Trinidad & Tobago's Kenwyne Jones (pictured) connects on a header against visiting St. Vincent & the Grenadines in a World Cup qualifier on March 25, 2016, in Port of Spain. (Photo: Caribbean Action Images)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – The schedule for the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup has already been determined, but five of the eventual six participants remain to be confirmed.
With two fourth-round encounters still to be contested by each team, only Group A’s Mexico has clinched advancement. Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago (3W-1D-0D, 10 points) currently hold the top spots in Group B and Group C, respectively, owning precarious three-point cushions.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart is not worried about the dates of his side’s potential home or away games in the next phase. He’s more concerned about earning the points that will ensure progression. A win against visiting Guatemala (2-0-2, 6) on September 2 will do the trick.
“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” said Hart. “We are still in the same position as we were in March. We are not yet in the Hex. We have two difficult games left and that is our main objective at this time, getting the result that will take us there.”
If the Soca Warriors fall to Guatemala – depending on other results – beating the USA (2-1-1, 7) on the road four days later may be a necessity. Hart doesn’t care how the math adds up, as long as it does so in his favor. After three straight trips to the Hexagonal, T&T missed out on the 2014 edition.
“Once you’re into the Hex, you have the best teams in the region and you have to face everyone at some point,” Hart expressed. “There is where the real toss up begins because you are looking at playing home and away with everything at stake over a rigorous schedule. Thinking about what our possible games could look like when it starts in November and ends next year is not a focus at the moment.
“We have to take care of business in our next two games first and foremost.”
T&T is expected to regroup in late August for a training camp.