The CONCACAF region is one of the weakest in world football as it is not very competitive with Mexico usually sweeping through the competition. However, there were a few surprises in CONCACAF qualifying this time around with Panama getting a ticket to Russia.
Unfortunately for Hernan Dario Gomez, his team may have had the unluckiest draw of the three CONCACAF teams that will be participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Costa Rica drew E with Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia, while Mexico is in Group F with Germany, Sweden and South Korea. La Marea Roja was drawn into Group G with Belgium, England and Tunisia and their hopes of making the knockout stage are slim, to say the least.
Tunisia is a manageable team for Gomez’s team but Belgium and England could prove to be very tough tasks. Tunisia finished first in Group A of the CAF World Cup qualifiers with 14 points but count with a squad that is mostly comprised of players who play domestically. England’s squad also plays mostly domestically but in arguably the most competitive league in the world, the Premier League. Gareth Southgate’s men finished first in Group F of the UEFA World Cup qualifiers with 26 points in a fairly competitive group with teams like Slovakia, Slovenia and Scotland.
Players like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling will surely be troublesome for La Marea Roja. Belgium had the best time in the qualifying stage of these four teams, finishing first in Group H of the UEFA World Cup qualifiers, undefeated with 26 points and a goal differential of 37.The Red Devils are a contender to win the title with players like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois.
Colombian manager Hernan Dario Gomez did a fantastic job with Panama in the CONCACAF qualifiers, finishing third in the hexagonal stage with 13 points. Los Canaleros had some surprising results including draws with Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States and the infamous win against Costa Rica in the final matchday that secured their ticket to Russia.
Gomez does the best he can with his squad implementing a physical, counter-attacking style of play. This can be successful and frustrate a few opponents like it has in the CONCACAF region but the level of competition will be much higher in this group.