USA on target to win CONCACAF qualification for 2014 World Cup
The title of CONCACAF’s top team is on the line, as well as the ultimate prize of the 2014 World Cup, with qualification for the mega event in its fourth stage. The United States has made its claim being the top CONCACAF team. The Americans won the CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and made it to the Round of 16 in the World Cup. The United States has undergone several changes since then, but remains in prime position to finish No. 1 in the region. Jurgen Klinsmann took over the coaching reins of the U.S. a couple years ago and he now has his squad playing quality football against their neighbors.
The U.S. dropped its first match of the fourth round, falling to Honduras 2-1. The Americans rallied to get a win over Costa Rica and a draw with Mexico, as well as wins over Jamaica, Panama, and Honduras. The U.S. has accomplished all of this without its all time leading assist man and goal scorer, Landon Donovan. Donovan was a part of the U.S.’s Gold Cup roster and may be on the roster for the last half of the fourth round qualifying. Meanwhile Jozy Altidore has stepped up his play for the U.S. The U.S. plays everyone again in the six-team group coming up with the exception of Honduras, who they have already played twice. The Sept. 6 meeting at Costa Rica and Sep. 10 home showdown with Mexico are specifically important. They are the top two challengers for the U.S. in a battle for the top spot, with Costa Rica especially being on their heels.
Costa Rica is third highest ranked team in CONCACAF in terms of the world rankings, improving recently and checking in at 39th. Bryan Ruiz is a world class player for Costa Rica and a proven goal scorer. Costa Rica’s road loss to the U.S. in the fourth round of World Cup qualifying was a controversial one in which snow made the match almost unplayable. Cost Rica protested to no avail. The Sept. 6 meeting will be at home, so Costa Rica will have a good chance at revenge and a good chance to take over the lead in the CONCACAF standings.
The team many expected to finish first in CONCACAF qualifying was Mexico. Mexico, ranked 20th in the world, has had a hard time getting wins in the fourth round of qualifying and has been settling for draws. Still with a weapon like Chicharito, Javier Hernandez, Mexico has the firepower to move up in the standings. More than halfway through the fourth round and Mexico’s only win was over Jamaica with the rest of their contests ending in draws. Only Honduras scored on Mexico, who boasts the impressive defensive tandem of Maza Rodriguez and Hector Moreno. Mexico has a return match with each member of the group except Jamaica, who they have already played twice.
With the United States, Mexico, Panama and Honduras all reaching the last four of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, there looks to be a lot of life left in CONCACAF World Cup Betting yet. Just who will get the top spot in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying is still up for grabs, but the U.S., Costa Rica, and Mexico have the best chances.