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  • Wednesday, August 16, 2000

    Canada's World Cup chances fade further

    By NEIL DAVIDSON -- Associated Press

     Canada's faint World Cup soccer pulse faded further Wednesday in the wake of Trinidad and Tobago's 6-0 romp over visiting Panama.

     The rout moved Trinidad and Tobago back atop Group C in the CONCACAF semifinal qualifying round with a maximum nine points from a 3-0-0 record. Mexico stands second with six points and a 2-1-0 record after its 2-0 home win over Canada on Tuesday.

     Canada and Panama languish in the basement with one point from identical 0-2-1 records.

     The top two teams from the group, one of three in CONCACAF, will advance to the final round of qualifying in the region.

     Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke paced Trinidad and Tobago with a pair of goals against Panama.

     The result means Canada virtually has no margin of error in its remaining three games, and it will need help from fellow-doormat Panama to take points from its rivals.

     The maximum number of points Canada can collect is 10 and the next game, Sept. 3 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, might determine its fate.

     With Mexico expected to hammer visiting Panama earlier that day, a loss or tie would eliminate the Canadians, who would then be able to finish with no higher than seven points.

     Even winning all three of its remaining matches may not be enough for Canada:

     --

    Mexico, 41-0-3 at Azteca Stadium in World Cup qualifying, can be expected to maximize its points from its two remaining home games. That would up its total to 12 points, beyond Canada's reach. Even a tie against T&T would leave it with 10 points going into its Nov. 15 finale in Toronto.

     --

    While Trinidad could lose to Mexico, losing in Panama would be a longshot. Even if T&T picks up only one point in its three remaining games, it will be able to match Canada's maximum of 10.

     So, what happens if Canada and another country finish with the same number of points?

     The first tiebreaker is goal differential.

     While T&T's win over Panama was not unexpected, the six-goal bulge improved Trinidad's goal differential to plus-nine. Canada, scoreless in its three games, is minus-four.

     Mexico is plus-two and can be expected to add to that total.



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