T&T clings to fast fading World Cup soccer dream

Author:  Gordon Williams
Trinidad and Tobago will this month be fighting to preserve its fast vanishing hopes of qualifying for the World Cup, the only Caribbean nation still with a chance to compete at soccer’s biggest tournament in 2018.

Lawrence Dennis smlFollowing a series of poor results, including losses last month to Honduras and Panama, the Soca Warriors will finish its CONCACAF qualifying schedule with games against Mexico away on Oct. 6 and the United States at home on Oct. 10.

Going into those matches, T&T’s World Cup qualification chances are dangerously slim. It has three points and remains rooted to the cellar of the six-team qualifying group for countries in the Caribbean, North and Central America.

With all teams completing eight group games with two remaining, Mexico has already secured one of three automatic places from CONCACAF for next year’s global showcase in Russia with 18 points. Costa Rica is next on 15, followed by Panama, 10. U.S. and Honduras have nine.

NO CHANCE

T&T has no chance to be among the three automatic qualifiers and must win its last games to have any hope of finishing fourth in the group, which would enable the Warriors to play off with a nation from the Asian Football Confederation for the right to qualify for the World Cup.

T&T lost 1-0 to Mexico in their first encounter in March. Mexico’s final game will be against Honduras on Oct. 10, the same date Panama faces Costa Rica and T&T closes out against the U.S.

Yet even if, for example, T&T wins its two remaining qualifiers and its closest competitors for the fourth spot in the group – U.S. and Honduras – each lost their last games, making the Warriors tied with them on nine points, T&T would still have to compile a better goal difference – among other tiebreaking scenarios - to advance to the playoff.

There is no margin for error for the Caribbean’s final hope.

T&T has even conceded the 2018 World Cup dream is already a nightmare.

“Of course it’s very disappointing,” said Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence following last month’s 3-0 defeat to Panama.

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