QCOSTARICA – Three World Cup qualifiers remain. Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are the top three nations in the standings.
Panama is next, with Costa Rica behind them for an intercontinental playoff spot, while Jamaica, El Salvador and Honduras are eliminated.
CONCACAF’s final round play for the qualifying contenders is March 24-30.
Thursday, March 24:
- Panama faces Honduras (In Panama)
- Mexico faces the USA (in Mexico)
- Costa Rica faces Canada (in Costa Rica)
Sunday, March 27:
- Canada vs Jamaica (in Canada)
- El Salvador vs Costa Rica (in El Salvador)
- USA vs Panama (in the US)
- Honduras vs Mexico (in Honduras)
Wednesday, March 30:
- Panama vs Canada (in Panama)
- Costa Rica vs USA (in Costa Rica)
- Mexico vs El Salvador (in Mexico)
For Costa Rica, it’s a do or die, it must win all three games and bank on Panama losing all to gain the intercontinental playoff spot, or even possibly in the top three.
The big battle for the second spot is going to be between the USMT and Mexico, which could be decided as early as Thursday when the Americans face the Mexicans in Mexico City at Estadio Azteca, an infamous ground where the U.S. has never won in qualifying.
A win against Panama three days later should qualify the US. If not, a win or draw at Mexico, three points and a victory against Panama at Exploria Stadium in Orlando – the USMNT’s only home qualifier in March – is a must-win given its track record in Costa Rica.
For the Ticos, as said before, they must win, win, win and hope on Panama losing ground.
See here the CONCACAF standings.
Here is a possible outcome:
- Canada will finish atop the CONCACAF octagonal unbeaten (29 points). The last time Canada finished atop World Cup Qualifying was 1986, its only World Cup appearance.
- Mexico (28 points) will finish second.
- The US in third and final spot with 25 points – losing to Mexico, beating Panama, and tying with Costa Rica.
- Panama holds onto fourth by one point (21 points) over Costa Rica. The Ticos will have to sit out this World Cup.
Not the outcome most Costa Ricans are looking for, but we stand behind our prediction.