- “It is going to be difficult, but one has to have faith; faith in the work we are doing and in ourselves,”: El Salvador MF Marvin Monterroza.
- While Grenada have never faced El Salvador, they do have a history of squaring off against Antigua and Barbuda.
- If history is any indication, Antigua and Barbuda will fancy their chances of a first-place finish.
- The U.S. Virgin Islands’ last meeting with Montserrat, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda all ended in defeats.
MIAMI, Florida – The First Round of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying kicks off in October and there is no doubt that the action in Group A will be nonstop.
El Salvador head up a group of heavy hitters, with Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat and U.S. Virgin Islands all with dreams of reaching the next round.
“It is going to be difficult, but one has to have faith; faith in the work we are doing and in ourselves,” said El Salvador MF Marvin Monterroza in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com. “First we have to make sure we qualify for the final round and then think about a World Cup.”
In their history, El Salvador have only previously faced one of their group opponents, Monserrat. All three meetings have come in the last two years, with the Cuscatlecos taking a 2-1 victory in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, followed by 2-0 and 1-0 wins in League B of the CNL.
Monterroza leads a talented group of El Salvador players looking to return the National Team to the Final Round of Concacaf WCQ for the first time since the 2009 Hexagonal, but it certainly won’t be easy beginning with a Grenada side that won their CNL group to qualify for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and boasts high-flying FW Jamal Charles, who scored six goals in the 2019-20 CNL.
“The key has been our hard work,” said Charles in a recent interview with Concacaf.com. “We got stronger in defense, guys are focused and the mood in the team is very good. Players are comfortable and we have a very strong bond.”
While Grenada have never faced El Salvador, they do have a history of squaring off against Antigua and Barbuda, losing 5-1 in a 2017 Caribbean Cup qualification contest, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, who they defeated 2-1 in 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifying.
If history is any indication, Antigua and Barbuda will fancy their chances of a first-place finish. While they have never faced El Salvador, the Benna Boys own victories in their previous meetings against Grenada (5-1), Montserrat (5-4) and U.S. Virgin Islands (2-1).
Montserrat’s improvement in recent years has gotten the attention of many across the Concacaf region, as they barely missed out on qualifying for the 2019 Gold Cup. Still, playing the role of a surprise team seems to suit the Emerald Boys well.
“People didn’t expect us to be where we were when we barely missed out on the Gold Cup. We came a long way in such a short time and I think some people started paying attention to us. We have a group of players who can come together in a short span of time and put it together,” said Montserrat MF Massiah McDonald to Concacaf.com.
The U.S. Virgin Islands’ last meeting with Montserrat, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda all ended in defeats by scores of 1-0, 2-1 and 8-1, respectively, but there are many signs that things are looking bright for the USVI under the guidance of new Head Coach Gilberto Damiano.
“When it comes to World Cup Qualifiers there are no good or easy draws. All countries participating are capable of putting in the performances of their lives. We have a very difficult task on our hands and we accept the challenge with open arms and we are hoping to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands people the best way possible,” said Damiano to Concacaf.com.
With so much talent across the board and teams coming off of positive performances in the CNL, Group A is sure to excite from start to finish.