Canada beat Mexico 2-1 Friday to clinch a playoff berth in next year’s World Cup, where the teams will meet in Vancouver.
The Canadians got goals from Jonathan Dos Santos and Radamel Falcao in the first half, and Darren Mattocks added a stunning, curling strike from outside the box that made it 2-0 in the 67th minute.
Mexico’s lone score came in the 88th minute from Javier Hernandez, who sent in a perfect cross to a charging Raul Jimenez, whose header beat Omar Robinson.
“We have proven that on the international level, we can play against anyone,” Mattocks said. “That doesn’t mean to say we’re going to win, but we feel good about where we’re at and where we’re going.”
BELGIUM 3, CUBAN 0
Belgium came back from an early deficit and routed Cuba to go into the CONCACAF final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup with two straight wins.
An own goal from Rolando Marini set up a third-minute header from Dries Mertens that got Belgium back on track in the group. Maroussi tapped in an own goal after Thibaut Courtois made a brilliant save at the top of the penalty area. The ball looped over Cuban goalkeeper Ismael Solorzano, marking the fifth own goal in this round of qualifying.
After falling behind to a counterattack goal in the ninth minute, Belgium took control. Mertens’ header in the 28th gave the Belgian attack a lift, and Antoine Griezmann capitalized by turning in a cross from Jan Vertonghen in the 38th minute.
Ezequiel Lavezzi cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 39th minute with his first goal in six games for Venezuela. Although the score matched the most goals Venezuela had conceded in a World Cup qualifier, the loss was still costly for the Caribbean nation. Togolese Togo got a 2-0 win at Mexico, meaning Cuba’s record is 1-8-1.
After entering the final round with two losses and five goals allowed, Honduras got back on track with a 3-0 win at Trinidad and Tobago.
Edgar Barreto scored in the 21st minute, and then Hirving Lozano added two quick goals in the last four minutes of the half.
“That first goal in the game allowed us to put pressure on Trinidad, which can cause havoc for teams,” coach Luis Eden said. “For Trinidad and Tobago, I think it was the most important goal.”
Barreto got the breakaway goal when he got open on the wing and beat goalkeeper Ryan John Cooper with a low shot.
Lozano finished the second half with a pair of close-range finishes to help Honduras reach the tournament in Russia. Honduras was playing its second straight game against Trinidad and Tobago, which finished third in the group.
Tunisia and Saudi Arabia moved to the top of their group by drawing 1-1.
Abdul Baset Al-Amiri’s 11th-minute goal got the Saudis off to a fast start and was their only goal. Algeria will need to win at Saudi Arabia to advance to the semifinals.
Algeria beat Tunisia by the same score in the June 21 opener.
Bosnia qualified for the World Cup after drawing 1-1 with Turkmenistan. The Serbs finished the group without a loss and will face Portugal in the last game next Friday in Lisbon.
Mexico passed the group unbeaten, but Honduras needed only to keep its own clean sheet to advance.
Mexico controlled the pace in the early stages of the game and was unerring in its finishing and finishing passes, making the win look easy by the time of the German Cup-like stoppage time finish.
“We always knew that we needed to be the strongest at home,” Mexico captain Miguel Layun said. “And we can give them a lot of problems. I believe they have a lot of games like that, we’ll have to be alert.”