| MIAMI, Sept 12
MIAMI, Sept 12 Mexico booked their place in
CONCACAF's final phase of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup
with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica on Tuesday but the battle for the
other five slots remains wide open.
A goal on the hour from forward Javier Hernandez was enough
to secure a win at the Azteca Stadium for Mexico, who have won
all four of their games and lead Group B with 12 points.
'Chicharito' headed home a deep cross from Jorge Torres Nilo
to ensure Mexico maintained their 100 percent record and gave
the Manchester United striker his 26th goal in 41 national team
While Mexico are through with two games remaining in the
third qualifying phase, El Salvador, who won 3-2 in Guyana, are
on five points with Costa Rica on four and Guyana out of the
running on one.
Panama lead Group C on nine points after a 2-0 victory over
Canada with goals from Rolando Blackburn and Blas Perez.
The game was stopped after six minutes when stadium lighting
went out, and when action resumed after a 15 minute stoppage
Blackburn headed Panama in front in the 23rd minute and Perez
doubled the lead 12 minutes into the second half.
Honduras and Canada trail Panama by two points, while Cuba
are eliminated after failing to get a point, or score a goal, in
their four games so far.
Honduras, who qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South
Africa, have put themselves firmly back in the frame after
picking up six points from their two September games against
In-form Jerry Bengtson headed the only goal in the 32nd
minute from close range after some lovely work from Roger
It is tight at the top of Group A with Guatemala, the
United States and Jamaica all on seven points, with Antigua and
Barbuda struggling with just a point.
The United States recovered from their 2-1 defeat to Jamaica
in Kingston on Friday with a 1-0 win over the same opponents in
Columbus, Ohio, thanks to a 55th minute free-kick from Herculez
However, Juergen Klinsmann's team may have to win their
final game at home to Guatemala after the Central Americans
maintained their challenge with a 1-0 win in Antigua, Carlos
Ruiz scoring in the 25th minute at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
The top three teams from the final round of qualifying, a
round-robin involving the six sides that advance from the third
stage, will automatically qualify for the World Cup in Brazil.
The fourth-placed team will take part in a play-off against
the top team in the Oceania region.
(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Peter Rutherford)