In association football, the term Hexagonal (known in English as The Hex) is often used to refer to the final round of FIFA World Cup qualification among the six remaining teams in CONCACAF. The six-team round robin format has been used by CONCACAF since the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification process. It was modeled after the CONCACAF Championship which used the format ever since its second edition in 1965, and served as the World Cup qualifying tournament from 1974 to 1990.
United States vs. Mexico rivalry
The United States and Mexico have been the most successful teams in the Hexagonal, with Mexico qualifying for every World Cup since 1994. Indeed, the Mexico–United States soccer rivalry has been hotly contested during the Hexagonal. Matches between the two opponents hosted by Mexico often sell out the 100,000 seat Estadio Azteca in Mexico City; matches hosted in the United States are often held in cold northern cities such as Columbus, Ohio.
The first hexagonal round was played in 1997, between March 2 and November 16. Mexico topped the round robin undefeated, being the only team to do so. Jamaica qualified to their first (and so far, only) FIFA World Cup. It was Canada's only participation in the hexagonal round, and their last appearance at the final stage of a FIFA World Cup qualification.
|1||Mexico||10||4||6||0||23||7||+16||18||Qualification to 1998 FIFA World Cup||—||0–0||6–0||3–3||5–0||4–0|
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
The second edition of The Hex was played in 2001, between February 28 and November 11. It was topped by Costa Rica, who totaled a record 23 points. The Costa Ricans marked the first defeat Mexico has ever had at a World Cup qualification match at home soil, in a match known as El Aztecazo.
|1||Costa Rica||10||7||2||1||17||7||+10||23||Qualified to the 2002 FIFA World Cup||—||0–0||2–0||2–2||2–1||3–0|
|6||Trinidad and Tobago||10||1||2||7||5||18||−13||5||0–2||1–1||0–0||2–4||1–2||—|
|Trinidad and Tobago||10||4||1||5||10||15||−5||13||1–2||2–1||0–0||—||3–2||2–0|
- United States finished ahead of Mexico based on results between tied teams which were the first tiebreaker.
- Mexico, United States and Costa Rica directly advanced to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
- Trinidad and Tobago advanced to the AFC-CONCACAF play-off, where they would defeat Bahrain 2–1 on aggregate to advance to the World Cup.
The six teams that reached the fourth round formed one double-round-robin, home-and-away group nicknamed the "Hexagonal." The top three teams qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The fourth place team qualified for a home-and-away play-off against the fifth-place team from CONMEBOL.
|United States (Q)||10||6||2||2||19||13||+6||20||—||2–0||2–1||2–2||2–1||3–0|
|Costa Rica (A)||10||5||1||4||15||15||0||16||3–1||0–3||2–0||—||1–0||4–0|
|Trinidad and Tobago||10||1||3||6||10||22||−12||6||0–1||2–2||1–1||2–3||1–0||—|
(Q) The United States, Mexico and Honduras qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.; (A) Costa Rica advanced to the CONMEBOL–CONCACAF play-off..
In the fourth round, the three group winners and three runners-up from the third round competed in a double round robin, including a home and away match against the other five teams between 6 February and 15 October 2013. The draw for 'The Hex' was conducted by FIFA on 7 November 2012.
The top three teams qualified directly for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals, while the fourth-placed team will play a home-away series against New Zealand, the winner of Oceania. Teams are ranked first by total points in all games, then, if tied, by best goal differential in all games, then by total goals in all games. If still tied, the same criteria are applied to games among the tied teams.
|United States (Q)||10||7||1||2||15||8||+7||22||—||1–0||1–0||2–0||2–0||2–0|
|Costa Rica (Q)||10||5||3||2||13||7||+6||18||3–1||—||1–0||2–1||2–0||2–0|
(Q) Top three teams qualified directly for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.; (A) Fourth-placed team advanced to the CONCACAF v OFC play-off.
|1||Mexico||10||6||3||1||16||7||+9||21||Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup||—||2–0||1–0||3–0||1–1||3–1|
|4||Honduras||10||3||4||3||13||19||−6||13||Advance to inter-confederation play-offs||3–2||1–1||0–1||—||1–1||3–1|
|6||Trinidad and Tobago||10||2||0||8||7||19||−12||6||0–1||0–2||1–0||1–2||2–1||—|
- Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama qualified directly for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
- Honduras advanced to the CONCACAF–AFC playoff; they would be defeated by Australia 3–1 on aggregate.
