Race to Russia tightens for Canada

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team canada soccer

The race to Russia has tightened after Mexico clinched a spot in the CONCACAF “Hex” with a 2:0 Tuesday home win over Canada in the CONCACAF semi-final stage.

Honduras, Canada, and El Salvador all remain in striking distance of the group’s second spot, with matches in September 2016 to decide which Group A nation joins Mexico in the six-nation, CONCACAF 2016-17 Final Stage.

Mexico scored twice in the first half to the delight of a packed Azteca crowd, with Andres Guardado scoring on a penalty and Juan Manuel Corona scoring on the final play of the first half. Canada then put forth a collective and positive performance for the last 45 minutes, closing down the Mexico offence.

With 12 points, Mexico is the first CONCACAF nation to book a spot in the Hex, also the only nation with a perfect record after four matches. Honduras is second with four points (-1 goal difference), Canada is in third also with four points (-3 goal difference), while El Salvador is in last place with two points (-5 goal difference).

Canada will face Honduras on Match Day 5 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 2 September 2016. Canada then faces El Salvador at home on 6 September (location TBD).

Two nations from each of three groups will advance to the CONCACAF Final Round, otherwise known as the “Hex”. In Group B, Costa Rica is in first place with 10 points (+5), Panama is in second place with seven points (+2), Jamaica is in third place with four points (-4), and Haiti is in fourth place with one point (-3). In Group C, Trinidad and Tobago are in first place (10 points / +8), USA are in second place (7 points / +7), and Guatemala are in third place (6 points / +1). Last-place St. Vincent & the Grenadines (0 points / -16) have been eliminated.

ROAD TO THE 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is the biggest single-sport event in the world. From 209 member associations from around the world, 32 finalists will qualify for the 32-day event that is played in 11 cities from 14 June to 15 July 2018.

Canada are amongst the 11 CONCACAF nations in the hunt for a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. The remaining nations have been split into three groups for the continent’s 2015-2016 semi-final stage. The top-two nations in each group will advance to the final round in 2017, from which three nations qualify for Russia 2018 and the fourth team advances to an intercontinental playoff.

In CONCACAF Round 4, Canada will play six matches, with both a home and away encounter against Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico. Matches will be played over three international windows, with Canada gaining a valuable four points after the first two matches with a victory over Honduras (1:0) at home on 15 November 2015 and a draw in El Salvador (0:0) on 17 November 2015.

Following these two matches in March, Canada now looks ahead to an away match against Honduras on 2 September and a home match against El Salvador on 6 September (location TBD).

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