Mexico beats Panama to secure 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification | football | Hindustan Times
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Mexico beats Panama to secure 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification

A Hirving Lozano header on 53 minutes was enough to give Mexico a 1-0 win over Panama at the Azteca Stadium as the CONCACAF heavyweights reached the finals for a seventh successive occasion.

football Updated: Sep 02, 2017 10:38 IST
AFP
Mexico's player Nestor Araujo and Panama's player Luis Tejeda in action during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Mexico's player Nestor Araujo and Panama's player Luis Tejeda in action during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.(REUTERS)

Mexico became the fifth team to guarantee their place at the 2018 World Cup as the United States crashed to defeat at home to Costa Rica to place their qualification campaign in jeopardy.

A Hirving Lozano header on 53 minutes was enough to give Mexico a 1-0 win over Panama at the Azteca Stadium as the CONCACAF heavyweights reached the finals for a seventh successive occasion.

Mexico join Brazil, Japan and Iran alongside hosts Russia as the teams to have confirmed their places in next year’s finals.

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Yesterday’s win saw Mexico go top of the six-nation final qualifying round in CONCACAF, with 17 points from six games.

The result means they are guaranteed one of the automatic World Cup berths awarded to the top three finishers in the group.

But while Mexico celebrated, arch-rivals the USA were left contemplating a road to Russia that has suddenly become much more uncertain following their 2-0 loss to 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists Costa Rica in Harrison, New Jersey.

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The win left Costa Rica second in the standings on 14 points, while the USA continue to hold on to the third automatic qualifying place with eight points from seven games.

The Americans however are level on eight points with Honduras, who host the US next week in what promises to be a tense duel in the Central American nation.