Groups have favourites trembling

Twelve teams are still alive in North, Central America and Caribbean qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. The survivors have been placed into three intriguing groups of four, with Group 2 looking like a neutral fan's dream as Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica and Canada all battle for two spots in the final round.

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Group 1: USA face tough travels
USA, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba

USA will be favourites to take top spot in the section, but will have to get through some hostile travels to do so. After beating Barbados 9-0 on aggregate to reach the first group stage, the Americans will face a first trip to Cuban shores for 61 years, a date at Guatemala's intimidating Estadio Mateo Flores and a test in Port of Spain against a resurgent Trinidad and Tobago.

"Anything can happen on any day in the game of soccer, so you have to be focused, especially during qualifying," said US defender Danny Califf, knowing full well the pitfalls that face his side. Cuba, with new German coach Reinhold Fanz leading the way, will be a tricky proposition after their 8-3 aggregate win over Antigua and Barbuda, as will Guatemala who coasted past St. Lucia without extending themselves. Trinidad and Tobago, who just edged past Bermuda in the last round, will be a tough foe too should they find their form and get Sunderland star Kenwyne Jones back from injury. "We were not up to our usual standard in the first games against Bermuda," said captain Aurtis Whitley. "We will need to do a lot of improving if we are going to be ready for the group portion of qualifying."

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