US and Mexico book tickets to World Cup finals

The United States and Mexico both booked tickets to this year’s World Cup in Qatar in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

he United States, who missed out on the 2018 tournament, lost 2-0 to Costa Rica but still progressed along with the Mexicans, who beat El Salvador 2-0.

Canada, who already secured qualification on Sunday, lost 1-0 at Panama but still finished top of the group.

Costa Rica finished fourth in the standings and will face New Zealand in an intercontinental qualifier in Qatar in June for another spot at the finals.

On the final matchday of CONCACAF qualifying, the United States knew that a win, draw or loss by less than six goals would ensure a return to the World Cup finals.

Costa Rica went ahead in the 51st minute from a Juan Pablo Vargas header before Anthony Contreras doubled the lead from close range shortly after.

The United States, whose squad includes only four players from the side which failed to reach Russia in 2018, held steady the rest of the way to ensure qualification.

Uriel Antuna put hosts Mexico ahead from the left side of the six-yard box in the 17th minute before Raul Jimenez converted a penalty just before halftime.

Canada were unable to wrap up an impressive qualifying campaign on a winning note in Panama, who were eliminated from contention by the United States on Sunday.

Gabriel Torres scored the game’s only goal for Panama early in the second half, firing home from inside the box.

Canada, who made seven changes to the line-up from Sunday’s game, thought they had equalized through Cyle Larin’s header but it was ruled offside after a video review.

“For these boys this has been one hell of a journey,” said Canada head coach John Herdman.

“We’re here, top of the group. … And we’re off to Qatar, that’s all we dreamed of, as the champions of CONCACAF.”

The United States, Mexico and Canada will jointly host the 2026 World Cup.

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