WORLD CUP 2006 QUALIFYING: U.S. to face Jamaica, El Salvador and Panama

The field for the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF is almost complete. Eleven teams qualified Saturday and Sunday, and Mexico will join them after completing its second-round series with Dominica next weekend.

Joining the United States in Group 1 are Jamaica, El Salvador and Panama.

Jamaica beat Haiti 3-0 on a Marlon King hat trick to win its series, 4-1, on aggregate. El Salvador received a scare from Bermuda, twice falling behind in Hamilton before earning a 2-2 tie that gave it a 4-3 advantage on aggregate. Panama beat St. Lucia, 3-0, on the road to go through, 7-0, on aggregate.

The U.S. will open the semifinal round in Jamaica on Aug. 18. The round-robin group continues with the U.S. at home on Sept. 4 in Foxboro, Mass. (against El Salvador), and on the road on Sept. 8 in Panama. Play concludes with a road game on Oct. 10 in El Salvador and then consecutive home games on Oct. 13 (against Panama) and Nov. 17 in Columbus, Ohio (against Jamaica).

The top two teams in each group advance to the final round in 2005. The top three teams in the six-team group will play in the 20006 World Cup. The fourth-place team will meet an Asian team in a playoff for an additional berth.

The toughest CONCACAF semifinal group will be Group B, where Costa Rica, Canada, Guatemala and Honduras will meet. Honduras is coached by former U.S. and Costa Rica national team coach Bora Milutinovic. Costa Rica is coached by Steve Sampson, Milutinovic's assistant with the U.S. Guatemala is coached by former Honduran captain and national team coach Ramon Maradiaga. Canada is coached by Frank Yallop, who led San Jose to two MLS titles.

Mexico won its ''road'' game against Dominica, 10-0, in San Antonio and looks assured of moving into Group C, where it faces three Caribbean opponents: Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis and St. Vincent & Grenadines.

St. Kitts & Nevis was the only unseeded team to advance, finishing off Barbados, 3-2, at home to win 5-2 on aggregate.

SEMIFINAL GROUPS (Aug. 18-Nov. 17)

Group 1

USA

Jamaica

Panama

El Salvador

Group 2

Costa Rica

Canada

Guatemala

Honduras

Group 3

Mexico or Dominica

St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Trinidad & Tobago

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications