Analyzing Group A Qualifying Scenarios Ahead Of Final Third Round Match Day

Jamie Sabau - Getty Images

The United States will qualify for the next round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying if they don't lose to Guatemala. Simple enough.

Ahead of tomorrow's final day of the third round of CONCACAF 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, let's look over the qualifying scenarios for Group A. Mexico has already qualified for the Hex, but five other spots remain open.

The United States will qualify for the next round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying if they don't lose to Guatemala. At ten points and Jamaica three points behind, there's no way the Reggae Boys can catch the US if they gain at least a point in the match against Guatemala.

Jamaica could also make the result irrelevant should they lose or draw against Antigua & Barbuda. Should Jamaica win and the US lose, the US will still advance if the combined goal difference for the two matches is two as that would push the US through on goal differential. Even if Jamaica catches the US on goal differential, the US could still advance on Goals For if Jamaica fail to outscore the US by at least four goals.

Guatemala is a bit of an underdog, as they have to play on the road while the US and Jamaica host their matches. Like the US, the qualify if they aren't defeated or if Jamaica lose to Antigua & Barbuda. Guatemala's goal differential is also +3 and their Goals For is also 8 so they have the exact same qualifying scenarios as the US should Guatemala lose and Jamaica win.

Jamaica are in the and category, not controlling their fate. They only advance if they defeat Antigua & Barbuda and the US and Guatemala don't draw, and they pass the losing team in either Goal Differential or if they pull even on Goal Differential then pass the loser on Goals For.

Now, there is the possibility that Jamaica and Guatemala could be forced into a one match playoff. If the US beats Guatemala and Jamaica beat Antigua and Barbuda and the combined Goal Differential is three and Jamaica outscore Guatemala by three goals.

The US and Jamaica are tied in the head to head, just like Jamaica and Guatemala. However, by virtue of the US having one away goal in their series, the US would win the tiebreaker in that scenario. Jamaica and Guatemala have one away goal each in their series, exhausting all the tiebreakers and forcing the one match playoff.

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