North, Central American and Caribbean nations at the FIFA World Cup
Association football is the most popular sport in nearly every North, Central American and Caribbean country, and 10 members of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, CONCACAF, have competed at the sport's biggest event – the men's FIFA World Cup.
- 1 Summary of performance
- 2 Overview
- 3 Competitive record
- 3.1 1930s: The best USA performance at the FIFA World Cup
- 3.2 1934: The only one World Cup match
- 3.3 1938: Cuba reaches the Quarter-final
- 3.4 1950: The Miracle Match
- 3.5 1954: The short World Cup
- 3.6 1958: Mexico's desire to host the World Cup
- 3.7 1962: Mexico's first victory at the World Cup
- 3.8 1966: Mexico drew twice but eliminated
- 3.9 1970: North America hosts the World Cup, El Salvador's first World Cup
- 3.10 1974: Haiti's first World Cup
- 3.11 1978: Mexico's early exit
- 3.12 1982: Honduras' first World Cup
- 3.13 1986: The second World Cup in Mexico, Mexican wave, Canada's debut
- 3.14 1990: United States returns to the World Cup, Costa Rica reaches the Round of 16
- 3.15 1994: United States hosts the World Cup
- 3.16 1998: Jamaica's first World Cup
- 3.17 2002: The North American derby
- 3.18 2006: Trinidad and Tobago debut at the World Cup
- 3.19 2010: Honduras returned to the World Cup
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Summary of performance
This table shows for each world cup the number of countries at the World Cup, the number of entries (#E) from around the world including any rejections and withdrawals, the number of South American entries (#A), how many of those North, Central American and Caribbean entries withdrew (#A-) before/during qualification or were rejected by FIFA, the North, Central American and Caribbean representatives at the World Cup finals, the number of World Cup Qualifiers each North, Central American and Caribbean representative had to play to get to the World Cup (#WCQ), the furthest stage they reached, their results, and their coaches.
|Year||Host||Size||#E||#A||#A-||North, Central American and Caribbean finalists||#WCQ||Stage||Results||Coach|
|1930||Uruguay||13||0||0||0||Mexico||13||R1||lost 1–4 France, lost 0–3 Chile, lost 3–6 Argentina||Juan Luque de Serralonga|
|United States||13||3 place||won 3–0 Belgium, won 3–0 Paraguay
SF: lost 1–6 Argentina
|1934||Italy||16||32||4||0||United States||16||R1||lost 1–7 Italy||Felipe Pascucci|
|1938||France||16||34||5||4||Cuba||16||QF||drew 3–3 (a.e.t.) Romania, replay match won 2–1 Romania
QF: lost 0–8 Sweden
|1950||Brazil||15||34||3||0||Mexico||15||R1||lost 0–4 Brazil, lost 1–4 Yugoslavia, lost 1–2 Switzerland||Octavio Vial|
|United States||15||R1||lost 1–3 Spain, won 1–0 England, lost 2–5 Chile||William Jeffrey|
|1954||Switzerland||16||45||3||0||Mexico||16||R1||lost 0–5 Brazil, lost 2–3 France||Antonio López Herranz|
|1958||Sweden||16||55||6||0||Mexico||16||R1||lost 0–3 Sweden, drew 1–1 Wales, lost 0–4 Hungary||Antonio López Herranz|
|1962||Chile||16||56||8||1||Mexico||16||R1||lost 0–2 Brazil, lost 0–1 Spain, won 3–1 Czechoslovakia||Ignacio Tréllez|
|1966||England||16||74||9||0||Mexico||16||R1||drew 1–1 France, lost 0–2 England, drew 0–0 Uruguay||Ignacio Tréllez|
|1970||Mexico||16||75||12||0||Mexico||16||QF||drew 0–0 Soviet Union, won 4–0 El Salvador, won 1–0 Belgium
QF: lost 1–4 Italy
|El Salvador||16||R1||lost 0–3 Belgium, lost 0–4 Mexico, lost 0–2 Soviet Union||Hernán Carrasco Vivanco|
|1974||West Germany||16||99||14||1||Haiti||16||R1||lost 1–3 Italy, lost 0–7 Poland, lost 1–4 Argentina||Antoine Tassy|
|1978||Argentina||16||107||16||0||Mexico||16||R1||lost 1–3 Tunisia, lost 0–6 Germany, lost 1–3 Poland||José Antonio Roca|
|1982||Spain||24||109||15||0||Honduras||24||R1||drew 1–1 Spain, drew 1–1 Northern Ireland, lost 0–1 Yugoslavia||José de la Paz Herrera|
|El Salvador||24||R1||lost 1–10 Hungary, lost 0–1 Belgium, lost 0–2 Argentina||Pipo Rodríguez|
|1986||Mexico||24||121||16||3||Mexico||24||QF||won 2–1 Belgium, drew 1–1 Paraguay, won 1–0 Iraq
Round of 16: won 2–0 Bulgaria
QF: lost 0–0 (pen. 1–4) Germany
|Canada||24||R1||lost 0–1 France, lost 0–2 Hungary, lost 0–2 Soviet Union||Tony Waiters|
|1990||Italy||24||116||16||2||Costa Rica||24||Round of 16||won 1–0 Scotland, lost 0–1 Brazil, won 2–1 Sweden
Round of 16: lost 1–4 Czechoslovakia
|United States||24||R1||lost 1–5 Czechoslovakia, lost 0–1 Italy, lost 1–2 Austria||Bob Gansler|
|1994||USA||24||147||23||1||Mexico||24||Round of 16||lost 0–1 Norway, won 2–1 Republic of Ireland, drew 1–1 Italy
Round of 16: lost 1–1 (pen. 1–3) Bulgaria
|Miguel Mejía Barón|
|United States||24||Round of 16||drew 1–1 Switzerland, won 2–1 Colombia, lost 0–1 Romania
Round of 16: lost 0–1 Brazil
|1998||France||32||174||30||1||Mexico||32||Round of 16||won 3–1 South Korea, drew 2–2 Belgium, drew 2–2 Netherlands
Round of 16: lost 1–2 Germany
|Jamaica||32||R1||lost 0–1 Croatia, lost 0–5 Argentina, won 2–1 Japan||Renê Simões|
|United States||32||R1||lost 0–2 Germany, lost 1–2 Iran, lost 0–1 Yugoslavia||Steve Sampson|
|32||199||35||1||Costa Rica||32||R1||won 2–0 China PR, drew 1–1 Turkey, lost 2–5 Brazil||Alexandre Guimarães|
|Mexico||32||Round of 16||won 1–0 Croatia, won 2–1 Ecuador, drew 1–1 Italy
Round of 16: lost 0–2 United States
|United States||32||QF||won 3–2 Portugal, drew 1–1 South Korea, lost 1–3 Poland
Round of 16: won 2–0 Mexico
QF: lost 0–1 Germany
|2006||Germany||32||197||35||1||Costa Rica||32||R1||lost 2–4 Germany, lost 0–3 Ecuador, lost 1–2 Poland||Alexandre Guimarães|
|Trinidad and Tobago||32||R1||drew 1–1 Sweden, lost 0–2 England, lost 0–2 Paraguay||Leo Beenhakker|
|Mexico||32||Round of 16||won 3–1 Iran, drew 0–0 Angola, lost 1–2 Portugal
Round of 16: lost 1–2 (a.e.t.) Argentina
|United States||32||R1||lost 0–3 Czech Republic, drew 1–1 Italy, lost 1–2 Ghana||Bruce Arena|
|2010||South Africa||32||205||35||0||Honduras||32||R1||lost 0–1 Chile, lost 0–2 Spain, drew 0–0 Switzerland||Reinaldo Rueda|
|Mexico||32||Round of 16||drew 1–1 South Africa, won 2–0 France, lost 0–1 Uruguay
Round of 16: lost 1–3 Argentina
|United States||32||Round of 16||drew 1–1 England, drew 2–2 Slovenia, won 1–0 Algeria
Round of 16: lost 1–2 (a.e.t.) Ghana
|2014||Brazil||32||203||35||1||Costa Rica||32||QF||won 3–1 Uruguay, won 1–0 Italy, drew 0–0 England, won 1–1 (pen. 5–3) Greece, lost 0–0 (pen. 3–4) Netherlands||Jorge Luis Pinto|
|Honduras||32||R1||lost 0–3 France, lost 1–2 Ecuador, lost 0–3 Switzerland||Luis Fernando Suárez|
|United States||32||Round of 16||won 2–0 Ghana, drew 2–2 Portugal, lost 0–1 Germany, lost 1–2 (a.e.t.) Belgium||Jürgen Klinsmann|
|Mexico||32||Round of 16||won 1–0 Cameroon, drew 0–0 Brazil, won 3–1 Croatia, lost 1–2 Netherlands||Miguel Herrera|
