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The CONCACAF Dozen

The second round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying concluded Sunday night with a shocker: El Salvador scoring three times in the final 20 minutes -- the first two by former DCUer Eliseo Quintanilla -- to defeat Panama, 3-1, at Estadio Cuscatlan and win the home-and-home series by a 3-2 aggregate.

Here are how the semifinal-round groups look:

*USA, Guatemala, Cuba, T&T
*Mexico, Honduras, Canada, Jamaica
*Costa Rica, El Salvador, Haiti, Suriname

The top two in each group will qualify for the final round next year.

Play continues for the Americans on Aug. 20 with a visit to Guatemala City followed by a Sept. 6 match in Havana. Their first home game will be Sept. 10 at Toyota Park outside Chicago against T&T.

By Steve Goff  |  June 23, 2008; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup  
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Next: The Good, The Bad, The Coyote Ugly

Comments

Wow, what a comeback by ES. Now they have a very very easy group for the semifinal stage. Mexico's group looks more difficult than the hex was last time.

Posted by: Max | June 23, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

wow, wasn't that the upset that everyone entertained in the poll you had Goff man?
trippy dude.
Beware Guatemala Brah.

Posted by: dadryan | June 23, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

meant upset we could most imagine, eh?

Posted by: Dadryan | June 23, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Group 3 (CR, ES, Haiti, Sur) is a joke, but it could be entertaining as all teams are average. Group 2 is going to be tough to pick the second team, I'm assuming Mexico will figure out how to cope. It should be interesting to see if Honduras and Jamaica can consistently get their European (and Asia in the case of Honduras) based players to return more than 12 hours before their matches.

Posted by: nico | June 23, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand how these groups get set up. Group 3 just can't compare to 1 and 2. Poor Canada and the rest of Group 2 - that's just brutal

Posted by: diego r. | June 23, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

diego,

I'm pretty sure the group setups involve Jack Warner and a large case of cash.

Ok, a small envelope of cash. It's CONCACAF, after all, not UEFA.

Posted by: Ash | June 23, 2008 6:16 AM | Report abuse

These names must get picked out of a hat ... obviously those in Group 2 didn't 'contibute' enough to ensure their entries were sufficiently crumpled.

While it would be unexpected, Canada, Jamaica & Honduras all remain quite capable of advancing over Mexico. What's a shame is that 2 of this group will see their WC dreams ended while 2 from the minnows of T&T, Cuba, Haiti, Guatemala, Suriname & El Salvador are guaranteed to advance.

Posted by: Hmmm | June 23, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

The draw for this was done by FIFA in South Africa. There's no reason to think it was "crooked" -- if you look at the seedings/pots, it was likely that one group (whichever one Costa Rica was in) was going to end up the weakest.

And if you want to blame Jack Warner, you'd have to ask as to why T&T isn't in the easiest group.

Posted by: Phil | June 23, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Mexico could be in real trouble and Sven could be looking for ANOTHER new job.

Posted by: jgildea | June 23, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I thought RFK was in line for one of the USMNT's upcoming qualifiers. What happened with that?

Posted by: sbg | June 23, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

FIRST (post since I went on an internet-less vacation). I really missed Soccer Insider.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 23, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Panama was a rising power in CONCACAF the last few years -- big win by El Salvador, which usually doesn't score much.

Mr. Goff, what happened to Guadelupe? They were semifinalists in the last Gold Cup.

Posted by: Bill in Md. | June 23, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Bill Guadeloupe is not a FIFA member nation only a CONCACAF member. They aren't considered a coountry but a part of France by FIFA. Which doesn't make sense to me since Puerto Rico isn't a country but has their own NT.

I think France won't ever let them go because of all the star players on their NT that are from Guadeloupe.

Posted by: Matthai | June 23, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Panama was a rising power in CONCACAF the last few years -- big win by El Salvador, which usually doesn't score much.

Mr. Goff, what happened to Guadelupe? They were semifinalists in the last Gold Cup.

Posted by: Bill in Md. | June 23, 2008 8:39 AM
-------------------------------------------
Bill, my Brutha: I would NEVER apire to the Greatness of Goff but I can help you out with an answer to your question-

Guadelupe aren't FIFA memebers. They are CFU & CONCACAF members. That is why they play in the Digicel/Gold Cup and other regional competitions but do not participate in FIFA WCQ.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 23, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Which is also why French NT players could play for Guadaloupe in the Gold Cup...

