Socceroos to play Honduras after USA dumped from World Cup qualifying by Trinidad and Tobago

11 October 2017 3:05 AM

13 0

The United States has been sensationally eliminated from World Cup qualifying by minnows Trinidad and Tobago, leaving the Socceroos to face Honduras in next month's intercontinental play-off.

A draw against lowly Trinidad and Tobago would likely have been enough to see the United States through as North and Central America's third-best team for automatic qualification, leaving Panama and Honduras to slug it out for fourth spot to make the two-legged play-off against Australia.

Instead, Honduras shocked Mexico 3-2, while Panama beat already-qualified Costa Rica 2-1.

The US lost 2-1, dooming it to fifth spot and dumping it from the World Cup equation altogether. It is the first time since 1986 that the United States' men's national team has failed to qualify.

To rub salt in American wounds, both goals were eyesores — from a US centre-back's perspective, anyway.

Omar Gonzalez put the ball into the back of his own net, in an attempt to side-foot a Trinidad cross away from danger, he instead lobbed his own keeper to put the US a goal down early on.

Twenty minutes later, Alvin Jones hit an exocet from miles out, beating American keeper Tim Howard comfortably as the wondergoal put the minnows in the driving seat.

Wonderkid Christian Pulisic pulled a goal back just two minutes into the second half, but the Americans could not find another goal to claw their way back into World Cup contention.

The Socceroos will travel to Honduras in early November, before concluding the two-legged play-off on home soil on November 14.

Trailing to top-of-the-table Mexico, Honduras levelled the match at 2-2 in humorous fashion, with a shot off the crossbar cannoning back into goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa's head and bobbling back over the goal-line.

Seven minutes later, Honduras was leading thanks to Romell Quioto's finish, with the Honduran defence holding firm for another half hour to secure the play-off spot against Australia.

There was plenty of controversy in Panama's match against Costa Rica, with its equaliser adding to the debate over video technology in football.

Panama's Blas Perez looked to score a phantom goal, with his effort in the box bobbling towards the goal-line, but didn't come close to crossing it, before the linesman flagged for a Panamanian goal.

With no video referee available, the referee accepted his linesman's judgement, and the goal stood.

Roman Torres then sprinted into the box to hammer home the winner, sealing Panama's first-ever World Cup berth in the process.

But take Perez's ghost goal out of the equation, and suddenly it's Panama that would have been eliminated from qualifying, with the United States facing off against Australia.

The reaction in Honduras to its progression to the inter-continental play-off — after starting the day outside CONCACAF's top four — has been one of shock, despite the fact it had previously qualified for both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Honduras' El Heraldo newspaper declared "Battles are won by soldiers, but wars are won by men of faith!"

"Honduras has demonstrated heart, claws and valour. We remain alive giving all until the end. Honduras has shown pride, discipline and courage — now begins 'operacion Australia'."

In South America's confederation, all eyes were on Argentina in its efforts to qualify after an underwhelming, lacklustre campaign.

But superstar Lionel Messi produced the goods when it mattered, guiding his team to a 3-1 win over Ecuador, while Brazil smashed Chile 3-0.

That result, coupled with Peru's draw with Colombia, saw Chile eliminated entirely from the equation, having won back-to-back Copa America titles in 2015 and 2016.

With the top four of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia automatically qualifying for Russia 2018, Peru clinched the crucial fifth spot ahead of Chile, meaning it will face off against New Zealands' All Whites in the other intercontinental play-off.

Also read: Rohingya crisis: Tillerson says US holds Myanmar military responsible for violent crackdown

Source: abc.net.au

To category page

Loading...