||1930, 1934, 1950, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014||3rd|
||1990, 2002, 2006, 2014||QF|
||1982, 2010, 2014||R1|
|Trinidad and Tobago||
1930s: The best USA performance at the FIFA World Cup
Two teams from North America entered the tournament. The United States dominated the fourth group. The first World Cup match USA national soccer team beat 3–0 Belgium national football team. American goalkeeper Jimmy Douglas posted the first official "clean sheet" in the tournament. They beat their first opponents, Belgium, 3–0. The ease of the victory was unexpected; Uruguayan newspaper Imparcial wrote that "the large score of the American victory has really surprised the experts". The group's second match, played in windy conditions, witnessed the first tournament hat-trick, scored by Bert Patenaude of the United States against Paraguay. Mexico national football team lost all three games and early ending championship.
The four group winners, Argentina, Yugoslavia, Uruguay and the United States. The first semi-final was played between the USA and Argentina. A Monti goal halfway through the first half gave Argentina a 1–0 half-time lead. In the second half the strength of the United States team was overwhelmed by the pace of the Argentinian attacks, the match finishing 6–1 to Argentina.
The now-traditional third place playoff was not established until 1934. A FIFA technical committee report on the 1986 World Cup included full retrospective rankings of all teams at all previous World Cup finals; this report ranked the United States third.
1934: The only one World Cup match
32 countries applied to enter the tournament, so qualifying matches were required to thin the field to 16. CONCACAF nation Haiti first round played against Cuba in three matches at home. The winner would advance to the Second Round. Haiti twice loss and drew. Cuba advanced to the Second Round. Mexico advanced to the Final Round, some three times defeated Cuba. The place in the final tournament was contested between the United States and Mexico only three days before the start of the tournament in a one-off match in Rome, which the United States won.
Championships U.S. team goes only 1 match. Hosts and favourites Italy won handsomely, defeating the USA 7–1; the New York Times correspondent wrote that "only the fine goal-tending of Julius Hjulian of Chicago kept the score as low as it was".
1938: Cuba reaches the Quarter-final
It was originally intended that the World Cup would be held alternately between the continents of South America and Europe. However Jules Rimet, the creator of the World Cup, convinced FIFA to hold the competition in France, his home country. Because of this controversy, many American countries, including Argentina (the most likely hosts if the event was held in South America), Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Dutch Guiana, Uruguay, and the United States all withdrew or refused to enter so Cuba qualified automatically.
Five of the first round matches required extra time to break the deadlock; two games still went to a replay. In one replay, Cuba advanced to the next round at the expense of Romania 2–1. Sweden advanced directly to the quarter-finals as a result of Austria's withdrawal, and they proceeded to beat Cuba 8–0.