Posted by: RK | June 23, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

What is everyone complaining about, The good teams should win when you play each other twice. If Canada is as good as they say they are than they should beat Jamaica and Honduras. I'm glad to see Mexico have to sweat it out a few games, why does Mexico always have to get a free pass to get to the final round everytime, did you see their group last world cup qualifiers. It included Trinidad and Tobago, St. Nevis & Kitts, and St. Vincent. I think during group play they had like 27 goals in favor and 1 against.

Posted by: dcchilidog | June 23, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

So what are the rules for traveling to Cuba to support the US team at the game in September? Is the travel embargo lifted for this or will our government force the team to play with zero traveling support?

Posted by: voodoodiver | June 23, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Bill Guadeloupe is not a FIFA member nation only a CONCACAF member. They aren't considered a coountry but a part of France by FIFA. Which doesn't make sense to me since Puerto Rico isn't a country but has their own NT.

I think France won't ever let them go because of all the star players on their NT that are from Guadeloupe.

Posted by: Matthai | June 23, 2008 8:49 AM
-------------------------------------------
Matthai you are a legend. No doubt. Props to you.

Debating whether or not Puerto Rico is a country or not is like telling your sister in law that you think that she is hotter than your wife-no harm is intended but the conversation usually stirs up some very bitter feeling no matter how well intentioned the sharing of the thoughts are--so I'll just avoid going there.

I would suggest that by the logic that you are currently utilizing that neither Scotland, nor Wales, nor Northern Ireland should compete in WCQ or possibly UEFA either. They all share a passport, currency, have aguably limites autonomy to a great extent but yet they have feds and compete in UEFA & FIFA.

Like I said, I'm not trying to touch on a very bitter political argument, just making the point that Puerto Rico's football situation isn't very different that the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish, yet most people who (innocently) question PR's FIFA's status--they rarely see they striking similarity between those other countries (my word) participation.

Not attacking anyone, let alone you the legend--it just has always struck me as a bit curious. I guess maybe it is the Old World factor, I dunno.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 23, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Costa Rica are greedy SOBs, hogging up all of the whipping boys for themselves like that.

Anyway, I would not pre-ordain Mexico to coast in that group, as that is one tricky group where on the day anyone of those teams can win (Okay, that goes double, mybe triple, for Mexico, but you get my point). Mexico better win all of thiee home games.

As for Cuba being in the US' group: show of hands for who think that Cuba will have enough players to field at the start of the second half? Just kidding (sort of). I see us getting out of that group easily, though not without injury and/or suspensions, as Guatemala are the latest and greatest hack jobs of CONCACAF. The Bob needs to start lecturing Gooch right now on staying calm when marking a certain cheating, flopping, dirty-playing, hacking, crotch grabbing, diving...fish.

Posted by: Kosh | June 23, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Turkey is cooked -- add this to all of their suspensions, and they have no chance:

Turkey striker Nihat Kahveci has been ruled out of the rest of Euro 2008 with a thigh injury he picked up in the quarter-final win over Croatia.

Posted by: RK | June 23, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Eliseo Quintanilla's free kick was nice. I sure wish he would have stayed around with DC United, unfortunetly when he was healthy he wouldn't see the field and once he started contributing he got hurt, twice I think. Glad to see he is doing good with Alajuelense of Costa Rica and on the NAtional Team. He is the heart of the national team by the way, I could see him playing in Jaime Moreno's position if Moreno would want to leave the game one day...just a thought.

Posted by: 14th & I NW | June 23, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Thought I would see many more posts about Q2 here. Has he really improved that much?

Posted by: JMR | June 23, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully Cuba's players decided to defect BEFORE the game this time!

Posted by: SWAG | June 23, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully Cuba's players decided to defect BEFORE the game this time!

Posted by: SWAG | June 23, 2008 10:28 AM
=============

Well played.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 23, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse


Hopefully Cuba's players decided to defect BEFORE the game this time!

Posted by: SWAG | June 23, 2008 10:28 AM
=============

Well played.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 23, 2008 10:32 AM

_________________

Alas, the first game is in Havana!

Posted by: northzax | June 23, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

So what are the chances that Mexico MISSES the World Cup this time around? 25%? 50%? Canada, Honduras, and Jamaica will be tough. This will be a real chance for Svenny

Posted by: DCUMD | June 23, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The U.S. could have a training match before the game in Havana against an all-star team of Cuban defectors (Maykel Galindo and the 5 who defected after the Gold Cup in Houston etc.) - they would probably be better than the current Cuban national team.

