World Cup Qualifying – Mexico favored in do-or-die match

World Cup Qualifying – Mexico favored in do-or-die match

World Cup Qualifying – Mexico favored in do-or-die match
By: The Linemakers

Their World Cup chances on the line, Mexico is a 1.5-goal favorite for Friday’s clash against Panama, according to odds released by the LVH Super Book.

Mexico sits tied with Panama for fourth place in CONCACAF qualifying, but they are behind on the goals-scored tiebreaker. Anything short of a victory Friday would leave Mexico without control of their destiny headed into their final group game, against Costa Rica.

It would also put Mexico into the strange position of having to root for its arch-rival, the United States, who face Panama on the road for their final game. The USA has clinched a World Cup berth last month when they defeated Mexico, 2-0, in Columbus, Ohio.

Mexico already faces an uphill battle, as the fourth spot, which only guarantees a home-and-home playoff with Oceana winner New Zealand for a World Cup berth, is likely the best it can hope for unless Honduras falls flat on its face in its final two games.

Mexico and Panama finished in a 0-0 draw in their previous qualification battle back in June. The countries did meet twice in Gold Cup, with Panama winning both contests, but Mexico did not have its “A” team in the tournament as it will for Friday night’s game.

El Tri has players back

After the tumultuous run of Jose Manuel “Chepo” De Torre, Mexico has moved on to manager Victor Manuel Vucetich. While it’s questionable how much difference a manager can make with in-game tactics, Vucetich has brought veteran defender Rafa Marquez and Mexico’s top goalie Guillermo Ochoa back into the fold. But Carlos Vela, arguably El Tri’s best player, declined his call-up from the squad.

USA heavy favorites

The United States is a solid 1.5-goal favorite for Friday’s World Cup qualifying match against Jamaica. The USA picked up a thrilling 2-1 victory in Kingston earlier this year in qualifying.

Despite having already qualified for the World Cup, the USA is still bringing in most of its first-team unit. Jozy Altidore and Landon Donovan are among the starters called in, though the team will be without Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey due to injury.

Honduras a chance to clinch

The other match Friday features Honduras hosting the already-clinched Costa Rica. Honduras can lock up a top-three spot, and thus automatic World Cup qualification, with a victory. Honduras is a slight favorite for the game at -125 on the money line.

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