1950: The Miracle Match
In the 1950 World Cup qualification participated only three country of CONCACAF. Mexico and the United States qualified. United States defeated England 1–0 in a group match. England were heavy favorites, whereas the U.S. team was composed of part-time players who had been hastily assembled. Joe Gaetjens scored the game's only goal. Legend has it that the result was so unexpected that British newspapers reported the scoreline as 10–0 in favor of England. Later lost the other two matches: 1–3 Spain and 2–5 Chile. Mexico lost all three matches and together withdrew from the World Cup.
1954: The short World Cup
In the 1954 World Cup qualification participated only three country of CONCACAF. Mexico qualified. The 1954 tournament used a unique format. The sixteen qualifying teams were divided into four groups of four teams each. Mexico lost both games and withdrew from the World Cup. At the rankings for the 1954 tournament Mexico were thirteen.
1958: Mexico's desire to host the World Cup
Mexico expressed interest in hosting the tournament. But Sweden became host nation. Swedish delegates lobbied other countries at the FIFA Congress held in Rio de Janeiro around the opening of the 1950 World Cup finals. In the 1958 World Cup qualification participated six country of CONCACAF. Mexico qualified. Mexico drew 1–1 Wales and won the first point in World Cup history. The match between Hungary and Mexico in Sandviken became the northern-most World Cup match in history. With a one-point remained in fourth place in the group and withdraw. At the ranking remained the last sixteenth.
1962: Mexico's first victory at the World Cup
In the 1962 World Cup qualification participated seven country of CONCACAF. Mexico won CONCACAF qualification and advanced to the CONMEBOL/CCCF/NAFC Intercontinental Play-off. Sum of the two matches will beat Paraguay 1–0 and qualified fourth consecutive World Cup. In group lost 0–2 Brazil, 0–1 Spain. 1962 7 June historic day for Mexican football. Mexico won first World Cup game 3–1 Czech Republic. With a two-point remained in third place in the group and withdraw. At the ranking remained the eleventh.
1966: Mexico drew twice but eliminated
In the 1966 World Cup qualification participated nine country of CONCACAF. Mexico won CONCACAF qualification and qualified fifth consecutive World Cup. In group stage drew 1–1 France, lost 0–2 host England, drew 0–0 Uruguay. This was the second time in a row took the 3rd place in the group. At the ranking remained the twelfth.
1970: North America hosts the World Cup, El Salvador's first World Cup
The 1970 FIFA World Cup, the ninth staging of the World Cup, was held in Mexico, from 31 May to 21 June. The 1970 tournament was the first World Cup hosted in North America, and the first held outside South America and Europe. Mexico was chosen as the host nation by FIFA in Tokyo, Japan on 8 October 1964, over opposition from Argentina. In the 1970 World Cup qualification participated twelve country of CONCACAF. In Group 1, hosts Mexico lived up to the expectations of an entire nation by advancing along with the Soviet Union. This was the first time in seven World Cup tournaments that Mexico had progressed from the initial stage. Mexico drew 0–0 USSR, won 4–0 El Salvador, won 1–0 Belgium. El Salvador lost all 3 games and misses goals. At the ranking remained the last sixteenth. The quarter-finals saw a transformed Italy prevail 4–1 over Mexico after trailing 0–1. The host took the lead against Italy with a José González goal, but his team-mate Gustavo Pena equalised with an own goal before half-time. Italy then took over, and dominated the second half. Two goals from Luigi Riva and one from Gianni Rivera saw them go through 4–1. At the ranking remained the sixth place.
1974: Haiti's first World Cup
The North, Central American and Caribbean zone was allocated 1 place (out of 16) in the World Cup. In the 1974 World Cup qualification participated 13 country of CONCACAF. Haiti became winners for the first time in the CONCACAF region and qualified for West Germany '74. Haiti didn't do particularly well in their first World Cup finals (losing all three of their games) they did have one moment of glory. In their opening game against Italy, they managed to take the lead with a goal from Emmanuel Sanon, before eventually losing 3–1 (Italy had not conceded a goal in 12 international matches). That goal proved to be a significant goal as it ended Dino Zoff's run of 1142 minutes without conceding a goal. At the ranking remained the 15 place.
