United States beat Mexico to book place at World Cup

Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan on target in 2-0 win

The United States qualified for the World Cup finals in Brazil after second half goals from Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan gave them a 2-0 home win over Mexico on Tuesday.

With Honduras drawing 2-2 with Panama and Costa Rica held to a 1-1 draw in Jamaica, the Americans stand on top of the CONCACAF standings on 16 points with two games remaining.

Costa Rica, who also qualified on Tuesday, are on 15 points with Honduras on 11 points still fighting for the third automatic qualification spot.

The defeat leaves Mexico deep in trouble though - they are in fifth place, level on eight points with fourth-placed Panama and with only a slim chance of making third place.

'El Tri', who started qualification as clear favourites to top the group, still have plenty of work ahead to even get the fourth spot and get a shot at Brazil via a playoff with Oceania winners New Zealand.

The Americans had to wait for almost an hour after the game to know their spot in Brazil was secure - needing Honduras to pick up at least a point.

While players sat in the changing room watching the late game on television, hundreds of fans stayed in the stadium hoping to celebrate qualification and were rewarded with the U.S. team returning to the field to complete a lap of honour.

"This is a huge achievement for all of us," coach Juergen Klinsmann told reporters.

"We can all be extremely proud of this team who gave everything. It's a huge milestone whenever you make it to the World Cup, the biggest competition in this sport, especially hosted in Brazil, one of the biggest soccer nations.

"It means a lot to all of us. To our fans and to this country as well," said the German, who took charge of the team in 2011.

For Mexico, the defeat to their biggest rival was a painful one on several levels.

"I don't know what to tell you, we're in debt with the people and very ashamed," midfielder Christian Gimenez told Mexico's TV Azteca.

MEXICO FADE

Mexico coach Luis Fernando Tena, taking charge for the first time following the firing of Jose Manuel de la Torre on Saturday, recalled Andres Guardado and Javier Hernandez to the starting line-up and their impact was felt early.

With Giovani dos Santos and Guardado stretching the U.S. defence, Argentine-born playmaker Gimenez found plenty of space and forced Tim Howard into a fine diving save in the 19th minute.

Moments later, Gimenez fired a free-kick just over the bar as Mexico took the game to the Americans.

Mexico keeper Jose Corona did well to block a diving header from Johnson from a rare U.S. attack but the danger was still coming from the visitors.

Dos Santos dribbled in the box and tested Howard with a stinging drive and then on the stroke of half-time, the home keeper's reflexes were alert enough to keep out a header from Diego Reyes.

It was goalless at the break but Mexico had been superior in all departments with the Americans sorely missing the presence of the injured Michael Bradley in central midfield and the attacking threat of the suspended Jozy Altidore.

However, four minutes after the interval, the U.S. grabbed the lead when Donovan swung in a corner and Johnson broke free of his marker to power in a header past Corona who was caught in no-man's land.

The noisy 24,584 capacity crowd at the compact Crew stadium sensed victory was within reach and that confidence appeared shared by their team, who began to dominate the midfield.

Mexico, by contrast, looked utterly crestfallen by the goal, their belief faded dramatically and there was no way back for them after substitute Mix Diskerud slipped the ball across the box for Donovan to make it 2-0 in the 78th minute.

Clint Dempsey's awful penalty in the final seconds, after he had been fouled in the box, barely went noticed by the celebrating fans, who can now start planning their trips to Brazil.

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific