Group B: Mexico has booked their ticket to the 2015 World Cup in New Zealand, Honduras has clinched the next round and Cuba surprises Canada.
By Jorge Belon, Managing Editor
Mexico became the first team from CONCACAF to qualify for the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand on Monday at Montego Bay Sports Complex at Montego Bay, Jamaica, now there are only three slots left to fill for CONCACAF. Honduras is now into the second round and Canada has been eliminated from the tournament.
Game 1: Cuba 2-1 Canada
Scorers: (CUBA) Frank López 5th minute, 40th minute & (CAN) Jackson Farmer 53rd minute.
The Canadians entered the match with an opportunity to put their World Cup lives back in order. But instead a horrible pass from the Canadian goalie would set up López with an open net, and the Cuban finished the chance from 30-yards out in the 5th minute.
Right before halftime the Lions of the Caribbean would extend their lead with López smashing in header from the center of the penalty box, making it 2-0.
The Canadians in the second half felt the pressure of elimination, in result their offense began to pick up production. As six of their nine shots were taken, but only Farmer’s shot we hit the back of the net to finish the game 2-1.
The Cubans after pulling out the upset now have a chance of qualifying for the next round. All they have to do is defeat El Salvador on Thursday at Montego Bay Sports Complex. As for the Canucks after blowing this golden chance they are now eliminated and will only have pride to play for in their last game on Thursday against Honduras at the same location.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/HrNu0Idbwvg.
Game 2: El Salvador 1-3 Mexico
Scorers: (MEX) José Ramírez 62nd minute, (MEX), (MEX) Alejandro Díaz 65th minute, (MEX) Hirving Lozano 67th minute & (ESL) Nelson Moreno 88th minute.
El Tri came into this match as favorites and with a trip to New Zeland on the line; they took care of business against their Central American rivals.
However, the 3-1 score line is deceiving because the match was the most difficult for the Mexicans in the tournament yet; this was the first time in the CONCACAF Championship that El Tri was left scoreless at halftime.
However, in the second half the stingy defense of La Selecta finally broke down and within a five minute span Mexico scored all three of their goals. El Salvador would not be up for the challenge of coming back since they spent most of their energy attempting to play the perfect defensive game.
However, two minutes before the game ended Moreno would get one goal back with a pinpoint header.
La Selecta will now have to make sure that they at least tie Cuba in their final match of the group stages to clinch a spot in the next round on Thursday at Montego Bay Sports Complex.
As for Mexico, they have already clinched a spot in the Under-20 World Cup and a place in the final of the CONCACAF Championship. So their game against Haiti on Thursday at the same location will be for the reserves of El Tri.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/BpVDUbhLbIE.
Game 3: Haiti 2-3 Honduras
Scorers: (HON) Alberth Elís 5th minute, (HON) Michaell Chirinos 38th minute, (HAT) Jonel Desire 40th minute, (HAT) Jonel Desire 69th minute & (HON) Bryan Rochaz 72nd minute.
A game that went back and forth and at one point it seemed Haiti was going to pull out the same upset that Cuba did earlier. But a careless foul from a Haitian defender would give Honduras the victory.
The action started early with Elís putting Honduras up 1-0 at the 5th minute with a powerful header. Chirinos would give the Catrachos a two goal lead by making a simple contact with the ball with his torso, and the ball rolled into the back of the net at the 38th minute.
The Grenadiers began the comeback with some sloppy passing from the Central American center back; Jonel Desire would intercept the ball at the top of the penalty box. He wasted no time and blasted the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net to cut the lead in half right before halftime.
In the second half Desire would tie the match at the 69th minute, by following his missed penalty and hammering the ball into the back of the net.
The momentum appeared to change and the Haitians were inching closer to taking the lead. However, a Haiti defender would go for a risky slide tackle in the penalty box, and blow it entirely. He fouled the Central American and a penalty was awarded, the Haitian goalie Guitho Charles made the initial save but Rochaz would follow up his rebound and win the game for Honduras.
Now the Haitians are out and their final match against Mexico on Thursday has no importance to the tournament.
As for Honduras this victory has qualified them to the next round. But they still need to win so they can finish the highest seed possible, to face the weakest team of group A in the next round.
So the final match against the Canadians on Thursday will still have importance to the Catrachos. Both matches will be played at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
Tomorrow’s matches: Group A will be in action for the last time on Wednesday, all six nations will be playing at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. However, only four countries are still alive to make the next round, and only two of those four can directly make the World Cup by winning the group.
That big match to decide the winner of this group is the first game, Panama versus Guatemala. Panama only needs a tie to punch their ticket to New Zealand. As for the Chapines, they need to win.
The second match is between the U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago; the Americans only need to tie to qualify for the next round. As for the Soca Warriors they need a victory.
The final match is a game for a pride since both Jamaica and Aruba are out. The host country Jamaica will be looking to get their first victory of the tournament against Aruba. And hopefully not finish dead last in the group in front of their home fans.