1978: Mexico's early exit
The North, Central American and Caribbean zone was allocated 1 place (out of 16) in the World Cup. In the 1978 World Cup qualification participated 16 country of CONCACAF. Mexico became winners in the CONCACAF region and qualified in Argentina '78. Mexico suffered an early exit after three defeats: 0–6 against West Germany, 1–3 against Tunisia, and 1–3 to Poland. At the ranking remained the last 16 place.
1982: Honduras' first World Cup
For the first time, the World Cup finals expanded from 16 to 24 teams. The North, Central American and Caribbean zone was allocated two places (out of 24) in the final tournament. A total of 15 CONCACAF teams entered the qualification. This edition was marked by an upset as Mexico, traditional CONCACAF heavyweights and needing a win to go through, were eliminated by Honduras. The 0–0 tie between Mexico and Honduras qualified El Salvador to participate in the World Cup as the CONCACAF runner-ups. El Salvador also became the first Central American team to qualify for more than one World Cup (a record that has been broken by Costa Rica). El Salvador in their first match on June 15 in Elche, they were defeated 10–1 by Hungary, a scoreline that stands as a World Cup record to this day. One comfort was that Luis Baltazar Ramírez Zapata scored the country's first World Cup goal during the game, albeit at a point when the Salvadorans were already down 5–0. El Salvador managed to regain some pride in their subsequent games: displaying much-improved levels of organisation and commitment, they lost 1–0 to Belgium on June 19 in Elche and 2–0 to the then-reigning world champions, Argentin, in Alicante on June 23. At the ranking remained the last 24 place. Honduras getting draws against host Spain, 1–1, and Northern Ireland, 1–1, they could not come up with a win against Yugoslavia losing 0–1. At the ranking remained the 18 place.
1986: The second World Cup in Mexico, Mexican wave, Canada's debut
The 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico. Colombia was originally chosen as hosts by FIFA in June 1974. However, the Colombian authorities eventually declared in November 1982 that they could not afford to host the World Cup under the terms that FIFA demanded because of economic concerns. Mexico was selected on 20 May 1983 as the replacement hosts, beating the bids of Canada and the United States (who eventually hosted the 1994 World Cup), and became the first nation to host two World Cups. The 1986 World Cup saw the appearance of the phenomenon dubbed the Mexican wave, which was popularised world-wide after featuring during the tournament. The North, Central American and Caribbean zone was allocated 2 places (out of 24) in the final tournament. Mexico, the World Cup host, qualified automatically. A total of 16 CONCACAF teams entered the qualification. Canada earned clinched qualification on 14 September 1985 to participate in their first ever World Cup after beating Honduras 2–1. In Group B Mexico beat Belgium 2–1, and despite being held 1–1 by Paraguay, they won the group after a further win over Iraq, 1–0. With this performance, Mexico won the top spot in its group and advanced to the next round where Mexico faced Bulgaria in a 2–0 win. In the quarter-finals stage, Mexico lost to West Germany 0–0 (1–4 pens). As a curiosity, the German goal-keeper Harald Schumacher jumped to the right in the three Mexican penalties (stopping two of them). At the ranking remained the 6 place. At the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Canada impressed defensively in their first game, allowing few chances and conceding a late Jean-Pierre Papin goal to lose to France 0–1. They lost their next two matches to both Hungary and the USSR 0–2, however, to finish at the bottom of their group. At the ranking remained the last 24 place.
1990: United States returns to the World Cup, Costa Rica reaches the Round of 16
A total of 16 CONCACAF teams entered the qualification. Mexico was disqualified from the 1990 FIFA World Cup (and any other international competition) after using players over the age limit allowed by FIFA in the qualifying round for the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship. The punishment originally was only going to be applied to the FIFA World Youth team and not the World Cup or Olympic Games team, but the penalty was applied to all Mexican national representatives of all FIFA sanctioned tournaments. Costa Rica along with the United States, qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Costa Rica qualified the first time. Returning after long absences were the United States, who competed for the first time since 1950. For the 1990 World Cup in Italy, two of the team's more experienced players, Rick Davis and Hugo Perez, were recovering from serious injuries and unavailable for selection, and manager Bob Gansler selected many inexperienced players and recent college graduates. The U.S. lost all three games to Czechoslovakia, Italy and Austria. At the ranking remained the 23 place. Costa Rica beat Scotland 1–0 in their first match, lost 1–0 to Brazil in their second, then saw off Sweden 2–1 to claim a place in the second round. Costa Rica were comfortably beaten 4–1 by Czechoslovakia. At the ranking remained the 12 place.
1994: United States hosts the World Cup
The 1994 FIFA World Cup was held in nine cities across the United States. The United States was chosen as the host by FIFA on 4 July 1988. Average attendance was 69,000, a record which still stands today (no other FIFA World Cup has exceeded 53,000 average attendance). The total attendance of nearly 3.6 million for the final tournament remains the highest in World Cup history, despite the expansion of the competition from 24 to 32 teams (and from 52 to 64 matches) in the 1998 World Cup. A total of 23 CONCACAF teams entered the qualification. The North, Central American and Caribbean zone was allocated 2.25 places (out of 24) in the final tournament. In the final Round Mexico qualified as the first team, Canada advanced to the CONCACAF–OFC play-off. The aggregate score was tied at 3–3, however Australiaadvanced 4–1 on penalties. U.S. opened its tournament schedule with a 1–1 draw against Switzerland in the Pontiac Silverdome in the suburbs of Detroit, the first World Cup game played indoors. In its second game, the U.S. faced Colombia, then ranked fourth in the world, at the Rose Bowl. Aided by an own goal from Andrés Escobar, the United States won 2–1. (Escobar was later murdered in his home country, possibly in retaliation for this mistake. ) Despite a 1–0 loss to Romania in its final group game, the U.S. made it to the knockout round for the first time since 1930. The hosts advanced to the second round as one of the best third-place teams. They played and, despite a 1–0 defeat,to the eventual champion Brazil. United States' performance was considered a great success . At the ranking remained the 14 place. Mexico went on to win group on tiebreakers, emerging to the eventual champion Brazilfrom the tournament's "Group of death", composed of Mexico, Italy, Ireland, and Norway. However, Mexico eventually lost 1–1 (pen. 1–3) in the second round to Bulgaria. Miguel Mejía Barón led this team into one of its most distinguished performances in a World Cup. At the ranking remained the 13 place.
1998: Jamaica's first World Cup
For the first time in the competition, the group-stages were expanded from 24 teams to 32. CONCACAF zone determine the three CONCACAF representatives at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. A total of 30 CONCACAF teams entered the competition. Mexico, the United States, and Jamaica qualified for the World Cup. Jamaica qualified first time for the World Cup. Jamaica ended in Group H, along with Argentina, Croatia, and Japan. Their first game was a 3–1 defeat to Croatia in Lens, with Robbie Earle scoring Jamaica's goal. It was followed by a 5–0 defeat to Argentina at Paris' Parc des Princes. Jamaica ended its participation with a 2–1 victory over Japan in Lyon, with Theodore Whitmore scoring both goals. The team finished 22nd out of the 32 teams. In the 1998 World Cup in France, USA team lost all three group matches, 2–0 to Germany, 2–1 to Iran, and 1–0 to Yugoslavia, and so finished in last place in its group and 32nd in the field of 32. Head coach Steve Sampson received much of the blame for the performance as a result of abruptly cutting team captain John Harkes, whom Sampson had ironically named "Captain for Life" shortly before, as well as several other players who were instrumental to the qualifying effort, from the squad. It emerged in February 2010 that Sampson removed Harkes from the team due to Harkes allegedly having an affair with teammate Eric Wynalda's wife. Mexico was placed in Group E, with the Netherlands, Korea Republic and Belgium. Mexico started against Korea Republic losing 0–1 but came back to win 3–1. Belgium had started beating Mexico 2–0 but they came back to tie 2–2. The third game against Netherlands ended in another 2–2 result which resulted in qualification to the Round of 16. In the next round, Mexico faced Germany. Although having the lead Mexico did not manage to hold onto it and lost the game 2–1. At the ranking remained the 13 place.
