The qualifying rounds of the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) for the Qatar 2022 World Cup will begin on October 7, but the five powerful of the subregion will only enter into action next June.
The virtual draw to define the groups and matches of 35 selected from the subregion was held on Wednesday at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
The coronavirus pandemic prevented the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers from kicking off last March. As time is short, a lightning schedule has been scheduled and instead of five stages as in previous qualifiers, this time only two will be played.
The basis for organizing these explosive qualifying rounds was the FIFA ranking until July 16.
The first five classified in that ranking are Mexico (11 *), the United States (22 *), Costa Rica (46 *), Jamaica (48 *) and Honduras (62 *), which go directly to a final octagonal.
Meanwhile, the 30 remaining teams were divided into six groups of five each. Each team will play four games, two at home and two away.
The winners of each group will go to three keys. Two games will be played, round trip. The winners of those three miniseries will complete the final octagonal.
Wednesday’s draw was led by FIFA tournament chief Jaime Yarza and was attended as special guests by two legendary CONCACAF forwards, Bermuda native Shaun Goater, former Premier League Manchester City striker, and David Suazo from Honduras. , a true idol in Italian Calcio and in his country.
Mexico was the only selected team that already knows its rivals from the first two of the four dates of the octagonal final that will be played in June 2021. The debut of Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s team will be against Jamaica in Mexico City and then he will travel to San José to face Costa Rica.
The United States and Honduras, on the other hand, will have to wait for the outcome of the first stage of qualifying to know which teams they will play against.
The first leg of the CONCACAF qualifiers will be devastating. In the beginning, between October 7 and 13, 30 games will be played in a period of seven days.
Among the most attractive matches that the draw on Wednesday for the start of the qualifiers were found (the first of those named will play at home) Guatemala vs. Cuba, on October 7; Canada vs. Bermuda, Panama vs. Barbados, Salvador vs. Grenada, Haiti vs. Belize and Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guyana, October 8.
The remaining 30 matches will be completed between November 11 and 17 and after this marathon the best six of each group will come out, who will go for the three places for the octagonal final.
Meanwhile, the final octagonal will end in March 2022. The first three located will get direct passage to Qatar, and the fourth will have to face one of the qualifiers from Asia, Oceania or South America.
“With today’s draw [miércoles] the dreams of all the members of our region to qualify for the World Cup are beginning, ”said CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani of Canada. “This creates real excitement. With this new format, the 35 selected are guaranteed four games each and a clear path to reach the World Cup ”.
This is how the groups from the first stage remain.
Group A: El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, United States Virgin Islands.
B Group: Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba.
Group C: Curaçao, Guatemala, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands.
Group D: Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla.
Group E: Haiti, Nicaragua, Belize, Saint Lucia, Turks and Caicos.
Group F: Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Bahamas.