September 8, 2012
AUCKLAND - With the All Whites off to a winning start in Noumea, nzfootball.co.nz takes the opportunity to take a look at how things are progressing in CONCACAF and gauge how the contenders for the intercontinental playoff in November 2013 are shaping up.
The All Whites recent opponents – Jamaica, El Salvador and Honduras – are each in one of the three groups and all registered points in their individual campaigns to remain in the hunt for one of the top two spots to advance to the fourth stage of qualifying.
El Salvador missed an opportunity to jump into second spot in Group B after they were held to a surprise 2-2 draw with Guyana after twice taking the lead at home. Mexico’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica gave them a tally of nine points from three games, thus cementing their place at the top of Group B and signifying a giant step towards the decisive 'Hexagonal Final'.
Honduras – who were beaten 1-0 by the All Whites in May – scored an impressive 3-0 away win in Cuba to close the gap on Canada and Panama. In the other game in Group C, Panama’s 100-per-cent start to Round 3 came to an end on Canadian soil. The hosts put in a solid and effective display to neutralise Los Canaleros’ potent attack and clinch a 1-0 win.
Jamaica scored the biggest upset of the round knocking over the confederation powerhouse USA 2-1 in front of their fervent fans in Kingston. Guatemala were able to recover from the shock of conceding an early goal to Antigua and Barbuda’s before turning the scoreline around and ending the match with a 3-1 win to sit equal with the USA on four points and goal difference.
The Round 4 picture could be even clearer on Wednesday (NZ time) with return fixtures set to take place.
Additional reporting FIFA.com
Results (Friday, 7 September)
Jamaica 2-1 United States
Guatemala 3-1 Antigua and Barbuda
El Salvador 2-2 Guyana
Costa Rica 0-2 Mexico
Cuba 0-3 Honduras
Canada 1-0 Panama
Upcoming fixtures (Wednesday, 12 September)
United States v Jamaica
Antigua and Barbuda v Guatemala
Guyana v El Salvador
Mexico v Costa Rica
Honduras v Cuba
Panama v Canada