2002: The North American derby
A total of 35 CONCACAF teams entered the qualification. Mexico, the United States, and Costa Rica qualified for the World Cup. During the World Cup the results were mixed, losing to Brazil (tournament champion) 5–2 (only team to score 2 goals against Brazil at this World Cup), tying with Turkey (third in the championship) 1–1 and soundly beating the selection of China 2–0. This tournament it was in 3rd place in the group behind Turkey on goal difference. The team finished 19 out of the 32 teams. Mexico reached the finals and was placed in Group G alongside Italy, Croatia, and Ecuador. Mexico opened its participation with a 1–0 win over Croatia. In the second match, Mexico earned a 2–1 win over Ecuador with goals from Jared Borgetti and Gerardo Torrado. Mexico then achieved a 1–1 draw against Italy thanks to a goal from Borgetti that was regarded as one of the best of the tournament. The team reached the knockout stage after a 1–1–1 record in the group stage. It started with a surprising 3–2 win over Portugal, followed by a 1–1 tie with co-host and eventual fourth place finisher, South Korea. It then lost its third and final match 1–3 to Poland but still qualified for the second round when Park Ji-Sung of South Korea stunned Portugal with the eventual game-winning goal. This set the stage for a Second round face-off with familiar continental rivals Mexico. Although the teams had played many times in both friendlies and in qualifying, they had never met in the World Cup. The U.S. would win the game 2–0. Brian McBride opened the scoring early in the match and Landon Donovan scored a second goal from a header off an Eddie Lewis cross. Mexico finished 11 out of the 32 teams. United States advanced to the quarterfinals, where they met Germany. The team lost 1–0; after being denied a penalty when Torsten Frings handled the ball to prevent a Gregg Berhalter goal. At the ranking remained the 8 place.
2006: Trinidad and Tobago debut at the World Cup
A total of 34 teams took part competing for 3.5 places in the World Cup. Mexico, the United States, and Costa Rica qualified at once for the World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago advanced to the AFC-CONCACAF play-off. Trinidad and Tobago was awarded a place in 2006 FIFA World Cup after winning the playoff 2–1 on aggregate against Bahrain. Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the finals for the first time. Costa Rica made its debut in the opening match in Munich against the host Germany, losing the match 4–2. However, the good performance in that game did not translate over to the other games, where they fell 0–3 against Ecuador, and 1–2 against Poland. At the ranking remained the 31 place. Mexico was one of eight seeded teams in the first round at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Mexico was put in Group D with Iran, Angola and Portugal. Mexico won their opening match 3–1 against Iran, with two goals from Omar Bravo and one by Sinha. In their second match, Mexico played to a 0–0 draw against Angola. Mexico joined Portugal as a qualifier in the Round of 16, despite losing to the Portuguese 2–1. During the match, Bravo missed a penalty. In the second round, Mexico played against Argentina. Mexico scored in the 5th minute with a goal by captain Rafael Márquez assisted by Pável Pardo. Four minutes later, Argentina equalized the match thanks to an own goal from Jared Borgetti. The score remained 1–1 after ninety minutes, and in extra time, a volley by Maxi Rodríguez in the second period of extra time brought about a 2–1 win for Argentina. At the ranking remained the 15 place. U.S. was drawn into Group E along with the Czech Republic, Italy, and Ghana. The United States opened its tournament with a 3–0 loss to the Czech Republic. The team then drew 1–1 against Italy, thanks to an own goal from Zaccardo, ending up being the only opponent together along with France the Italian side failed to defeat in the tournament (officially, according to FIFA, France and Italy drew 1–1, although Italy won the tournament after a penalty shoot out). The United States was then knocked out of the tournament when beaten 2–1 by Ghana in its final group match, with Clint Dempsey scoring their only goal in the tournament. The team finished 25 out of the 32 teams.