- The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since the Hexagonal was introduced; they had qualified for every World Cup between 1990 and 2014.
|Team||First Place||Runner-up||Third Place||Fourth Place||Fifth Place||Sixth Place||Times|
|Mexico||2 (1998, 2018)||3 (2002, 2006, 2010)||1 (2014*^)||6|
|United States||3 (2006, 2010, 2014)||1 (1998)||1 (2002)||1 (2018)||5|
|Costa Rica||1 (2002)||2 (2014, 2018)||1 (2006)||2 (1998, 2010*)||4|
|Honduras||2 (2010, 2014)||2 (2002, 2018*)||2|
|Jamaica||1 (1998)||1 (2002)||1 (2014)||1|
|Panama||1 (2018)||1 (2014)||1 (2006)||1|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1 (2006*^)||3 (2002, 2010, 2018)||1|
|El Salvador||2 (1998, 2010)||0|
- * = The team qualified to Inter-confederation play-offs (Since 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualification, the 4th qualifies to play-offs).
- ^ = The team qualified to Inter-confederation play-offs and FIFA World Cup.
3 points per win, 1 point per draw and 0 points per loss.
|Trinidad and Tobago||40||8||6||26||32||74||–42||30||20||6||5||9||22||27||−5||23||20||2||1||17||10||47||−37||7|
- Most appearances: Costa Rica, Mexico and United States: 6.
- Most times qualified to FIFA World Cup: Mexico: 6.
- Most won matches: United States, 32.
- Most drawn matches: Mexico, 18.
- Most lost matches: Trinidad and Tobago, 26.
- Most goals scored: Mexico, 100.
- Most won matches in a tournament: Costa Rica (7 in 2002), Mexico (7 in 2006) and United States (7 in 2006, 2014).
- Fewest won matches in a tournament: Panama (0 in 2006) and Jamaica (0 in 2014).
- Most drawn matches in a tournament: Mexico, 6 (1998).
- Fewest drawn matches in a tournament: Trinidad and Tobago, 0 (2018).
- Most lost matches in a tournament: Panama, 8 (2006).
- Fewest lost matches in a tournament: Mexico, 0 (1998).
- Most points in a tournament: Costa Rica, 23 (2002).
- Fewest points in a tournament: Panama, 2 (2006).
- Most goals scored in a tournament: Mexico, 23 (1998).
- Fewest goals scored in a tournament: Panama, 4 (2006).
- Most goals covered in a tournament: Trinidad and Tobago, 22 (2010).
- Fewest goals covered in a tournament: United States, 6 (2006).
- Best goal difference in a tournament: Mexico, +16 (1998).
- Worst goal difference in a tournament: Panama, -17 (2006).
- Best result: Mexico 6-0 Jamaica (1998) and United States 6-0 Honduras (2018).
- Top scorer: Carlos Pavon, 12.
- Top scorer in a tournament: Carlos Hermosillo, 8 (1998).
- Hattricks and pokers:
|4||Francisco Fonseca||Mexico 5-2 Guatemala||2006|
|3||Carlos Hermosillo||Mexico 6-0 Jamaica||1998|
|3||Carlos Pavon||Honduras 3-1 Mexico||2002|
|3||Jozy Altidore||United States 3-0 Trinidad and Tobago||2010|
|3||Clint Dempsey||United States 6-0 Honduras||2018|
|1||Carlos Pavón||12||17||0.71||2002, 2010|
|2||Jozy Altidore||11||29||0.38||2010, 2014, 2018|
|3||Paulo Wanchope||10||20||0.50||1998, 2002, 2006|
|4||Carlo Costly||9||17||0.53||2010, 2014|
|Stern John||9||23||0.40||2002, 2006, 2010|
|Cuauhtémoc Blanco||8||19||0.42||1998, 2002, 2006, 2010|
|Álvaro Saborío||8||21||0.38||2006, 2010, 2014|
|Clint Dempsey||8||28||0.29||2006, 2010, 2014, 2018|
|10||Jared Borgetti||7||14||0.50||2002, 2006|
|Landon Donovan||7||26||0.27||2002, 2006, 2010, 2014|
|Bryan Ruiz||6||27||0.22||2010, 2014, 2018|
|Rolando Fonseca||5||16||0.31||1998, 2002, 2006|
|Michael Bradley||5||24||0.21||2010, 2014, 2018|
|Celso Borges||5||26||0.20||2010, 2014, 2018|
Top goalscorers by tournament
|2002|| Cuauhtémoc Blanco
|2014|| Carlo Costly
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