The USA clinched a berth in the World Cup 2006 finals when its 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, on Day 7 gave it a 5-1-1 record. A road win over
Costa Rica in its next qualifier will give the USA the same record at the same stage as eight years ago -- 5-1-1 after Day 7 -- and it will clinch a berth in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with in
several scenarios, based on the results of the other two Day 7 matches, Mexico-Honduras and Panama-Jamaica.
(A win over Costa Rica would clinch no worse than fourth place -- and a place
in a playoff against New Zealand in November -- no matter what the results are in the other games.) UPDATED.
Even if the USA loses its final three
games to Mexico, Jamaica and Panama and Costa Rica and Honduras beat the last-place Reggae Boyz, the schedule works in the USA's favor to clinch in these scenarios:
-- Mexico-Honduras tie
AND Panama-Jamaica tie or Jamaica win.
(If the USA beats Costa Rica, Jamaica cannot overtake the USA even if it wins its last four places.) Hexagonal Standings: PTS TEAM W-T-L +/-
13 USA 4-1-1 7/3
11 Costa Rica 3-2-1 8/4
8 Mexico 1-5-0 3/2
6 Panama 1-3-2 5/7
2 Jamaica 0-2-4 2/8 Sept. 6
Panama-Jamaica Sept. 10
Honduras-Panama Oct. 11
Honduras-Costa Rica Oct. 15