2010: Honduras returned to the World Cup
A total of 35 teams took part competing for 3.5 places in the World Cup. Mexico, the United States, and Honduras qualified at once for the World Cup. The fourth place finisher, Costa Rica, played a two game playoff with the CONMEBOL fifth place finisher, Uruguay, for a possible fourth berth. Costa Rica lost 1–2 on aggregate and not qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. United States after tying (drawing) matches against England (1–1) and Slovenia (2–2), the US defeated Algeria through a Landon Donovan stoppage time goal and thus won the game, the first time that the USA has won its group since 1930. In the round of 16, the US lost to Ghana, with Ghana once again winning 2–1, thus resulting in the elimination of the USA from the World Cup. USA finished in 12th place. Mexico was drawn into Group A along with the host South Africa, France and Uruguay. In the first match of the tournament they drew 1–1 against the host South Africa with a late strike from Rafael Márquez. The second match was against France, whom they defeated 2–0 thanks to a strike from Javier Hernández and a penalty by Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who with this goal became the first Mexican player ever to score in three different World Cups. Their last group game was against Uruguay with both teams needing just a draw to advance however Mexico were defeated 1–0 but still advance to the Round of 16 thanks to a better goal differential than South Africa. In the second round, Mexico faced Argentina in a rematch of their Round of 16 loss at the hands of the Argentine team four years earlier. The Mexican team fell behind when a controversial goal was scored by Carlos Tevez in offside position, in which the Argentine team were clearly positioned offside, noticed by a linesman who urged the referee to discount the goal but it was declared a fair play. Gonzalo Higuaín scored later when Ricardo Osorio accidentally pushed the ball in front of Higuain while passing it to a teammate then tripping, giving Higuain a chance to go and score a second for Argentina. Tévez later on scored on a shot where he was not marked by anyone, giving Argentina a 3-goal lead before Javier Hernandez scored what was considered the best goal of the match, in which he took on 3 defenders before scoring between the post and the goalkeeper on the left edge of the box for what would be Mexico's only goal for the match. For the fifth straight World Cup, the Mexican team was eliminated in the Round of 16 as a result of their 1–3 defeat. The team finished 14 out of the 32 teams. Honduras faced Chile, Spain, and Switzerland, respectively. In their first match they lost to Chile 0–1 by a goal from Jean Beausejour. They faced Spain in the second match and lost 0–2 by 2 goals from David Villa. In their last match against Switzerland they got a draw and finished the World Cup with 1 point. The team finished 30 out of the 32 teams.
- It was originally intended that the World Cup would be held alternately between the continents of South America and Europe. However Jules Rimet, the creator of the World Cup, convinced FIFA to hold the competition in France, his home country. Because of this controversy, many American countries, including Argentina (the most likely hosts if the event was held in South America), Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Dutch Guiana, Uruguay, and the United States all withdrew or refused to enter.
- Canada withdrew before the qualification matches began.
- Jamaica withdrew.
- Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada withdrew.
- FIFA rejected the entry of Belize due to debts to FIFA.Mexico was disqualified for fielding over-aged players in a youth tournament.
- Cuba withdrew.
- Bermuda withdrew.
- Guyana were suspended by FIFA.
- Puerto Rico declined to participate.
- Bahamas withdrew from the tournament on 19 August 2011 and were not replaced
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- Norlin, pp.24–25
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