The United States, Argentina and Costa Rica secured their place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil last night, becoming the first three teams in the Americas to do so. The U.S. and Costa Rica represent the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and Argentina plays in the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (South American Football Confederation—CONMEBOL).
The U.S. beat archrival Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, to secure their place in the tournament, becoming the fourteenth team to qualify for seven consecutive World Cups. While the U.S. benefited from Mexico playing its first game under a new coach, Tuesday’s match came only days after the same U.S. team suffered a crushing 3-0 defeat to Costa Rica at the Estadio Nacional in San José—a game that was plagued by controversy and ended the U.S.’ 12-game winning streak. Costa Rica tied Jamaica to book their ticket to Brazil.
Argentina managed a convincing 5-2 away game win against Paraguay, with Lionel Messi scoring two penalties kicks to tie Uruguay’s Luis Suarez as the conference’s top goal scorer. Argentina is in first place in the CONMEBOL table with 29 points and two qualifiers left to play. Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela—all within 7 points of each other—are vying for the last three qualification spots from CONMEBOL.
The group stage of the World Cup begins on June 12 in the Morumbi Stadium in São Paulo.