FIFA World Cup Today Matches


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In focus: FIFA World Cup qualifiers (CONCACAF)

In focus: FIFA World Cup qualifiers (CONCACAF)

USA: The Stars and Stripes

The undisputed group leaders, USA, are aiming to finish their 2014 FIFA World Cup stint in the highest possible note. The side have been improving over the years, and for coach Jürgen Klinsmann, America’s success in the esteemed international football event is now at arm’s length.

Team USA started their World Cup qualification in 2012, where they went to reign supreme of their group with four wins, one draw, and one defeat. On 07 June 2013, the side defeated Jamaica 2-1 and four days later, Panama fell prey to the side’s massive 2-0 slamming. A heartbroken Honduras also went home as underdogs after incurring a defeat from the American players.

In July 2013, the US hosted and played in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup where they dominated the entire group stage and obtained 1-0 victory over Panama in the final—a milestone which represented a record 11th straight win.

A qualification match with Costa Rica on September 6 drove the US squad to their first defeat in 12 matches, but was later pacified with an inspiring win over Mexico. Such a success placed Team USA in the chart’s top position and gave them a sure ticket to the Brazil World Cup next year.

Honduras: Los Catrachos

Having secured the third spot in the FIFA World Ranking, Honduras were automatically eligible for the qualification’s third (group) round, where they finished as leaders from a pack comprising Panama, Canada, and Cuba. A lame 0-2 home defeat marked the side’s debut against Panama, followed by a 0-0 stalemate with Canada, and a massive 3-0 success over Cuba. Two wins and one draw sealed the side’s Round Three journey.

Honduras advanced for the fourth and final round of CONCACAF qualification for the 2014 World Cup. The final round, also known as The Hexagonal, was plotted in a home-and-away format. The side’s curtain raiser saw their American opponents leave the pitch with just one goal, while the Hondurans obtained two. A 2-2 draw with Mexico marked their second appearance while their third stint gave them their first defeat in the competition (from Panama 2-0). In their subsequent matches, the side achieved two wins, one draw, and two defeats. Current rankings place them at crucial number three, just four points short of the current second placers, Costa Rica.

Mexico: El Tricolor

Along with Costa Rica, El Salvador and Cuba, Mexico were placed in Group A for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. It was also this time that five of the team’s players were suspended due to doping. But despite the player suspensions, the side managed to win the group. In the quarter-finals, the Mexicans had Guatemala succumbed to their beating, and in the semi-finals, defeated Honduras in extra time. In the finals, the side met with the US for a third straight year. Initially overpowered by their American adversary, the Mexicans stepped up their game and produced four powerful goals to champion the entire tournament. This gave them a spot in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

In the group stages of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Mexico conquered Canada and Martinique but submitted to Panama. The side then overthrew Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in the quarterfinal, before facing Panama again in the semi-final. For a second time, Mexico lost their match to their Panamanian opponents.

Mexico’s effort to obtain a ticket in the Brazil tournament next year has been more challenging than expected. The side’s six-match stint in The Hexagonal mostly resulted in a draw.

(Featured Image: Team USA | Image courtesy of scaryfootball.com)

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