Despite not qualifying for next year’s FIFA World Cup, CONCACAF side Trinidad and Tobago created a stunning upset on Tuesday night to eliminate the United States from the upcoming showpiece in Russia. The ‘Soca Warriors’ beat the United States 2-1 in the team's final hexagonal World Cup qualifier, meaning the Americans cannot qualify for Russia 2018 and in the process breaking their streak of seven consecutive appearances at FIFA'S showpiece event.
The result, combined with wins for Panama and Honduras, means the US finished fifth in the qualifying table, outside of the automatic and playoff spots on offer for the top-four finishers. Panama beat Costa Rica 2-1 while Honduras clipped Mexico 3-2.
Mexico 21, Costa Rica 16 points and Panama 13 points, secured the three automatic qualifying spots from CONCACAF while fourth placed Honduras will meet will host Australia in the first leg of their playoff on November 6 and then play the return game in Sydney on the 14th. Panama were qualifying for their first ever World Cup.
Meanwhile, captain Lionel Messi scored a hattrick when he was needed most, rallying Argentina to a 3-1 win over Ecuador and a spot in Russia next summer.
The World Cup hopes of the two-time champions were in jeopardy, having started the final night of South American qualifying in sixth place, with only the top four qualifying for the World Cup while the fifth goes to an intercontinental playoff against New Zealand.
But the win means they will finish in third, booking their place along with Uruguay, Colombia and already-qualified Brazil, while Peru heads to next month's playoff at the expense of Chile, who were eliminated.