Tuesday, September 06, 2016

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (CONCACAF): Team USA, Honduras Lock Up Last Available Hexagonal Berths

Six games were played on Tuesday as the fourth round of CONCACAF-regional qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup concluded.


At Mexico City:

A 0-0 road stalemate with Mexico enabled Honduras to clinch a berth in the final (Hexagonal) round.

At Vancouver, British Columbia:

Cyle Larin (11'), Nikolas Ledgerwood (53'), and David Edgar (90'+2) each scored a goal as Canada defeated visiting El Salvador 3-1.  Even with the win, though, the Canadians were once again eliminated from qualification contention prior to the Hexagonal Round (their most recent appearance came in 1997, where they still failed to qualify for France 1998; their only World Cup finals appearance came in 1986).

Final Group A Standings:

1. Mexico (GP: 6; GD: +12; PTS: 16)
2. Honduras (GP: 6; GD: 0; PTS: 8)
3. Canada (GP: 6; GD: -3; PTS: 7)
4. El Salvador (GP: 6; GD: -9; PTS: 2)

Mexico and Honduras advanced to the Hexagonal Round.


At Kingston, Jamaica:

Kevin Lafrance (68') and Duckens Nazon (88') each scored once a Haiti blanked Jamaica 2-0 on the road in the qualification campaign finale for both squads.

At San Jose, Costa Rica:

In a battle of teams who had already clinched "Hex" berths, Christian Bolanos scored twice (19', 79') as Costa Rica downed visiting Panama 3-1.

Final Group B Standings:

1. Costa Rica (GP: 6; GD: +8; PTS: 16)
2. Panama (GP: 6; GD: +2; PTS: 10)
3. Haiti (GP: 6; GD: -2; PTS: 4)
4. Jamaica (GP: 6; GD: -8; PTS: 4)

Costa Rica and Panama advanced to the Hexagonal Round.


At Jacksonville, Florida:

Jozy Altidore scored twice (59', 63') as the United States won Group C (and a Hexagonal Round berth) by demolishing visiting Trinidad and Tobago 4-0.  The Soca Warriors had already laid claim to a spot in the final qualifying round.

At Guatemala City:

Carlos Ruiz scored five----count 'em----five goals (20', 27', 33', 57', 59') as Guatemala undressed visiting Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9-3.  With the US victory over Trinidad and Tobago, however, the hosts will have to wait at least another four years for their World Cup finals debut.

Final Group C Standings:

1. United States (GP: 6; GD: +17; PTS: 13)
2. Trinidad and Tobago (GP: 6; GD: +4; PTS: 11)
3. Guatemala (GP: 6; GD: +7; PTS: 10)
4. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (GP: 6; GD: -28; PTS: 0)

The Unites States and Trinidad and Tobago advanced to the Hexagonal Round.

Action in the Hexagonal Round will commence on November 11.  Each team will play twice against each of the other five teams.  The top three finishers will automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup, set to take place in Russia.  The fourth-place team will take on the fifth-place squad from Asia in a two-match home-and-away total-goals playoff series for the trip to Russia.

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