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US qualifies, Mexico and Honduras set for showdown
The United States made sure of a place at their fourth successive World Cup while Mexico and Honduras set up a dramatic showdown as the CONCACAF qualifying competition threw up more dramatic twists on Sunday.
The United States recovered from a dramatic slump to beat Jamaica 2-1 and shortly after leaving the field discovered that they had qualified thanks to Honduras' shock 1-0 home defeat by lowly Trinidad, who had not won in eight previous outings.
The US are second in the final round of the CONCACAF qualifying competition with 16 points, followed by Mexico and Honduras who both have 14 with one match each left.
Mexico drew 0-0 away to Costa Rica, who have 20 points and have already qualified.
The top three teams qualify but as Mexico and Honduras meet each other in their last game, the US can no longer be caught by both.
Mexico, who have home advantage, need only to draw next month as they have a better goal difference.
Honduras' form has been topsy-turvy throughout the qualifying competition, ranging from Sunday's loss to Trinidad to a stunning win away to the United States and a five-goal demolition of their arch-rivals El Salvador.
On Sunday, they dominated the first half of their game in San Pedro Sula but were unable to convert their chances into goals against a team who had managed only one point in eight games.
The knockout punch came in the 61st minute when Stern John won the ball on the left, raced into the penalty area and blasted the ball past Noel Valladares to dent Honduras' chances of adding to their only previous World Cup appearance in 1982.
Mexico, who have had a torrid time in the competition, were happy to settle for a point in San Jose against a team who had inflicted their first-ever qualifying defeat in the Azteca stadium earlier in the tournament.
Costa Rica, who reached the second round on their only previous World Cup appearance in 1990, had the better chances and Mexico goalkeeper Oscar Perez repeatedly came to his team's rescue.
The US, who had lost their last three games to Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica, sealed victory with two goals from Joe- Max Moore in the fourth and 81st minutes, the second from the penalty spot.
James Lawrence hit back for Jamaica in the 14th minute but the Reggae Boyz, who have eight points, had needed a win to keep alive any chance of repeating 1998, when they qualified for the first time.
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