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United States to Open Final World Cup Qualifying Stage with Home Match Against Arch-Rival Mexico in February


CHICAGO (Sunday, November 19, 2000) - A draw conducted by the Football Confederation on Sunday in Guatemala determined the United States' World Cup qualifying schedule for 2001, and set the stage for a dramatic opening game in February when the USA will host Mexico.

The six teams which have qualified for the final round - the United States, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and either Costa Rica or Guatemala - will play each other twice, home and away, in a round-robin format. The top three teams at the conclusion of the final regional qualifying stage will advance to the 2002 World Cup Finals in Korea/Japan.

The United States will open play on February 27 or 28 with a home match against Mexico before traveling to Honduras for its first away match of the final qualifying stage, to be played between March 24 and 28. The USA will alternate home and away games throughout the ten games, and will play its final qualifying game at Trinidad & Tobago on November 10 or 11.

In conducting the draw, the names of the six qualifiers - the winner and runner-up from Groups C, D and E from the Semifinal Round - were placed in one pot, with numbers 1-6 placed in the second. Each country was drawn to a number corresponding to a predetermined schedule of games.

In the Final Round, six of the dates are set for weekends, with four guaranteed for midweek, though an additional two could also be played on a weekday. Twice, two matches are scheduled to be played within a five-day period. The dates have all been established to conform with the harmonized international calendar, and are the same as World Cup qualifying dates for UEFA (Europe) and CONMEBOL (South America).

The United States won its qualifying semifinal group with 11 points after defeating Barbados last Wednesday, finishing ahead of Guatemala and Costa Rica, who will play a one-game playoff for the final spot in next year's final qualifying stage.

Exact dates and venues will be confirmed by U.S. Soccer and the participating countries in the near future.

DateOpponentLocationKickoff / TVTickets
CONCACAF Semifinal Round Group E Qualifying for 2002 FIFA World Cup
Playoff between Costa Rica and Guatemala
TBACosta Rica vs. Guatemala------
DateOpponentLocationKickoff / TVTickets
CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying for 2002 FIFA World Cup
Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, and Costa Rica or Guatemala
Feb. 27-28vs. Mexico
JAM vs. TRI,
TBD vs. HON
------
March 24-28at Honduras
MEX vs. JAM,
TBD v TRI
------
April 24-25vs. TBD
JAM vs. HON,
TRI vs. MEX
------
June 16-17at Jamaica
TRI vs. HON,
MEX vs. TBD
------
June 19-20vs. Trinidad & Tobago
HON vs. MEX,
TBD vs. JAM
------
June 30-
July 4
at Mexico
HON vs. TBD,
TRI vs. JAM
------
Sept. 1-2vs. Honduras
JAM vs. MEX,
TRI vs. TBD
------
Sept. 4-5at TBD
HON vs. JAM,
MEX vs. TRI
------
Oct. 6-7vs. Jamaica
HON vs. TRI,
TBD vs. MEX
------
Nov. 10-11at Trinidad & Tobago
JAM vs. TBD,
MEX vs. HON
------


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