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