The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced today the schedule of matches for the third round of FIFA World Cup qualifying in the region, starting next June.
In the upcoming round (also known as the semifinal round), winners of the six second round groups (El Salvador, Guyana, Panama,Canada, Guatemala and Antigua & Barbuda) join six teams that have thus far received byes (Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and the United States) to form three groups of four teams apiece.
Matchday 1 opens on Friday, June 8, highlighted by a Group A pairing between the USA, the nation with largest population in the confederation, and Antigua & Barbuda, which at approximately 88,000 inhabitants has the smallest population of any country remaining in the competition.Group B is led by 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion Mexico and is expected to be highly competitive. A game between El Salvador and Costa Rica on Matchday 5 could decide the group’s fate.
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Honduras, which qualified for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa along with the USA and Mexico, heads Group C. The current Central American champion starts play on June 8 at home against regional-rival Panama.
Matchdays 3 and 4 promise much excitement, as the top seeds from each group will meet each other on both days in a home-and-home series.
Times and locations for all matches will be confirmed at a later date.
The top two teams from each of the semifinal groups will advance to round four of qualifying – commonly known as the “hexagonal”.
Three teams from CONCACAF are guaranteed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with the fourth-placed team from the hexagonal facing off against the Oceania winner.
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying – Round Three
Group AUnited StatesJamaicaGuatemalaAntigua & Barbuda
Group BMexicoCosta RicaEl SalvadorGuyana
SCHEDULE OF MATCHES(home team listed first)
MATCHDAY 1Friday, June 8, 2012Group AUnited States vs. Antigua& BarbudaJamaica vs. Guatemala
Group BMexico vs. GuyanaCosta Rica vs. El Salvador
Group CHonduras vs. PanamaCuba vs. Canada
MATCHDAY 2Tuesday, June 12, 2012Group AGuatemala vs. United StatesAntigua & Barbuda vs. Jamaica
Group BEl Salvador vs. MexicoGuyana vs. Costa Rica
Group CCanada vs. HondurasPanama vs. Cuba
MATCHDAY 3Friday, September 7, 2012Group AJamaica vs. United StatesGuatemala vs. Antigua &Barbuda
Group BCosta Rica vs. MexicoEl Salvador vs. Guyana
Group CCuba vs. HondurasCanada vs. Panama
MATCHDAY 4Tuesday, September11, 2012Group AUnited States vs. JamaicaAntigua and Barbuda vs. Guatemala
Group BMexico vs. Costa RicaGuyana vs. El Salvador
Group CHonduras vs. CubaPanama vs. Canada
MATCHDAY 5Friday, October 12, 2012Group AGuatemala vs. JamaicaAntigua& Barbuda vs. United States
Group BEl Salvador vs. Costa RicaGuyana vs. Mexico
Group CCanada vs. CubaPanama vs. Honduras
MATCHDAY 6Tuesday, October 16, 2012Group AUnited States vs.GuatemalaJamaica vs. Antigua & Barbuda
GroupBMexico vs. El SalvadorCosta Rica vs. Guyana
Group CHonduras vs. CanadaCuba vs. Panama
About CONCACAFCONCACAF “The Confederation of North, CentralAmerican and Caribbean Association Football” is one of six continental confederations of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and serves as the governing body of football in this part of the world. It is composed of 40 national associations, from Canada in the north to Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana in the south.