The fourth place team in the hex will play the Asian confederation in an intercontinental playoff, which is likely one of the easiest draws possible.
The Americans are entering qualifying in the fourth round of qualifying, an advantage given to CONCACAF’s six highest ranked teams. That is a big ask for a Canadian team that wasn’t able to get out of a very similar, if not worse, Gold Cup group.
The winners of the second round of two-legged ties in Africa will then be drawn into five groups of four, and the teams that come top will compete in Russian Federation. They will get one of Honduras, Panama or Trinidad and Tobago, as well as two of the teams that advance from the third round.
Given the strength of the other teams in the group, the USMNT should be expected to win every single game. Away from home Canada will be forced to not only play in the hostile San Pedro Sula, but also the legendarily hard Azteca Stadium in Mexico.
In stark contract, Scotland have not qualified for the tournament since their 1998 appearance in France, while Northern Ireland haven’t played in the World Cup since 1982. The U.S. will begin its quest to qualify for an eighth-consecutive Federation Internationale de Football Association World Cup when CONCACAF Semifinal Round play begins in November. This draw, and the impending third round, will tell us just how the team’s fourth round looks. What’s being drawn on Saturday is the stage before the final qualifying stage.
The draw gets underway at 10:55 a.m. ET and will be televised live on Fox Sports 1.
The two old rivals have only met twice since the turn of the century with the Three Lions prevailing on both occasions in friendly matches, with the last competitive meeting between the pair taking place in 1999 when they did battle over two legs for a place in the finals of Euro 2000. The final round of qualifying will consist of six teams, all of whom play home and away from November 2016 through October 2017.