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Reflecting On CONCACAF Hex Predictions

Panama's Roman Torres (L) kicks to score during their 2018 World Cup football qualifier match against Costa Rica, in Panama City, on October 10, 2017. Panama qualified for the World Cup, for the first time ever. / AFP PHOTO / Rodrigo ARANGUA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)
Reflecting On CONCACAF Hex Predictions

Before World Cup qualifying kicked off in the CONCACAF region, I predicted what the final standings would look like. We now have finished the Hex and have three teams going to Russia 2018, and another awaiting Australia in the WCQ playoff.

Let’s break down what happened…

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Predicted 

  1. USA
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Mexico
  4. Panama*
  5. Honduras
  6. Trinidad & Tobago

Actual

  1. Mexico
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Panama
  4. Honduras*
  5. USA
  6. Trinidad & Tobago

*Playoff spot

Taking a look back, I definitely didn’t see some of this coming. Costa Rica always looked like a second place team, but Mexico was a complete force in qualifying, beating everyone they needed to. It’s no surprise to see Trinidad & Tobago at the bottom, but their final match effort was valiant, and it is a reason my predicted number one in the United States is staying home in 2018.

Panama’s last minute goal from Román Torres boosted them to the third spot, securing for a ticket to Russia. This was also the goal that sent the USA to 5th. Moreover, Honduras is not in the clear, as Australia will be no easy task. Both teams’ games at home will be the big X-factor.

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It’s a rare sight to see the previous cycle’s No. 1 finisher not only missing the top-3 but completely missing the World Cup, altogether. One thing to note is that the USA is not the only team out of this upcoming World Cup; Chile, Holland, Wales are also big names who will be far from Russia next year.

We have seen crazy qualifications before, but 2017 may have been the wildest yet. Honduras and Panama getting through with minutes to play, while the last place team defeats the USA at home? A Hollywood executive would laugh that off if it were in a script.

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@BryanRMW

Bryan has been a writer for The Stoppage Time since 2015. He has been covering soccer since 2011, and is a Sport management & Communications graduate from Grand Canyon University.

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