In less than two weeks, the USMNT will begin the fourth and final stage of CONCACAF World Cup (WC) playoffs. The Hexagonal (Hex) is the last hurtle in the 2 ½ year marathon that leads to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Not sure how it works? Let’s break it down.
What is the Hexagonal?
A double-round-robin style competition played between 6 teams. The tournament consists of 10 individual matches against 5 different opponents, with the opportunity to play each opponent once at home and once away.
Teams competing in this hexagonal include: Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico and USA.
How are the six teams selected for the Hexagonal?
The six teams that are competing in the upcoming Hex qualified through the CONCACAF third round group stage, in a tournament consisting of three seeded groups of four teams. The 1st and 2nd place finishers of each respective group, qualify to move forward to the Hexagonal.
How many teams will be able to qualify for the World Cup through the Hex?
With 209 men’s national teams registered with FIFA, it is necessary to divide these nations into regions for tournament purposes. There are 6 different FIFA confederations, each with a different allotment of WC slots.
The USMNT competes in CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football), which is allotted 3.5 slots in the World Cup tournament. This meaning that the top three finishers at the end of Hexagonal play will earn a spot at the Russian World Cup.
What about the remaining 1/2 a spot?
Don’t count the Hex’s 4th place team out just yet! The 4th place finisher will have one final shot at the world stage, competing in an intercontinental playoff against the 5th place finisher from the AFC (Asian Football Confederation).
When do the USMNT play?
The USMNT kick of Hex play on November 11th. There will be no easing into the tournament as they are set to face their biggest rival Mexico at home in Columbus, Ohio, before jet setting off to play Costa Rica at Estadio Nacional where they have struggled in the past.
USMNT Hexagonal Schedule:
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