Oct 15 2009
With final outcomes in FIFA World Cup qualifying often dependent more on the performance of other teams in a qualifying group than on one’s own results, the final matchday of CONCACAF’s hexagonal qualification round on Wednesday yielded an incredible example of how one goal thousands of miles away can dramatically alter another team’s World Cup dreams.
Going into yesterday’s action, the United States led the CONCACAF group with 19 points, Mexico stood in 2nd with 18, Costa Rica placed 3rd with 15 and Honduras was on the outside of automatic qualification looking in, sitting in 4th place with 13 points. Although 4th place in CONCACAF would allow Honduras to still qualify for a home-and-home playoff with the 5th place team from South America’s CONMEBOL, the Hondurans needed a win and a Costa Rica loss or tie to ensure automatic qualification.
With all three games in the group beginning near simultaneously, the Hondurans were first to draw to a result, notching a 1-0 win over El Salvador. Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago soon wrapped up their 2-2 draw, meaning all eyes were turned to the USA-Costa Rico qualifier underway in Washington, D.C. With the Ticos up 2-1 in the waning minutes of the match, it appeared to Honduran supporters that Los Catrachos would fall just short of 3rd place in the group. But when the United States’ Jonathan Bornstein headed home an equalizer in the 95th minute, in a game being played 7,847 miles away from the Catrachos’ match in San Salvador, Honduran qualification was all but sealed in a dramatic turn of events best articulated by this audio clip from a live Honduran radio broadcast.
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