- Mexico and Costa Rica have top two spots wrapped up
- USA, Panama and Honduras in the hunt for final direct ticket
- Intercontinental play-off spot awaits fourth-placed side
After Costa Rica snatched the latest ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ with a last-gasp equaliser against Honduras, just 1.5 tickets remain from the CONCACAF region. Let FIFA.com guide you through the scenarios for the final day's three-horse race for qualification.
Who's already qualified?
Mexico, Costa Rica
Who are out of the picture?
Trinidad and Tobago
What’s at stake?
For the USA, two points clear of their rivals, the scenario begins simply: three points in Couva against Trinidad and Tobago sends them to Russia.
Defeat, meanwhile, opens the door to both Panama and Honduras, should either triumph against Costa Rica and Mexico respectively. If only one side capitalises on that slip-up, it will be the 1994 hosts finishing fourth. Should both of them do so, USA miss out on a World Cup for the first time since 1986,
The group at large could well hinge on goal difference. A seven- and 12-goal lead on each side means a US draw would technically give hope to the chasing pair, but only a slim one.
When it comes to separating the two sides locked on ten points, if Panama match Honduras’ result only a five-goal swing in goal difference in favour of Los Catrachos can prevent Panama coming out on top. As such, defeat for USA and Los Canaleros dropping points is Honduras' most likely chance of automatically making it three World Cup finals in a row.
What are the tie breakers?
Article 20.6 of the Regulations outlines what should happen should two teams or more finish level on points in more detail. Who finishes above will be decided by prioritising each of these criteria in order:
- Goal difference
- Goals scored
- Head-to-head points
- Head-to-head goal difference
- Head-to-head goals scored
- Head-to-head away goals
- Fair play points
- Drawing of lots
— #WCQ ⚽️ (@FIFAWorldCup) October 8, 2017