World Cup Qualifiers - Concacaf

World Cup Qualifiers - Concacaf (95)

 An Alex Roldan goal in the 90th minute canceled out a Michail Antonio goal in the 82nd minute as El Salvador and Jamaica both netted a point
after battling to a 1-1 draw on Friday at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.
The first half ended scoreless despite a sequence in the 39th minute off a corner kick in which El Salvador attempted two long-range shots, both of which hit the crossbar above
Jamaica GK Andre Blake.

Jamaica thought it may have had the winner with Antonio scoring his first-ever Jamaica goal late in the second half for a 1-0 lead. The attacker took the ball on the left-hand side of attack and charged forward, beating a pair of Salvadoran defenders and then GK Mario Gonzalez with a clever chip over the onrushing shot-stopper.

 Yet El Salvador still had something to say about the outcome of the match and found the 1-1 equalizer.
Roldan, wearing the captain’s armband, got into the box in the 90th minute and headed in a cross from the right-hand side, with the ball tucking under the crossbar and going in.

Next on the slate for El Salvador is a visit to Panama City to meet fellow Central
American rival Panama, while Jamaica heads back to Kingston where it welcomes the United States.

 

Argentina are on the cusp of World Cup qualification after extending their unbeaten streak to 26 games by edging Uruguay 1-0.

Angel Di Maria was the difference away to rivals Uruguay, his sublime seventh-minute strike lifting second-placed Argentina to victory on Friday.

Argentina – who tied their CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying record after going eight matches unbeaten on the road – are one win away from booking their spot at Qatar 2022 heading into Tuesday's showdown against Brazil.

Lionel Scaloni's Argentina defeated Uruguay 3-0 during last month's international window, after La Celeste failed to make the most of their chances against the Copa America champions.

It was a similar story on home soil in Montevideo, where Uruguay lacked a cutting edge in front of goal, despite Luis Suarez's best efforts.

With Lionel Messi on the bench, Di Maria wore the captain's armband and Argentina's stand-in skipper broke the deadlock in the seventh minute.

Giovani Lo Celso won possession and laid the ball to Di Maria, who curled a stunning shot into the top corner of the net.

Uruguay continued to press numbers forward and they had a chance to restore parity approaching half-time after Matias Vecino's brilliant turn created space for a shot, however it was easily dealt with by Emiliano Martinez.

Martinez was left scrambling as Facundo Torres' tricky cross almost looped over the Argentina goalkeeper before he palmed it behind for a corner in the 63rd minute.

As Uruguay pushed forward in search of an equaliser, it created more space for Argentina to attack and the visitors engineered a couple of decent openings before Messi was introduced off the bench during the closing stages.

With the minutes ticking down, Agustin Alvarez headed just over the bar for Uruguay, while Martinez almost saw the ball slip through his legs and into the net as the hosts' World Cup hopes remain in the balance.

Jamaica Reggae Boy Liam Moore is hopeful the team can continue its recent trend of keeping clean sheets ahead of World Cup qualification encounters against El Salvador and the United States.

The Jamaican team got off to a rocky start to the qualifiers after conceding eight goals in its first six games.  However, the team’s fortunes have improved in the last two rounds after battling to a 0-0 draw with the competition’s top scorers Canada and securing a 2-0 away win over Honduras.

Moore missed that round of matches, which took place in September after suffering an injury, but the defender did, however, watch the matches while sidelined and is eager to make his contribution for the team as it looks to pick up where it off.

“I watched the games back in the UK while I was injured and I thought there were a lot of positives with the clean sheets,” Moore told TVJ Sports.

“Talking about moving forward now, it’s about trying to continue to grow from that.  So, we need more clean sheets and try to get as many points on the board as we can,” he added.

The Reading player has made five appearances for the Jamaica national team to date.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore is impressed with the team’s camaraderie, after using an extra day to prepare for the team’s World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday.

In recent months questions had been raised regarding the team’s sense of togetherness on the back of a rumoured rift between locally born and Uk-born members of the squad.  That narrative has, however, shifted on the back of two solid performances against Canada and Honduras in the previous round of matches.

Heading into Friday’s encounter Whitmore is eager to see that trend continue heading into the upcoming round of games.

“I’m very pleased with the enthusiasm of the players.  The camaraderie is good, the vibes in the camp is good and I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Whitmore said.

The team arrived in El Salvador on Monday, in order to be able to squeeze in an extra training session for the team.

“We are looking forward to the final session and the game.”

The Jamaicans who got their campaign slow start are looking to build momentum on the back of their first win of qualifiers, which came against Honduras in the previous round.  The team is currently 6th in the eight-team standings on 5 points, 3 outside of the qualifying spots.

When the Reggae Boyz face El Salvador at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador on Friday, Reggae Boyz defender Damion Lowe is hoping for an important victory for more than one reason.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore says the team is looking to continue riding its momentum into the upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers, particularly as it relates to defensive solidity.

The Caribbean team had a difficult start to its qualification campaign going winless in its first five games, before getting on the board against Honduras.  The run of games included a 3-0 home loss to Panama and a 2-0 away loss to the United States.  During the period the team conceded 8 goals.

Whitmore, however, made tweaks to the team’s formation for the last two matches against Canada and Honduras, which has led to two clean sheets.

