Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Central America or the Caribbean?

In seeing many predictions around the web as to which teams will make up the final six, I've come across some similarities. The three teams most expect to see through to next year's Hexagonal are the US, Mexico and Costa Rica. Canada also is getting a lot of love but is, along with teams from the other two groups, part of a seemingly interchangable group.

It's nearly split between Trinidad and Guatemala while Honduras and Jamaica are also getting picked out of Group B. Haiti seems to be a shaker as well with few if any think Suriname will get through.

It seems, though, that beyond the top three, Central America and the Caribbean will fight for spots head-to-head. With apologies to La Habana, Cuba's already been given up for dead, thus leaving Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago to fight for one spot. Honduras and Jamaica might have to worry about more than just Mexico as Canada is seemingly strong but they will have to face off against each other as well, while El Salvador and Haiti could determine the second spot in Group C.

It leads me to wonder which is the better region of CONCACAF, Central America or the Caribbean? Central America boasts Costa Rica which has reached the last two World Cups and Guatemala and Honduras can each be strong. However, both Guatemala and Honduras can be prone to horrendous letdowns as well.

Trinidad reached the World Cup last time around and reached the Hex in 2001 before collapsing, but Trinidad beat Honduras in Honduras late in the Hex, a result that helped the US and Mexico. Jamaica doesn't seem as strong as it did in the late 1990s but a trip to The Office could be tricky while Haiti, well, it's not exactly a vacation destination.

So which region is better - Central America or the Caribbean? Would the US and Mexico be better off having teams like Trinidad and Jamaica in the Hex or would Guatemala and Honduras be preferable? Or will Canada make this discussion moot?


starinyourfire said...

i think with mexico losing to both guatemala and honduras lately that i'd pick central america over the caribbean.

like you pointed out jamaica don't like the same team as they were in the 90's but Trinidad also fall in that same boat since the players involved with the 06 world cup could still be in a payment dispute with the countries federation if that hasn't been resolved. last i remember Haiti playing was against Costa Rica in the gold cup and they sorta gave CR problems.

i might be biased since i'm half guatemalan, but lately Honduras have won the majority of their friendly games, Costa Rica at home is one of the toughest teams to play in Central American region, Guatemala are known for playing for draws if they have to and actually beat mexico which i never thought i would see in my lifetime let alone twice, El Salvador beating Panama was quite a surprise since Panama seemed like a team on the rise in the region so i think El Salvador might be a team to look out for.

i think Jamaica might be one of the teams to come out of the Caribbean since they tend to fare well with central american countries(fun fact: according to FIFA records Guatemala has never beat Jamaica), i don't know if T&T does as well but i don't see them doing it again but i could be wrong.

EdTheRed said...

From a football perspective, it's six of one, half dozen of the other...but for Mexico and the U.S., I'd say it's much more preferable to travel to the Caribbean than to Honduras, Guatemala, or even El Salvador. The U.S. in particular has been historically poor in Central America, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Lawrence said...

Canada is a rising power. They play smart too, which is key in an endurance race such as this.

To bad CONCACAF f---ed up the groups something awful.

Anonymous said...

The organizers screwed the groups up big time.

They did a disservice to the 4 nations in group B that have actually tried desperately to improve over the years.

What a joke CONCACAF is. I still do not understand why Suriname is in CONCACAF just based on geography alone.


Saturdays.Hero said...

to be honest, this is as fair and balance of a group as ive seen since 98 wcq. Mexico was always drawn with Concacaf minnows and im glad that its time they are grouped in with 3 national sides that are hungry for the qualification. I think its about time that Mexico receive even competition right from the get go. Im predicting Honduras takes 3 pts in Mexico.