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US and Mexico to square off in World Cup qualifying match

Neighboring countries U.S. and Mexico, will be squaring off in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday in a World Cup qualifying match.

If the U.S. beats Mexico and Honduras wins against Panama, the U.S. would be assured a spot in Brazil. Even with a loss, the U.S. would stay in the top three in the CONCACAF standings, having the opportunity to advance.

“Part of qualifying is how much depth you have,” Landon Donovan, a U.S. favorite of the 2010 World Cup, told the Los Angeles Times. “We feel confident about other guys stepping in and doing a job. There are guys who have wanted to play and maybe deserve to play and now they’ll have a chance.”

The U.S. team, coached by Juergen Klinsmann for the last two years, just lost 3-1 to Costa Rica on Friday. It also lost one of their most valuable players, midfielder Michael Bradley, from a severe ankle sprain during warmups Friday.

Mexico also lost their game on Friday to Honduras — its first loss in a home qualifier in 12 years — leading to Mexico’s soccer federation firing Jose Manuel de la Torre as coach.

De la Torre’s replacement is assistant Luis Fernando Tena, 55, who led Mexico to its first Olympic gold medal in soccer in London in 2012. According to the Los Angeles Times, his future as coach is not certain after Tuesday. He now has to lead Mexico to win its final two games, against Panama and Costa Rica, and Honduras has to win no more than one of its last three games in order for Mexico to qualify for the World Cup.

“I bet on continuity and I failed,” federation President Justino Compean said at a news conference. “In this business the last result is the one that counts.”

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