“I think we want to build on the last two performances, from Canada to Honduras I think we can see much improvement because we have not conceded for the last two games, so we would like to build on that,” Whitmore said.

“We have a balanced squad here, for these two upcoming games so we are looking forward to it.  Again, we want to build on the strength of the last two performances.”

The Jamaicans will kick off the crucial round of matches with an encounter against El Salvador on Friday, followed by a home match against the United States on Sunday.  For the first time since the start of the campaign, the team will be allowed to have limited fans in the stadium.

 

 

Jamaica international Leon Bailey is feeling fit and ready ahead of a probable debut in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old has suffered an injury-plagued few months after moving to the English Premier League’s Aston Villa from German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.

 In a stop-start season at Villa, Bailey has managed 6 appearances at the club but only forced his way into the starting line-up for the past two games, having recovered full fitness.  In the meantime, however, Jamaica has played six World Cup qualifiers but only their first win in the last round.  Having finally joined the squad ahead of matches against El Salvador and the United States, however, the player is hoping to make an impact.

“I played my first 90 minutes on the weekend, so I am feeling ready to go,” Bailey said.

“We haven’t had a great start, but I hope we can turn things around very quickly because this means a lot not just to players but also the country,” he added.

I think as a team we need to do better, and we will.  Hopefully, we’ll get the results because it will be a dream for us all to make it to the next World Cup.”

Jamaica are currently 6th in the eight-team standings on five points, three outside of the final qualifying spot.

Jamaica’s senior national men’s team is set to leave for El Salvador on Monday evening, November 8, giving coach Theodore Whitmore three days to work with the players before their crucial World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday, November 12.

Jamaica’s coming matches against El Salvador in San Salvador and a strengthened United States of America at the National Stadium in Kingston will be of great importance to the Reggae Boyz, who will be hoping to make up lost ground on the five teams ahead of them in the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The players based in Europe are scheduled to arrive at the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston at 4:30 pm on Monday, where they will join the local delegation on a charter leaving at 7:00 pm. The players based in the United States (and Costa Rica) will fly directly to San Salvador on the same afternoon.

Injured players Dillon Barnes and Andre Gray will be replaced by Dwayne Miller and Javain Brown, respectively.

Jamaica will return to the island by charter on Saturday, November 13 before taking on the United States on Tuesday, November 16, at the National Stadium. A maximum of 5000 vaccinated spectators are expected to attend.

Jamaica got off to a poor start in the Octoganal round of qualifiers, losing 2-1 to Mexico and 3-0 to Panama in September. They then lost 2-0 to the United States in October and drew 0-0 with Canada and 1-1 with Costa Rica before getting their first win, a 2-0 victory over Honduras.

Jamaica has five points, the same number as El Salvador. They are also a point behind Costa Rica and three behind Panama that a currently fourth in the standings.

Mexico, the USA and Canada are the top three teams and are in the automatic qualifying positions for the World Cup.

 

The England-based quartet of Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey, Ravel Morrison, and Liam Moore have been recalled to the Jamaica Reggae Boyz squad for the team’s upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers.

Antonio, the in-form West Ham striker, was controversially not available for the previous round after miscommunication between the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the player’s agent and club. 

The issue stemmed from the forward not being allowed to carry his personal physio to the matches.  With the issue now resolved, however, Antonio is expected to return to the line-up for the first time since facing Panama in September. 

Aston Villa’s Bailey, who has recently recovered from injury, could be in line to appear for the first time in the final round.  Reading’s Moore, who pulled out of the previous round of games with an injury concern, has also been recalled.  Derby’s Morrison will also return to the squad for the first time since appearing in the 3-0 loss to Panama.  Major League Soccer Philadelphia Union’s Cory Burke has also been recalled to the squad after missing the previous round with an ankle injury.

The Jamaicans will face El Salvador on November 12 and the United States on November 16.  

 Full Squad: Andre Blake, Dillon Barnes, Jeadine White, Liam Moore, Adrian Mariappa, Damion Lowe, Kemar Lawrence, Oniel Fisher, Gregory Leigh, Alvas Powell, Anthony Grant, Ravel Morrison, Devon Williams, Je-Vaughn Watson, Lamar Walker, Bobby Reid, Junior Flemmings, Cory Burke, Javon East, Shamar Nicholson, Andre Gray, Michail Antonio, Kemar Roofe, Leon Bailey.

Around 5000 fully vaccinated fans will be allowed to attend the Jamaica Reggae Boyz upcoming World Cup qualifier against the United States after the country’s government reversed its previous position.

Earlier this week, it was announced that a request by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to allow fully vaccinated fans into the country’s National Stadium for the first time since the start of the qualifiers had been denied.

The team’s previous home matches against Panama and Canada were played in front of an empty stadium due to the country’s existing Covid-19 protocols.  The JFF attempted to rectify the situation by implementing plans and protocols that would allow some fully vaccinated patrons to enter the match.  Initially, the proposal was rejected by the government who cited concerns regarding the ability of the entities to ensure proof of vaccination for patrons.  Following an emergency meeting, at the JFF headquarters on Thursday, however, the parties have now reached an understanding to allow the stadium to be occupied at around 14 percent capacity, consisting of fully vaccinated fans, for the encounter.

With only 12.4 percent of the country’s population fully vaccinated, however, the number of patrons who will be able to take advantage of the opportunity remains to be seen.  The vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the region and lowest among the countries participating in the final round.

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