The Concacaf Road to Qatar has been a winding one! It’s had twists and turns and now, we are seeing the end of the road. Matchday 13 has come and gone. The penultimate matchday saw one nation punch their ticket to Qatar, while two others all but secured their spots as well.
Concacaf Road to Qatar: Matchday 13
The drama was in the air this past Sunday evening when all eight remaining Concacaf nations played crucial World Cup Qualifiers. Honduras, Jamaica, and El Salvador were already eliminated, but they looked to play spoiler. Panama and Costa Rica needed wins to stay alive. USA and Mexico needed points to stay in the top three. Canada knew a win would clinch their first berth at a World Cup Final in 36 years! Matchday 13 had it all!
Canada 4-0 Jamaica
Canada put a thumping on the traveling Jamaicans! They did it, Canada is going back to the World Cup for the first time since 1986! It is truly an astonishing achievement for them after being a laughing stock in Concacaf for so long. Players Like Alphonzo Davies and Cyle Larin changed things for Canada and fast.
Cyle Larin is the top scorer in Concacaf qualifying with 13 goals. Manager John Herdman has his team raring to go anytime they step o the pitch as he is the first manager ever to take a Nations Women’s and Men’s team to a World Cup! Look for them to make a splash at the 2022 finals!
El Salvador 1-2 Costa Rica
Costa Rica went down to El Salvador in a must-win match. Los Ticos are one of the hottest teams in Concacaf, going on an unbeaten streak in their last six World Cup Qualifiers. They took 16 points from the last possible 18, three of which came against El Salvador.
This was the final home match for El Salvador, and they looked to make it one that brought misery to Costa Rica. Unfortunately, they couldn’t muster up enough to get any points, and Costa Rica continued their good run of form. Costa Rica will need a miracle on the final day to get an automatic qualifying spot, but that one-game playoff looks all but theirs!
USA 5-1 Panama
The USA is one step closer to making it back to the World Cup! While it’s not been 36 years like Canada, these last four years have been excruciating for US Soccer. The USMNT took a huge step toward making Qatar 2022 this past Sunday besting Panama 5-1!
Christian Pulisic wore the captain’s armband and scored a hat trick. FC Dallas Duo Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira added two goals as well. With this result, Panama is knocked out of contention for Qatar 2022. Their effort was prevalent, but lacking when they needed it most to stay alive. It was an all-around great performance that has the USA all but in Qatar. Now all they have to do is not lose at Costa Rica by seven goals; surely they can’t do that, right?
Honduras 0-1 Mexico
Mexico has not had a present time at all in this octagonal. They are fighting for an automatic qualifying spot now when at times in the past they would have already booked their place at the World Cup finals. Against Honduras their struggles were evident.
Honduras is no easy place to play, but Mexico made the game hard on themselves. The Mexican team had 67% of possession and created 18 shots, but only one of those was a big chance. That one big chance was the goal Edson Alvarez scored in the 70th minute. It was enough to make Mexico’s chances of making Qatar very good, but it was still lacking that Mexican style that they’re used to expressing!
The final Concacaf matchday is tomorrow!
Concacaf World Cup qualifying ends this Wednesday night. All four of the remaining matches kick off at 9:05 pm. Of the four matches, two have major implications on where nations will finish, and who will join Canada at Qatar 2022! Here’s a look at the matches:
- Costa Rica vs USA
- Jamaica vs Honduras
- Mexico vs El Salvador
- Panama vs Canada
The USA needs to win, draw, or not lose by six goals to Costa Rica to make it to Qatar. Mexico needs to win, draw, or lose and hope Costa Rica doesn’t beat the USA by four goals to make it to Qatar. Costa Rica needs to beat the USA by six goals, or four goals and hope that El Salvador defeats Mexico to get to Qatar. The most likely outcome is that the USA and Mexico will punch their tickets to the 2022 World Cup and that Costa Rica will play an intercontinental one-game playoff for the chance to get to Qatar.
There’s always drama at Concacaf World Cup Qualifying and the final matchday will provide some for sure!
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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire