It’s that time again. The final set of World Cup Qualifiers. Time has come for celebrations and heartache. Some of the usual suspects have already booked their tickets to the World Cup – Brazil, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Netherlands, Italy, United States and Argentina – along with a couple of teams who are not so common to recent World Cups – Iran and Costa Rica. But in the next week, teams from UEFA, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF will be securing a majority of the remaining World Cup spots. Perhaps the most intriguing of these regions is CONCACAF due to the storylines that could transpire if results go right – or wrong depending on the nation. As such, this article will serve to provide a number of scenarios for each of the CONCACAF nations.
First and foremost, with the United States and Costa Rica having qualified for World Cup 2014, their results will not be of any concern. Furthermore, due to FIFA’s decision to use the October 17 rankings for seeding purposes, the United States is virtually assured of no possible seed and spot in Pot 1. Thus, each of the four remaining CONCACAF nations will serve as the primary focus here.
Jamaica (0.2% chance of advancing) – In their final two matches, Jamaica will face the USA (away) and Honduras (home). In terms of difficulty, Jamaica faces about as difficult a task as possible. With only 4 points in their first 8 Hexagonal matches, getting wins against the US and Honduras would seem impossible. However, this is the ONLY chance Jamaica has of advancing. Additionally, results in the other matches must result in Mexico and Panama only getting a maximum of 2 points each in their final two matchups – with Mexico hosting Panama this Friday.
Prediction – Jamaica bids farewell to the World Cup after losing by at least 2 goals to the US on Friday.
Mexico (50.3% chance of advancing) – Mexico is truly in a difficult position. While they have a slight advantage over Panama by hosting their match at home, Mexico has been awful – to say the very least – at the Azteca during the Hexagonal. They have scored only a single goal – in a loss to Honduras – and have been forced to take three 0-0 draws in their other home fixtures. To make matters worse, Mexico must go to Costa Rica in their final fixture. Oh, and Bryan Ruiz will be returning for Costa Rica, which can only make Los Ticos better, which is difficult to imagine given their 4-0-0 record at home. A win against Panama looks to be the only hope Mexico has of advancing to the World Cup.