Posted by: AM | June 23, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

So what are the chances that Mexico MISSES the World Cup this time around? 25%? 50%? Canada, Honduras, and Jamaica will be tough. This will be a real chance for Svenny

Posted by: DCUMD

I would call it about 30%. They must win at home (they should play all home games in Azteca stadium for the altituge and smog factor). A draw or loss at home and they could be doomed.

Posted by: Matt Johnston | June 23, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

@yankiboy

I have no problem with PR playing their own NT to be honest, just like the Scots England and N.Irish. For Guadeloupe I think they are a victim of bullsh*t colonialism at work on the part of FIFA and France.

Thinking about it, if all the Guadeloupe born/descendent players weren't on France's team and played for the G-men:

1) France would be not much better than Poland, Romania or Sweden.

2) Guadeloupe would be a CONCACAF power instantly and would challenge for the top spot.

Granted most of the Guaeloupeans who were born in France would still pick the French NT over Guadeloupe but you never know.

Posted by: Matthai | June 23, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, I'm not trying to touch on a very bitter political argument, just making the point that Puerto Rico's football situation isn't very different that the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish, yet most people who (innocently) question PR's FIFA's status--they rarely see they striking similarity between those other countries (my word) participation.

Not attacking anyone, let alone you the legend--it just has always struck me as a bit curious. I guess maybe it is the Old World factor, I dunno.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 23, 2008 9:01 AM

I am long time reader, rare poster, so take my comments for what you wish...

Anyway, if memory serves me, I remember reading some FIFA document some years back that stated the reasons why the UK was allowed to field multiple teams. I seem to recall that the explanation mentioned something about it related to special recognition due to the UK's historical significance to the game's birth and so forth.

Thus, PR's situation is different.

Posted by: ElChele | June 23, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@yankiboy

I have no problem with PR playing their own NT
-------------------------------------------
I never thought that you did. I really appreciated the fact that you even bothered to mention "us" (my adopted homeland and close #2 national team--second only to USA, of course). We are trying to raise our profile so any discussion of the PR national team program is a step forward.

On a side note, tying it back to DCU:
Naturalizing Petter Villegas is one of the best moves that the FPF has made in the last 14 years or so.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 23, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

am long time reader, rare poster, so take my comments for what you wish...

Anyway, if memory serves me, I remember reading some FIFA document some years back that stated the reasons why the UK was allowed to field multiple teams. I seem to recall that the explanation mentioned something about it related to special recognition due to the UK's historical significance to the game's birth and so forth.

Thus, PR's situation is different.

Posted by: ElChele | June 23, 2008 12:45 PM
-------------------------------------------
Chele, thanks a lot for the insight. They are appreciated. I had never read that. Being as jaded as I am at times, I just figured it was about the ca$h (FIFA usually is all about the ca$h in my meaningless opinion).

My guess is that FIFA's offical statement might regarding PR's status would have a bit of a twist; Something like "Trying to grow the game" since the historical component is not there. The same would go for the USVI and American Somoa and Guam.

Posted by: yankibou | June 23, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Naturalizing Petter Villegas is one of the best moves that the FPF has made in the last 14 years or so.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 23, 2008 1:09 PM
==========================================

How can Villegas or anyone else be "naturalized" as a Puerto Rican? Is there even such a thing as Puerto Rican citizenship? Presumably Villegas became a U.S. citizen, either while living on the U.S. mainland, or later while living in Puerto Rico. Can the Puerto Rican NT recruit any U.S. citizen who agrees to move to Puerto Rico and is not yet cap-tied to the USMNT?

Posted by: tri-village | June 23, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Guadeloupe is a full fledged part of France. Analogous to Hawaii with the U.S. Its not a territory, protectorate, or colony, but actually a part of France proper. With that in mind, its strange that they even have their own FA and compete in CONCACAF competitions. There is nothing unusual about them not being part of FIFA or their players playing for France.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | June 23, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Guadeloupe and PR have complete different status. Guadeloupe is fully part of France and is one of their France Overseas "department ". " Guadeloupeens" are full fledged french ( and European) citizens , vote in French elections and are represented in the French Parliament.
PR, albeit its citizens carry a US passport, is not a full member of the Union. They have a status of a "non-incorporated territory" of the United States. Puerto Ricans do not vote in presidential elections either among other things.


Finally on Mattahi's point, only one french player from their Euro team, was born in Guadeloupe : Thuram.
Malouda was born in French Guyana and all the others are born either in France or Africa.

Posted by: Charlie | June 23, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

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