Sun, Apr

T&T to face Grenada June 5 in World Cup qualifiers opener.

T&T "Soca Warriors" will open their Group B Concacaf World Cup Second Round of qualifiers at home to neighbour Grenada on June 5 before travelling to the Bahamas three days later for their second match in the five-team round-robin series towards the FIFA World Cup 2026 jointly hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico.

The Soca Warriors under the supervision of 51-year-old coach Angus Eve, T&T’s most capped player with 117 national senior team appearances, will then complete their four-match schedule in 2025 with a home encounter against St Kitts & Nevis on June 6, followed by an away outing to group favourite Costa Rica.

This was determined on Monday when Concacaf announced the schedule for the First and Second Round matches of the Concacaf qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2026 which will consist of three separate rounds and will include 32 FIFA-affiliated Concacaf Member Associations.

Commenting on the schedule Eve was quick to note that Concacaf qualification is no longer a given to the so-called big teams as the smaller nations all have the opportunity to bring in high-quality players who are born in foreign countries, but have first or second-generation attachments to the country via their parents or grandparents.

He said, "These situations have even up the playing field somewhat with teams like Bahamas having players from the USA, while St Kitts & Nevis, and Grenada having the luxury of English-born players."

Looking ahead to the qualifiers, Eve added, "It's not as easy as everyone thinks it will be. We want to qualify for the next World Cup for certain and we will need the financial support of corporate T&T as well, and we also want to have the chance to get more players involved, so some adjustments to our immigrations law to allow us, to get more overseas-born players involved is also welcomed."

In the First Round, which will take place in March, the four lowest-ranked Concacaf member associations (based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking as of December 21, 2023) will see Anguilla host Turks & Caicos Islands in Playoff I, and US Virgin Islands entertain British Virgin Islands in Playoff II on March 22 in the first-leg matches with the return-leg matches set for March 26 from which the aggregate score winner in each playoff will progress to the Second Round.

For the Second Round, the winners of Playoff I will join the Second Round Group E, where Jamaica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, and Dominica await, while the Playoff II winners will enter the Second Round Group F with El Salvador, Suriname, Puerto Rico, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The other Second Round qualifiers are in Group A, Honduras, Antigua & Barbuda, Cuba, Bermuda, and Cayman Islands, in Group C Haiti, Curacao, St Lucia, Barbados, Aruba), and in Group D, Panama, Nicaragua, Guyana, Montserrat, Belize.

At the end of the Second Round of Concacaf qualifiers in June 2025, the group winners and runners-up (12 teams in total) will progress to the final round.

For the Concacaf Final qualifiers, which take place in September, October, and November 2025 among the 12 member associations (six match dates), a separate draw will be conducted for the Final Round following the conclusion of the Second Round.

The 12 teams will be divided into three groups of four teams with each team playing every other team in their group at home and away, for a total of six matches (three at home and three away), at the end of which, the three group winners will qualify directly for the FIFA World Cup 2026, joining hosts Canada, Mexico, and the USA.

Additionally, the two best runners-up will represent Concacaf in the FIFA playoff tournament, which in total could provide the Concacaf region with up to eight teams at the FIFA World Cup for the first time.

First Round qualifiers: (home team listed first):

March 22

Anguilla vs Turks and Caicos Islands

US Virgin Islands vs British Virgin Islands

March 26

Turks and Caicos Islands vs Anguilla

British Virgin Islands vs US Virgin Islands

Second Round: 30 Member Associations (four-match dates in June 2024 and June 2025)

Group A: Honduras, Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Bermuda, Cayman Islands

Group B: Costa Rica, T&T, St Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, Bahamas

Group C: Haiti, Curaçao, St. Lucia, Barbados, Aruba

Group D: Panama, Nicaragua, Guyana, Montserrat, Belize

Group E: Jamaica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Winner Play-off 2

Group F: El Salvador, Suriname, Puerto Rico, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Winner Play-off 1

Second Round schedule (home team listed first):

June 5

(A) Antigua and Barbuda vs Bermuda

(B) T&T vs Grenada

(C) Curaçao vs Barbados

(D) Nicaragua vs Montserrat

(E) Guatemala vs Dominica

(F) Suriname vs St Vincent and the Grenadines

June 6

(A) Honduras vs Cuba

(B) Costa Rica vs St Kitts & Nevis

(C) Haiti vs St Lucia

(D) Panama vs Guyana

(E) Jamaica vs Dominican Republic

(F) El Salvador vs Puerto Rico

June 8

(A) Cayman Islands vs Antigua and Barbuda

(B) Bahamas vs T&T

(C) Aruba vs Curaçao

(D) Belize vs Nicaragua

(E) Winner Play-off 2 vs Guatemala

(F) Winner Play-off 1 vs Suriname

June 9

(A) Bermuda vs Honduras

(B) Grenada vs Costa Rica

(C) Barbados vs Haiti

(D) Montserrat vs Panama

(E) Dominica vs Jamaica

(F) St Vincent and the Grenadines vs El Salvador

June 11

(A) Cuba vs Cayman Islands

(B) St Kitts & Nevis vs Bahamas

(C) St Lucia vs Aruba

(D) Guyana vs Belize

(E) Dominican Republic vs Winner Play-off 2

(F) Puerto Rico vs Winner Play-off 1

June 4

(A) Bermuda vs Cayman Islands

(B) Grenada vs Bahamas

(C) Barbados vs Aruba

(D) Montserrat vs Belize

(E) Dominica vs Winner Play-off 2

(F) St Vincent and the Grenadines vs Winner Play-off 1

June 6

(A) Antigua and Barbuda vs Cuba

(B) T&T vs St Kitts & Nevis

(C) Curaçao vs St Lucia

(D) Nicaragua vs Guyana

(E) Guatemala vs Dominican Republic

(F) Suriname vs Puerto Rico

June 7

(A) Cayman Islands vs Honduras

(B) Bahamas vs Costa Rica

(C) Aruba vs Haiti

(D) Belize vs Panama

(E) Winner Play-off 2 vs Jamaica

(F) Winner Play-off 1 vs El Salvador

June 10

(A) Cuba vs Bermuda

(A) Honduras vs Antigua and Barbuda

(B) St Kitts & Nevis vs Grenada

(B) Costa Rica vs T&T

(C) St Lucia vs Barbados

(C) Haiti vs Curaçao

(D) Guyana vs Montserrat

(D) Panama vs Nicaragua

(E) Dominican Republic vs Dominica

(E) Jamaica vs Guatemala

(F) Puerto Rico vs St Vincent and the Grenadines

(F) El Salvador vs Suriname