World Cup Qualifying in Concacaf came to an end for the 2022 cycle. Canada, Mexico and the U.S. men’s national team earned automatic qualification to Qatar after 14 matches that tested the might of each of the top nations in the region.
Canada emerges as Concacaf’s biggest success, in making its first world cup since 1986. However, Canada lost on Wednesday as Panama gave its all. Gabriel Torres scored early on in the second half, but the nail was already in the coffin for Panama, which was already eliminated from World Cup contention.
Mexico left no doubt with a 2-0 win over El Salvador at Estadio Azteca. First-half goals from Uriel Antuna and Raul Jimenez ensured El Tri an automatic playoff spot with no drama on the final night.
Look back on Wednesday’s final night of qualifying action with the Concacaf World Cup Qualifying Rewind.
Jamaica 2, Honduras 1
(Leon Bailey (pen) 39′, Ravel Morrison 45+2′) – (Angel Tejeda 18′)
Jamaica finished an incredibly disappointing qualifying cycle with a win over Honduras in Kingston. Ravel Morrison scored in first-half stoppage time to break a deadlock, and Jamaica defended well in the second half.
Jamaica got the job done with five shots on goal and held Honduras to only three shots on goal.
Both squads wrap up difficult qualifying cycles with this result. Honduras finished bottom of the table with only four points, while Jamaica buckled relative to expectations and finished sixth with 11 points.
Mexico 2, El Salvador 0
(Uriel Antuna 17′, Raul Jimenez 43′)
Mexico had all but qualified for the 2022 World Cup heading into the final match. El Tri utterly dominated El Salvador, despite scoring only two goals, with 18 shots and six on goal. El Salvador managed only seven shots with none on goal.
Uriel Antuna scored from a tight angle on a rebound off a corner kick to give Mexico the early advantage. Antuna showed his support for Tata Martino by hugging the Argentine manager during his goal celebration.
El Tri finishes an at-times tumultuous run through World Cup qualifying under Tata Martino. Calls for Martino to be fired came more than once as Mexico struggled in the middle of qualifying with losses to the USMNT, Canada and a draw at home to Costa Rica. Ultimately, Mexico’s quality remained and Martino has guided El Tri to its eighth World Cup in a row.
Panama 1, Canada 0
(Gabriel Torres 49′)
Despite losses in two of the last three qualifying matches, Canada is in the 2022 World Cup with absolutely no doubt about their dominance in Concacaf. John Herdman’s side surprised many with dominant performances through the cycle.
Panama came out swinging, showing its desperation. However, Los Canaleros were already eliminated from contention after a draw to Honduras in the previous match. Panama’s Gabriel Torres scored the winning goal in the 49th minute, on the same night he reached his 100th cap for Panama.
The Panamanian squad will leave World Cup qualifying wondering what could have been. A draw to Honduras in the second-to-last match of qualifying spoiled what could have been an incredible recovery. Panama surprised many with results like a draw against Mexico, but could not stay consistent enough to keep things even more interesting.