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This Friday, CONCACAF embarks on its fourth round of qualifying. And they’re not done. 6 of the 12 teams participating in Round 4 will move on to the Hex: CONCACAF’s final round of qualifying. 23 teams have already been eliminated through qualifying that started back in March. Not a single team who participated in Round 1 is still alive.
There haven’t been a ton of surprises to date in qualifying. Following the World Cup Qualifying draw in July, WGF correctly predicted 6 of 6 teams to advance to the 4th round. It was a bit hairy. Following a huge surprise victory on the road, Nicaragua had Jamaica on the ropes, but they couldn’t finish the job.
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As we stated following the draw, we really think Canada made out well here. They were paired with El Salvador for the Gold Cup and finished level with them despite a poor performance. Honduras also finished last in their Gold Cup group, so there is certainly an opportunity for any of Canada, Honduras, and El Salvador to get through.
Mexico has a huge advantage in this group, and we have them with the highest odds of any team to get through to the Hex. Mexico has never not made it to the final round of CONCACAF qualification. If they somehow don’t get through, it will be football history. Especially in this group.
We’re going to hitch our wagon yet again to Canada. We think it’s Mexico and Canada going through to the Hex.
This is going to be a pretty interesting group. There are 4 good teams in this group, and it’s clearly the most difficult to navigate. Among CONCACAF teams we rank Costa Rica #3, Panama #4, Jamaica #6, and Haiti #7. That’s awful tough. As such, Costa Rica and Panama are currently our two favorites to move on, but we really don’t think there’s much difference between Panama and Jamaica. Haiti is also playing extremely well and got stuck with a tough draw.
Costa Rica were the darlings of World Cup 2014, and they’ll certainly want to prove that their cold streak immediately following the finals was more a fluke than anything. They didn’t show well at the Gold Cup, as they exited the tournament without winning a match. But Los Ticos have established themselves as a powerhouse in CONCACAF, and they’ve got to take advantage despite the tough group.
There’s almost a 70% chance that either Jamaica or Haiti get through, which is remarkable for a bottom 2. We’ll stick with Costa Rica and Panama as our two, but certainly this is where we feel least confident.
This is an interesting mix here. St. Vincent and the Grenadines have got to be the team that absolutely everyone is pulling for. It seems that every qualifying campaign, there’s an island debutante that is a step away from the Hex. 4 years ago it was Antigua and Barbuda. In 2006 qualifying, Vincy Heat reached the same point, but couldn’t get through. It’s going to be pretty tough this time around.
The United States also hasn’t been playing their best, but they’ve got to get out of this group. While it is exciting that Vincy Heat is here, going through Guyana and Aruba wasn’t the toughest path. The USA takes care of business against lowly ranked teams, and we expect that to continue. They’re right behind Mexico at the top of teams likely to qualify.
To us, it’s going to be between Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala for the second spot. Trinidad last made the Hex in 2010 qualifying and Guatemala in 2006 qualifying. These are two teams certainly familiar with advancing in qualifying. At this point, we’re a bit more encouraged by T&T’s Gold Cup performance, and they seem to be the better team at this point, but not by much. We’ll take the Soca Warriors to move on.
- Costa Rica
- Trinidad and Tobago
Feel free to leave some thoughts below about our picks. And be sure to follow us on Twitter @We_Global as we post odds and updates throughout qualifying.
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