Sat, Mar

The Draw for Concacaf Qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup

Trinidad and Tobago have been drawn into Group B of the second round of Concacaf qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The Angus Eve-coached unit vie for a precious FIFA World Cup spot alongside Costa Rica, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Bahamas.

This was confirmed at the draw on Thursday which took place at FIFA’s headquarter’s in Zurich, Switzerland.

A statement by Concacaf said the second round of Concacaf Qualifiers will not include Canada, Mexico, and the US since they are hosts of the prestigious quadrennial tourney.

The second round, however, will feature Concacaf’s other 32 FIFA affiliated member associations, with 30 teams making up the second round of qualifying, following the results of the first round.

The first round kicks off in March between the four lowest-ranked Concacaf member associations based on the FIFA men’s rankings as of December 2023.

The two-legged matchups feature British Virgins Islands against US Virgin Islands in playoff one and Turks and Caicos Islands versus Anguilla in the second.

The winner of each tie will be placed in Group E and F respectively.

These two additions will complete the six Concacaf World Cup Qualifying groups. Here, teams will play single round-robin matches (two home and two away), with the six group winners and six group runners-up advancing to the third round (12 teams total).

The second round will be played over the course of two match-days in June and then another two match-days in June 2025.

Commenting on Trinidad and Tobago’s chances of advancing, Eve believes each nation poses a “tricky” test despite their competitive history.

“We know a lot of the opposition that we’ll be meeting in this particular group. Two (Bahamas, St Kitts and Nevis) of the teams actually in the qualifying of the World Cup last time, (but) we didn’t come out of that group. So we have a fair idea of the opposition.”

He said Grenada is “a little bit known to us” but deemed them unpredictable under new English coach Terry Connor, in addition to, their European-based talents.

“And then Costa Rica is a perennial powerhouse in Concacaf. They’ve been in the last World Cup and have good quality players. So we know the combination of the group and it wouldn’t be easy for us to come out but we’re going to do our best to try to come out,” he added.

When asked his thoughts on Trinidad and Tobago advancing to the final round of 12 Concacaf nations, where potentially five Concacaf teams, in addition to the three hosts, can qualify for the World Cup, Eve said they must capitalise on this rare chance to seal the nation’s second FIFA World Cup berth.

“This opportunity we have will probably never happen again so we have to grasp it with both hands. I see some of the players are already calling after seeing the draw, and they’re excited about it. We’re seeing the possibility of what could potentially happen to us and what we camp potentially do.”

Before the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers begin in June for Trinidad and Tobago, the senior team get their international campaign underway against Canada on March 23 in a single-match playoff, where the winner advances to this year’s Copa America.

Eve said while World Cup qualification remains top priority, a Copa America debut serves as a welcome boost ahead.

On his and the team’s mindset over the coming months of football, he told TTFA media, “We’re preparing for the both things because we’re trying to prepare for one and then World Cup qualifying, which is paramount for us.

“Everything we’ve been doing up to today has been about qualification for World Cup 2026. So the Copa America is just a bonus for us really.

“We wanted to stay in the A (Nations League top flight) and give ourselves the best chance by being in a good group that we could possibly have the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup.”

Thursday’s Draw for the Second Round of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying:

Group A: Honduras, Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Bermuda, Cayman Islands

Group B: Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Bahamas

Group C: Haiti, Curaçao, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Aruba

Group D: Panama, Nicaragua, Guyana, Montserrat, Belize

Group E: Jamaica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Winner Playoff 2 (British Virgin Islands-US Virgin Islands)

Group F: El Salvador, Suriname, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Winner Playoff 1 (Turks and Caicos Islands-Anguilla)

SOURCE: T&T Newsday