Tomorrow is the moment of truth for many teams in the CONCACAF qualifiers for the World Cup. As it stands now only Mexico has guaranteed it’s spot in the final hexagonal round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers where at least 3, and possibly 4 teams will earn a spot at the 2014 World Cup. Let’s take a look at each of the groups including their meaningful Tuesday games and how I expect things to go.
The United States and Guatemala currently sit atop the standings in Group A with 10 points each, while Jamaica is within striking distance with 7 points. The USA and Guatemala play tomorrow in Tampa Bay with a lot on the line. A win or a draw in this game will qualify either team for the final stage of qualifying. Guatemala who is ranked 81st in the FIFA rankings has surprised many to be in this spot, but looking at the odds there is still a very good chance that 51st ranked Jamaica could catch them and spoil their dreams.
Guatemala was able to play the States to a 1-1 draw in Guatemala City back in June, but playing the USA will be a much more difficult task. They will likely play for a draw and they may just get it seeing as the USA do not need a win to qualify either, so they will be willing to play a slow and safe game to avoid a shocking loss.
Antigua and Barbuda +1449
As you can see Jamaica will almost surely win this game and get to 10 points in the group. The real question becomes how much they can win by in order to catch either Guatemala or the USA in goal differential or goals scored for a tiebreak. Currently Jamaica has 5 for and 5 against, while both the USA and Guatemala are +3 with 8 for and 5 against. It is also important to note that Jamaica was unable to defeat Antigua and Barbuda in their last outing tying the squad 0-0 in St. John’s. The spread on the game is 2.25 goals.
A likely result could be Jamaica winning 3-0, while the USA wins 1-0, in which case Jamaica would advance on goal differential. That being said I think the best bet from the 1×2 odds listed above is the draw in the USA and Guatemala game as that would advance both clubs.
Play: USA vs Guatemala – Draw +286
This group isn’t nearly as exciting as the other two. Mexico has already advanced with a perfect record and goes into the game against El Salvador with the following odds:
El Salvador +1240
The game is in Mexico City which will make it that much more difficult for El Salvador to pull off the win that they need to have a chance to advance.
Costa Rica also likely only needs a draw against a weak Guyana squad that they are very likely to at least get in front of their home crowd.
Costa Rica -1092
Therefore Mexico and Costa Rica have all but advanced, but here are my plays in this group:
Play: Mexico -750
Even without a ton to play for Mexico will be able to counterattack a desperate El Salvador team and get the victory.
This group may have the most exciting match of the day with Canada making the trip to battle with Honduras for the 2nd spot in the group. Canada is currently sitting with 10 points, but go into Honduras as the underdog against a team that only needs a win to leapfrog them in the standings.
Panama is facing Cuba and will almost certainly win that game and guarantee themselves a spot in the next round:
Cuba hasn’t earned a point yet and I don’t expect that to start now.
Play: Panama -342
In the other game Canada only needs a draw, but playing in hostile territory this will be difficult to come by. Canada played to a nil nil draw with Honduras in Toronto back in June and they will need a similar result tomorrow. I think they could do it. I don’t expect Canada to win, but I can see a 0-0 or 1-1 final in this one. Canada deserves to be in the final stage of World Cup qualifying and this match is what it comes down to.
Play: Draw +212
No matter what happens it’s going to be an interesting day of International soccer tomorrow and when it is all said and done there will only be 6 countries left battling it out for a spot in the World Cup in 2014.