USMNT World Cup qualifying scenarios: How USA soccer can punch ticket to Qatar 2022 on Sunday vs. Panama


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World Cup Qualifying is reaching its final moments as Concacaf teams try to secure their tickets to Qatar. After pulling out a draw against Mexico, the United States are in a good position ahead of their match with Panama Sunday but now Costa Rica are becoming the team to watch as they rose to fourth in the Octagonal defeating Canada. 

For a refresh, let’s look at the table heading into Sunday’s matches.

Concacaf World Cup qualifying table

Canada

12

7

4

1

+13

25

United States

12

6

4

2

+9

22

Mexico

12

6

4

2

+6

22

Costa Rica

12

5

4

3

+2

19

Panama

12

3

3

4

1

18

El Salvador – e

12

2

3

7

-7

10

Jamaica – e

12

1

5

6

-7

8

Honduras – e

12

0

4

8

-17

4

The top three finishers in the Concacaf table qualify for the 2022 World Cup. The fourth-place finisher heads to a playoff to get into the tournament. The United States or Mexico can clinch a World Cup spot depending on Sunday’s results as they are three points ahead of Costa Rica in fourth place and four points ahead of Panama in fifth. So what would they need to qualify?

Concacaf World Cup qualifying scenarios

A USMNT or Mexico win sees them all but advance to the world cup if…

  • The United States defeats Panama and Mexico also wins versus Honduras. This would give each team a superior goal difference over Costa Rica and a three-point gap between third and fourth place that Costa Rica would have to close along with at least a +4 goal difference advantage that Los Ticos would need to overcome. 
  • A United States win and a Costa Rica loss would see them automatically qualify for the World Cup

If the United States loses to Panama Sunday they can still clinch at least a fourth-place spot by virtue of goal difference if…

  • Costa Rica loses to El Salvador. To advance, Costa Rica would need to defeat the United States by at least 6-7 goals in their match on the final matchday.
  • A United States loss and a Mexico victory would see Mexico likely advance due to goal difference while Mexico losing would put them in a similar spot.

If the United States draws on Sunday they advance if …

  • Costa Rica loses to El Salvador. This would give the United States a four-point advantage on Costa Rica and a five-point advantage on Panama heading into the final matchday.

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Sunday, March 27 Concacaf broadcast schedule

  • Canada vs. Jamaica, 4:05 p.m. (Paramount+)  
  • El Salvador vs. Costa Rica, 5:05 p.m. (Paramount+)  
  • United States vs. Panama, 7 p.m.
  • Honduras vs. Mexico, 7:05 p.m. (Paramount+)  





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