Hexagonal (CONCACAF)

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In association football, the term Hexagonal (known in English as The Hex[1]) is often used to refer to the final round of FIFA World Cup qualification among the six remaining teams in CONCACAF.[2] 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.

The United States, Mexico and Costa Rica have been present in every Hexagonal to date.[3] Mexico is the only national team that qualified for the FIFA World Cup in every Hexagonal.

The Hexagonal, or Hex for short, is named for the hexagon (a six sided shape) due to there being six teams remaining in the tournament at the time.[4]

United States vs. Mexico rivalry[edit]

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.

1998[edit]

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.[5] Jamaica qualified to their first (and so far, only) FIFA World Cup.[6] It was Canada's only participation in the hexagonal round, and their last appearance at the final stage of a FIFA World Cup qualification.[7]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1  Mexico 10 4 6 0 23 7 16 18
2  United States 10 4 5 1 17 9 8 17
3  Jamaica 10 3 5 2 7 12 –5 14
4  Costa Rica 10 3 3 4 13 12 1 12
5  El Salvador 10 2 4 4 11 16 –5 10
6  Canada 10 1 3 6 5 20 –15 6

2002[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9]


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
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
2  Mexico 10 5 2 3 16 9 +7 17 1–2 1–0 3–0 4–0 3–0
3  United States 10 5 2 3 11 8 +3 17 1–0 2–0 2–3 2–1 2–0
4  Honduras 10 4 2 4 17 17 0 14 2–3 3–1 1–2 1–0 0–1
5  Jamaica 10 2 2 6 7 14 −7 8 0–1 1–2 0–0 1–1 1–0
6  Trinidad and Tobago 10 1 2 7 5 18 −13 5 0–2 1–1 0–0 2–4 1–2

2006[edit]

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 United States 10 7 1 2 16 6 +10 22
 Mexico 10 7 1 2 22 9 +13 22
 Costa Rica 10 5 1 4 15 14 +1 16
 Trinidad and Tobago 10 4 1 5 10 15 −5 13
 Guatemala 10 3 2 5 16 18 −2 11
 Panama 10 0 2 8 4 21 −17 2
  Costa Rica Guatemala Mexico Panama Trinidad and Tobago United States
Costa Rica  3–2 1–2 2–1 2–0 3–0
Guatemala  3–1 0–2 2–1 5–1 0–0
Mexico  2–0 5–2 5–0 2–0 2–1
Panama  1–3 0–0 1–1 0–1 0–3
Trinidad and Tobago  0–0 3–2 2–1 2–0 1–2
United States  3–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 1–0
  • 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.

2010[edit]

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.

Team
Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 United States 10 6 2 2 19 13 +6 20
 Mexico 10 6 1 3 18 12 +6 19
 Honduras 10 5 1 4 17 11 +6 16
 Costa Rica 10 5 1 4 15 15 0 16
 El Salvador 10 2 2 6 9 15 −6 8
 Trinidad and Tobago 10 1 3 6 10 22 −12 6
  Costa Rica El Salvador Honduras Mexico Trinidad and Tobago United States
Costa Rica  1–0 2–0 0–3 4–0 3–1
El Salvador  1–0 0–1 2–1 2–2 2–2
Honduras  4–0 1–0 3–1 4–1 2–3
Mexico  2–0 4–1 1–0 2–1 2–1
Trinidad and Tobago  2–3 1–0 1–1 2–2 0–1
United States  2–2 2–1 2–1 2–0 3–0

2014[edit]

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.[10]

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.

Team
Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 United States 10 7 1 2 15 8 +7 22
 Costa Rica 10 5 3 2 13 7 +6 18
 Honduras 10 4 3 3 13 12 +1 15
 Mexico 10 2 5 3 7 9 −2 11
 Panama 10 1 5 4 10 14 −4 8
 Jamaica 10 0 5 5 5 13 −8 5
  Costa Rica Honduras Jamaica Mexico Panama United States
Costa Rica  1–0 2–0 2–1 2–0 3–1
Honduras  1–0 2–0 2–2 2–2 2–1
Jamaica  1–1 2–2 0–1 1–1 1–2
Mexico  0–0 1–2 0–0 2–1 0–0
Panama  2–2 2–0 0–0 0–0 2–3
United States  1–0 1–0 2–0 2–0 2–0
  Top three teams qualified directly for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
  Fourth-placed team advanced to the CONCACAF v OFC play-off

2018[edit]


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
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
2  Costa Rica 10 4 4 2 14 8 +6 16 1–1 0–0 1–1 4–0 2–1
3  Panama 10 3 4 3 9 10 −1 13 0–0 2–1 2–2 1–1 3–0
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
5  United States 10 3 3 4 17 13 +4 12 1–2 0–2 4–0 6–0 2–0
6  Trinidad and Tobago 10 2 0 8 7 19 −12 6 0–1 0–2 1–0 1–2 2–1
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
  • 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.

Records[edit]

Ranking teams[edit]

Team First Place Runner-up Third Place Fourth Place Fifth Place Sixth Place Times
Qualified
 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
 Guatemala 1 (2006) 0
 Canada 1 (1998) 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.

All-time table[edit]

3 points per win, 1 point per draw and 0 points per loss.

