The 2014 FIFA World Cup is quickly approaching, and many teams are in serious danger of missing out. The highly competitive tournament is set to take place in Brazil, and for many teams, the only way they'll make it is if they're watching from the stands.
This afternoon, there are several key games that will determine where every team stands. Some teams will breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the match; others will merely watch as their chances of qualifying are shattered.
Here are three of them who are in danger of missing out on the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The first and last time Canada qualified for the World Cup was over 20 years ago in 1986. Today's match against Honduras is key because it'll decide if they make their second appearance or not.
Canada boasts a better record with three wins, one draw and one loss, but Honduras is right behind them in standings.
Historically, Canada hasn't done well when it mattered most.
Since they last competed in the Hex in 1997, Canada has never made it far enough in the tournament. They've made it to the Gold Cup, the World Cup Qualifiers and the Confederation Cup, but not the big one.
Four years ago, they lost 3-1 and were eliminated from qualifications. Just this past June in Toronto, they failed to win against Honduras, ending the game in a scoreless draw. They dropped two points that would have helped them in qualifying now.
In addition to their past struggles, the Canadians also have to contend with a Honduran team that desperately needs a win, too.
Honduras has momentum on their side, as they're coming off a 3-0 and a 1-0 win against Cuba, in addition to a draw against a tough Panamanian team. They'll also be playing at home in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Canada needs a win or a draw to earn a spot in the CONCACAF qualification; however, they haven't played their best yet, only scoring five goals in five matches.
If there was ever a time when they needed to improve, it's today.
Set to square off in a match against Guatemala, the United States have their work cut out for them. Both teams are tied atop Group A with three wins, one loss and one draw. Guatemala is just as hungry for a win as the United States is.
On the bright side, the Americans simply need to draw to advance against a team that has never beat them. That should be easy, right?
In the victory against Antigua on October 12, which the US won 2-1, Eddie Johnson scored both goals while the rest of the team struggled the majority of the game. The team allowed the weather conditions to get the best of them. They were lax on defense and missed several key shots.
The Americans simply can't afford to play this way against a Guatemalan team fighting to stay on top. They are sure to play to their full potential with Carlos Ruiz leading the way.
Moreover, the rise of injuries on the team is a concern for the United States.
The U.S. can win this match, but they have to step up and play much better than they did in their last match.
Can they do it? Former U.S. coach Bruce Arena certainly thinks so.
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