Posted October 16, 2013

Emotional end to CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers in images, videos and words

2014 World Cup, Mexican national team, U.S. men's national team, World Cup qualifying
There were differing emotions in Panama and Costa Rica after Tuesday's dramatic World Cup qualifiers.

There were differing emotions in Panama and Costa Rica after Tuesday’s dramatic World Cup qualifiers. (AP)

North America is still buzzing following the unforgettable conclusion to CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifying competition. Planet Fútbol has compiled the sights and sounds of the triumph and tragedy of Tuesday night’s results, as well as the poignant and pointed aftermath.

Mexico, now a shadow of the juggernaut that claimed the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and the 2012 Olympic gold medal, was minutes from a historic and humiliating World Cup elimination. Then Brad Davis found Graham Zusi with a pinpoint cross, and with a flick of his head, the Sporting Kansas City midfielder altered the fate of two countries.

“Hopefully, I get free vacations to Mexico whenever I want,” Zusi told MLSSoccer.com.

Adding insult to injury, U.S. forward Aron Johannsson delivered all three points to the visitors and cemented Panama’s ouster with this stunning game-winner.

There was silence at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. But not on Mexican television:

Deadspin offered this translation of the already-legendary TV Azteca tirade:

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WAHL: Three thoughts on U.S.’ come-from-behind win and crazy night in CONCACAF

Even the U.S. Soccer Federation was happy to remind its rivals who was responsible for its survival. Mexico now will face New Zealand in a home-and-home playoff next month for a spot at the World Cup.

Back in Panama, U.S. forward Terrence Boyd felt the hosts’ pain.

Terrence Boyd consoles Panama captain Felipe Baloy after two late U.S. goals knocked Panama from World Cup qualification.

Terrence Boyd consoles Panama captain Felipe Baloy after the U.S.’ come-from-behind 3-2 win. (Arnulfo Franco/AP)

The anguish on Luis Tejada’s face was palpable. He had scored the 83rd minute goal that everyone (except the U.S.) assumed would be the game-winner.

Luis Tejada is unconsolable after coming so close to sending Panama to the World Cup.

Luis Tejada grieves after coming so close to sending Panama to the playoff. (Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who backed up Brad Guzan, summed it up.

And after the match, the Americans discussed their epic comeback.

Defender Clarence Goodson’s insight into Panama’s late-game strategy was telling.

“They really kept guys high, still. They were winning the game. They should have dropped off … just play primitive,” he said. “They kept two strikers high. It was very surprising. Still had a lot of gaps in their team for the game being so late and the World Cup on the line. And we punished them for that.”

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On Wednesday morning, there was sorrow in the Panamanian press. Perhaps realizing the tactical mistake mentioned by Goodson, coach Julio Dely Valdés claimed responsibility for the “death” (from Crítica).

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Maintaining the macabre theme, Panama’s Mi Diaro said, “We mourn”, while El Siglo called it a “Night of terror”.

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GALLERY: Teams that have qualified for the 2014 World Cup

Meanwhile, in Mexico, there’s a sense of relief and embarrassment. El Tri is alive, but thanks only to their arch-rivals.

La Razón expressed its gratitude to Uncle Sam and highlighted Michael Orozco, the Puebla FC player who scored the U.S.’s opening goal Tuesday. Meanwhile, La Prensa wasn’t shy about sharing its opinion of La Selección, which still has a World Cup lifeline despite winning only two of its 10 Hexagonal matches.

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Récord published a reminder that Javier “Chícharito” Hernández, who scored only two goals during a miserable Hex, owed his place in the playoff to his “AmigoUS” north of the border.

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Bumpy Pitch, a Los Angeles-based company run by former pros Brian Dunseth (now a TV analyst) and Ben Hooper, sells t-shirts popular with players. They were quick to capitalize on Tuesday night’s drama and, by Wednesday morning, were already hawking a shirt designed to remind everyone where things stood in CONCACAF following an extraordinary night of soccer.

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SI.COM STAFF: Re-live the tense finish to CONCACAF World Cup qualifying as it occurred

20 comments
6marK6
6marK6

The North America qualifiers are very much like the Asia qualifiers, whoever comes out is just fodder for Europe and South America.

tevisv
tevisv

I love sport, always have and always will.  But this recent trend of "one for all, all for one...we're equals!" has been raising my blood pressure.  I was over the moon with joy when I saw our boys stay in the fight and keep playing.  You NEVER take your foot off the gas pedal nor your opponents throat.  The boys are playing really well right now.  Who knows, maybe that report about unrest between the players and Klingsmann was needed after all!

eliar3
eliar3

I have supported El Tri since I watched their magic on TV and in person for Mexico '86 and reconnected with my ancestry.  While always supporting the HOME team when US-MEX play, I was a bag of nerves last night.  It is really sobering for the Mexican fans, who always had superiority on the field.  No More, or "No Mas" seems more fitting. El Tri is a shell of its former self and does not deserve Brazil '14 (even if they get by the All Whites).  But the WC is about more than a team...it's about a country.  Each of the 32 who show up next June has a chance, slim for most, but still a chance.  The world goes nuts, and nations shut down when their teams play...it's eery.  The Mex Futbol Fed (FMF) really needs to work on how to better integrate MEX-based and EURO-based players on the same field, wearing the same green-white-red kit.  There is a definite disconnect, which should not be a surprise with so much reverence continually held for Chivas de Guadalajara (ALL-MEX players).  I hope someone can find and inspire teamwork and offensive chemistry (figure out how to get BOTH Rafa and Maza playing at the same time)...and a strong Mexico helps the US, since more respect for CONCACAF can lead to higher rankings which help with seeding and pot placement.  Get Dunga.  He has experience, cred, and familiarity.  And keep the greedy owners' fingers out of team chemistry (Aguirre was ordered to play El Bofo in SA '10 so he could be sold at a higher price by his MEX owner).  Gracias & You're Welcome...from me and others to this side, also to me and others on the other side.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

I just purchased one of those t-shirts.

mrfrogburger
mrfrogburger

Will we still speak Spanish only at games in Pasadena then?

TimGrisham
TimGrisham

It was not that long ago that there was a lot of concern for this team.  Articles being written about dysfunction amongst the players and coaches.  Although some personnel concerns remain,  Jurgen has this team on the right track and playing very well. 

Boses
Boses

Really good work by SI on this article.  Love the newspaper photos.

2001mark
2001mark

Humble as always.  Stay classy!?

salvaje50
salvaje50

I was at the Mexico game last night in San Jose.  Chicharito was crying on the mexican bench when he thought Mexico was eliminated.  it was almost a perfect night.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

In  honor of USA helping them out mexico will send 10 million illegals instead of the usual 8 next month across the border

achtung14a
achtung14a

If Mexico eliminates the US in Brazil I'm going to be really, really, really, really, really, pissed. Really.

JoelHardman
JoelHardman

Wow that rant was epic.  Would US fans turn on our team like that if they epically underachieved?  I hope we don't find out anytime soon.

I don't know much about the NZ team.  What are Mexico's chances of getting past them?

Patrick31
Patrick31

@6marK6 Funny. Didn't New Zealand eliminate Italy from the World Cup?

AdrianGonzalez
AdrianGonzalez

@WHO*IS*ESPN Consider it done! Thanks for taking so many of us and legalizing them next year!!  LOL punkass bigot!

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@achtung14a 

Actually, you know, the US would be grateful for a second round match-up vs Mexico.  It's an opponent they know very well.  Their odds of beating them would be higher than many other possible match-ups.

wh0car3s
wh0car3s

@JoelHardman Mexico has a good chance but like swidt said, anything can happen (especially the way El Tri is playing right now). 

NZ still has the same coaching staff and most of the WC2010 squad. At the last WC they scored a draw on all their group games (most notably a 1-1 against Italy).

They've also played a few friendlies with some CONCACAF teams (in 2012), with mixed results (loss to Jamaica, draw against El Salvador and a win against Honduras).

swidt
swidt

@JoelHardman Good.  Anything can happen, but Mexico's chances are good.  FIFA's world rankings are notoriously off-base, but just for a quick frame of reference, Mexico is ranked No. 21st and NZ is No. 67th

ShifterKart
ShifterKart

@AdrianGonzalez @WHO*IS*ESPN 

I like getting work done cheap....a few are not bad anyway. Plus who wants honkeys working at Mexican restaurants. The ones that come here are to afraid to stay in their own country and make it better anyway.  

plus they do not pass much when they play (non pros) and are notorious for flopping during games.