CONCACAF is headed into the final three-match stretch on the schedule for 2022 World Cup qualifying. The eight teams are in action Thursday, March 24, Sunday, March 27, and Wednesday, March 30. By the end of next Wednesday, we’ll know the three qualifying squads and the fourth squad that will advance to the inter-confederation playoffs.
The week of matches opens with arguably the biggest remaining contest as Mexico hosts the United States at Stadium Azteca in Mexico City. The two CONCACAF heavyweights are tied for second with 21 points. The United States holds the goal differential tiebreaker with a three goal lead, but if Mexico wins on Wednesday, the tiebreaker likely won’t matter. Meanwhile, Canada travels to face fifth place Costa Rica, with a win clinching their spot in the World Cup. They have clinched at least a spot in the inter-confederation playoffs. Panama faces Honduras and looks to remain ahead of Costa Rica for the playoff spot, and maybe gain some ground on the loser of USA-Mexico.
We’ll be updating this article with full results as the matches wrap. Panama-Honduras is scheduled to start at 9:05 p.m. ET, Mexico-USA is at 10 p.m., and Costa Rica-Canada is at 10:05 p.m.
The top three teams receive automatic qualification to the 2022 World Cup. The fourth-place team goes to a playoff round among all the federations, scheduled to take place in June 2022.
Jamaica 1, El Salvador 1: Both squads are eliminated from contention, so this game had no impact on the final qualifying standings.
Panama 1, Honduras 1: Panama took an early 1-0 lead but gave up a goal to Kevin López in the 65th minute and could not get back on top. They are in fourth place — holding the inter-confederation playoff berth in World Cup qualifying — pending the outcome of Costa Rica-Canada.
Mexico 0, USA 0: The Americans had plenty of chances that would have all put them into the World Cup, but some misses on sitters at the Azteca means the drama extends to Orlando on Sunday, when they’ll face Panama with a ticket to Qatar on the line.
Costa Rica 1, Canada 0: A red card to Mark-Anthony Kaye in the 34th minute put the leaders behind the eight ball early, and a goal from midfielder Celso Borges in first half stoppage time breathes much life into the Tico’s campaign. With the rest of the results, Costa Rica now sits in prime position to at least reach the intercontinental playoff for fourth place.
CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings, through March 24
- Canada, 7-4-1, 25 Points, Goal Difference +13 (At least in Intercontinental Playoff)
- USA, 6-4-2, 22 Points, GD +9
- Mexico, 6-4-2, 22 points, GD +6
- Costa Rica, 5-4-3, 19 points, GD +2
- Panama, 5-3-4, 18 Points, GD +1
- El Salvador, 2-4-6, 10 Points, GD -7 (Eliminated)
- Jamaica, 1-5-6, 8 points, GD -7 (Eliminated)
- Honduras, 0-4-8, 4 points, GD -17 (Eliminated)