CHICAGO (Nov. 11, 2011)—The U.S. Men’s National Team’s opponents for the Semifinal Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying are set after Antigua and Barbuda defeated Haiti to clinch the final spot in Group A.
The U.S. and Jamaica were drawn into Group A in the Semifinal Round in the Preliminary Draw that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 31, 2011. Guatemala qualified as the winner of Group E, leading the pack by a margin of eight points. Antigua and Barbuda qualified for the Semifinal Round for the first time ever after winning Group F with a combined score of 25-3. This is the first time Antigua and Barbuda has reached the Semifinal Round.
The U.S. faced off against Guatemala in the last cycle of World Cup qualifying in the Semifinal Round, the U.S. winning the home-and-home series on a 3-0 aggregate. The first match was a 1-0 win in Guatemala City, with Carlos Bocanegra sealing the victory in the second half. Kenny Cooper and Freddy Adu both scored in the domestic leg.
In the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June 2011, the U.S. and Jamaica met in the quarterfinals, where goals from Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey pushed the USA into the semifinals and eliminated Jamaica from the tournament. The two also met in World Cup qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The U.S. holds a 12-4-5 record against Guatemala and a 10-0-8 record against Jamaica. The MNT has never played against Antigua and Barbuda.
Beginning in June and ending in October of 2012, the U.S. will play each of its Group A opponents twice, once at home and once away, in round robin play, with the group winner and group runner-up advancing to Final Round of World Cup qualifying.
The Final Round, which will take place in 2013, will feature a group of six teams. Each of the Semifinal Round group winners and runners-up make up the well-known Hexagonal that determines which CONCACAF nations qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The top three teams from round robin play will book their place in Brazil, with the fourth place team playing a home-and-away intercontinental playoff against a team from Oceania. The USA has finished first in the Hexagonal during the past two FIFA World Cup cycles.