Team Totals Home Away
P W D L GF GA +/- Pts P W D L GF GA +/- Pts P W D L GF GA +/- Pts
 United States 60 32 14 14 95 57 +38 110 30 24 3 3 61 18 43 75 30 8 11 11 34 39 −5 35
 Mexico 60 30 18 12 102 53 +49 108 30 22 6 2 70 16 54 72 30 8 12 10 32 37 −5 36
 Costa Rica 60 29 14 17 87 63 +24 101 30 21 7 2 57 21 36 70 30 8 7 15 30 42 −12 31
 Honduras 40 16 10 14 60 59 1 58 20 11 4 5 38 22 16 37 20 5 6 9 22 37 −15 21
 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
 Jamaica 30 5 12 13 19 39 –20 27 15 4 7 4 11 11 0 19 15 1 5 9 8 28 −20 8
 Panama 30 4 11 15 23 45 –22 23 15 4 7 4 16 17 −1 19 15 0 4 11 7 28 −21 4
 El Salvador 20 4 6 10 20 31 –11 18 10 4 4 2 16 12 4 16 10 0 2 8 4 19 −15 2
 Guatemala 10 3 2 5 16 18 –2 11 5 3 1 1 10 5 5 10 5 0 1 4 6 13 −7 1
 Canada 10 1 3 6 5 20 –15 6 5 1 3 1 3 5 −2 6 5 0 0 5 2 15 −13 0

Team[edit]

  • 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).
  • Best goal difference in a tournament:  Mexico, +16 (1998).
  • Worst goal difference in a tournament:  Panama, -17 (2006).

Individual[edit]

#
goals
Player Match Qualification
4 Mexico Francisco Fonseca  Mexico 5-2  Guatemala 2006
3 Mexico Carlos Hermosillo  Mexico 6-0  Jamaica 1998
3 Honduras Carlos Pavon  Honduras 3-1  Mexico 2002
3 United States Jozy Altidore  United States 3-0  Trinidad and Tobago 2010
3 United States Clint Dempsey  United States 6-0  Honduras 2018

Top goalscorers[edit]

Rank Player Goals
scored
Matches
played
Goals
per game
Qualifications
1 Honduras Carlos Pavón 12 17 0.71 2002, 2010
2 United States Jozy Altidore 11 29 0.38 2010, 2014, 2018
3 Costa Rica Paulo Wanchope 10 20 0.50 1998, 2002, 2006
4 Honduras Carlo Costly 9 17 0.53 2010, 2014
Trinidad and Tobago Stern John 9 23 0.40 2002, 2006, 2010
6 Mexico Carlos Hermosillo 8 10 0.80 1998
Mexico Cuauhtémoc Blanco 8 19 0.42 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010
Costa Rica Álvaro Saborío 8 21 0.38 2006, 2010, 2014
United States Clint Dempsey 8 28 0.29 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018
10 Mexico Jared Borgetti 7 14 0.50 2002, 2006
United States Landon Donovan 7 26 0.27 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014
12 Mexico Francisco Fonseca 6 9 0.66 2006
Costa Rica Bryan Ruiz 6 27 0.22 2010, 2014, 2018
14 Mexico Benjamín Galindo 5 8 0.62 1998
Costa Rica Rolando Fonseca 5 16 0.31 1998, 2002, 2006
United States Michael Bradley 5 24 0.21 2010, 2014, 2018
Costa Rica Celso Borges 5 26 0.20 2010, 2014, 2018
United States Christian Pulisic 5 10 0.50 2018

Top goalscorers by tournament[edit]

Qualification Top scorer(s) Goals
France 1998 Mexico Carlos Hermosillo 8
South KoreaJapan 2002 Mexico Cuauhtémoc Blanco
Costa Rica Rolando Fonseca
Honduras Carlos Pavón
5
Germany 2006 Mexico Francisco Fonseca 6
South Africa 2010 Honduras Carlos Pavón 7
Brazil 2014 Honduras Carlo Costly
Honduras Jerry Bengtson
United States Jozy Altidore
4
Russia 2018 United States Christian Pulisic 5

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vexed by the Hex? A Simple Guide to the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying". USSoccer.com. United States Soccer Federation. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "Whitecaps FC players set for important World Cup qualifying matches". WhiteCapsFC.com. 11 Oct 2012. Retrieved 15 Oct 2012. 
  3. ^ Solano, Jeison (9 September 2016). "Las selecciones con mayor cantidad de presencias en la hexagonal final de Concacaf". Diario Diez. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "What is the Hex?". mls.com. 1 Jan 2016. Retrieved 10 Oct 2017. 
  5. ^ Cortés, José Antonio (6 February 2013). "El Hexagonal no es un bombón". ESPN Deportes. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Jamaican footballing names that should not be forgotten". The Jamaica Observer. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Hernandez, Dan. "Why Canada Will Make the Hex This Time". Waking the Red. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "Solo un Aztecazo". Al Día. 9 February 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "Costa Rica, autor del primer 'Aztecazo' de la historia". Récord. 5 February 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "World Cup qualifying - draw set for CONCACAF 'hex' round - ESPN FC". Soccernet.espn.go.com. 19 Oct 2012. Retrieved 6 Nov 2012.