams will have secured at least eight points of a possible 12 against top-10 FIFA ranked teams, and as many as 10 of 12, an incredible result.

And if we’ve learned anything from Costa Rica’s pair of wins, it’s that superior tactics can often outweigh superior talent, something the United States will likely lean heavily on against both Portugal and Germany.

But will this be enough to have an impact on future FIFA rulings involving World Cup qualifications? A lot has been made of talk that Asia and Africa could be given another guaranteed spot, taking one from Europe. And that makes no sense – but would be very FIFA.

However, CONCACAF has not been quiet about its desire to earn its fourth qualification spot as guaranteed rather than stuck in the playoff with Oceania as it stands now. They lobbied for a fourth guaranteed spot back in 2011 but were denied the spot for this summer’s Cup.

While Oceania has never provided a challenge – a struggling Mexico side dominated New Zealand 9-3 over two legs – there is a certain pedigree about owning four guaranteed spots, the same amount that South America currently has.

There’s plenty more to be played, and two or three surprise performances don’t justify a jump in qualifying procedures, but if the federation continues to produce points and results, there could certainly be discussions for future tournaments.

CONCACAF is on the rise, there’s no question about it, but is the federation here to stay? The United States and Mexico both have chances to stake their claim to that question.

Latest Posts
  1. FOLLOW LIVE: Arsenal, Aston Villa square off in FA Cup final

    May 30, 2015, 11:54 AM EDT

    FACup Getty Images

    Theo Walcott starts in favor of Olivier Giroud up front for Arsenal as they look to defend their FA Cup title.

  2. West Ham already making moves, signs Irish international goalkeeper

    May 30, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT

    Randolph Getty Images

    With Champions League and Europa League playing time, West Ham added an experienced goalkeeper to challenge Adrian for his starting spot.

  3. U-20 World Cup Roundup: Three draws, U.S. win open tournament in New Zealand

    May 30, 2015, 10:16 AM EDT

    Panama Getty Images

    The United States picked up the only 3 points of the opening day games as Argentina, Panama, Ukraine, New Zealand, Ghana, and Austria all played to draws.

  4. Rio Ferdinand retires after being released by QPR

    May 30, 2015, 8:56 AM EDT

    Ferdinand Getty Images

    After 503 Premier League appearances, 6 Premier League titles, and 81 caps for England, the former Manchester United great is calling it a career.

  5. Blatter hits back at US Attorney General, says “something smells” about the investigation

    May 30, 2015, 8:24 AM EDT

    Blatter Getty Images

    After winning his fifth term atop FIFA, Sepp Blatter said the United States is overstepping its bounds by arresting members of his organization.

  6. Hyndman stars as U.S. U-20 team downs Myanmar 2-1 to open World Cup play

    May 30, 2015, 7:38 AM EDT

    Hyndman Getty Images

    The Fulham midfielder returned from injury to assist the opener and score the winner in a 2-1 victory.

  7. Three things we learned from Sporting KC’s 4-0 thrashing of FC Dallas

    May 30, 2015, 12:48 AM EDT

    Krisztian Nemeth, Sporting Kansas City Krisztian Nemeth, Sporting Kansas City

    Three talking points from the latest installment of MLS’s “Viernes de Futbol.”

  8. WATCH: Krisztian Nemeth’s header puts Sporting KC ahead of FC Dallas, 1-0, at the half

    May 29, 2015, 10:01 PM EDT

    Sporting Kansas City v Houston Dynamo Getty Images

    Watch the lone first-half goal of the Sporting KC-FC Dallas match, televised on UniMas tonight.

  9. IRS official says more indictments to come in FIFA case

    May 29, 2015, 9:39 PM EDT

    Sepp Blatter, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

    An important I.R.S official told The New York Times that more indictments in the FIFA corruption investigation will be released.

  10. Orlando City SC announce private funding of new stadium, increased capacity

    May 29, 2015, 7:16 PM EDT

    LA Galaxy at Orlando City LA Galaxy at Orlando City

    Orlando City SC made a big announcement earlier today regarding the future of the club.

  11. Neymar’s former club, Santos, to sue over transfer to Barcelona

    May 29, 2015, 6:34 PM EDT

    AP

    Barcelona has yet to pay the remaining 83 million euros of Neymar’s transfer fee, and his former club, Santos, will sue.

  12. Men in Blazers podcast: Rog talks with U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos ahead of World Cup

    May 29, 2015, 5:41 PM EDT

    meninblazers

    The Men and Blazers speak with U.S. U-20 head man Tab Ramos ahead of the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

  13. FA chairman Greg Dyke: Sepp Blatter’s full term will not last, out in two years

    May 29, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT

    greg_dyke Getty Images

    FA chairman Greg Dyke thinks Sepp Blatter’s fifth term of FIFA presidency won’t last.

  14. 2014 MLS Cup rematch: For the New England Revolution, it’s a new season, different game against LA Galaxy

    May 29, 2015, 4:10 PM EDT

    2014 MLS Cup - New England Revolution v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

    On Fox Sports 1 this Sunday, the New England Revolution face LA Galaxy in a 2014 MLS Cup rematch.

  15. 2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Best XI of the Season

    May 29, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League Getty Images

    Chelsea’s title-winning team dominates our picks. But there are still plenty of surprise inclusions.

  16. Leaves jail in ambulance, gives speech hours later: Jack Warner knows no FIFA scandal

    May 29, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT

    Trinidad and Tobago's National Security Minister Jack Warner talks with journalists after a meeting with residents in Port of Spain

    As the soccer world continues to react to Sepp Blatter’s fifth-term as FIFA president, his 72-year-old former VP is basically telling the law to take a long walk off a short pier.

  17. Blatter’s “Wolf of Wall Street” moment could play out the exact same way

    May 29, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Nominee for Best Actor in "The Wolf of Wall Street" Leonardo DiCaprio arrives on the red carpet for the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    We’re in the shadow of just one rushed afternoon, and the FBI and others are watching the money float off the yacht, hoping to strike.

  18. 2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Manager of the Season

    May 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Southampton v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

    This award went down to the final vote. Do you agree with our pick?

Featured video

PST Extra reviews the 2014-15 season