The fourth round of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football 2014 World Cup qualifiers is in full swing. All six teams played their second match of the fourth round on March 22nd and will each play their third on March 26th.
On Friday, Honduras was looking to earn their second victory of the round but finished in a 2-2 draw against Mexico. Jamaica and Panama also finished in a draw at 1-1 that left both teams with two draws in the round. The United States earned their first victory of the round by beating Costa Rica 1-0 in a match that is currently being protested: The Costa Rica Soccer Federation filed the protest after a massive snowfall that the group alleges compromised the “physical integrity” of the players and officials. Assuming the match isn’t replayed, the U.S. would sit in second place as they travel to Mexico for their March 26th match. The loss, as it stands, has positioned Costa Rica in last place.
With games resuming Tuesday, Panama will look to separate itself from the pack of teams tied with 2 points by facing top-placed Honduras. Jamaica (5th) and Costa Rica (6th) will face off with last place on the line — Costa Rica will welcome warm weather and their home stadium, the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica. And the U.S. will look to continue their momentum while they try to take over the first spot in the table from Honduras.
The top three teams of this group will automatically be placed in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil — the fourth spot would enter an International playoff against New Zealand to qualify. However, the table is still up for grabs and no team has distinguished themselves as the top team. With matches scheduled until October 15th, 2013 and each team playing eight more games, it could be a while before we see the eventual World Cup qualifiers reveal themselves. Mexico, Honduras and the U.S. are the leading bets for the top three spots while Costa Rico is likely to recover and capture the fourth spot.