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Page last updated at 07:24 GMT, Sunday, 11 October 2009 08:24 UK

US & Mexico qualify for World Cup

Conor Casey
Colorado Rapids striker Casey slots his second goal against Honduras

The United States secured their sixth successive World Cup appearance with a dramatic 3-2 victory in Honduras.

Conor Casey scored his first two international goals in the second half and Landon Donovan added another.

But they were reprieved in the 87th minute when Carlos Pavon blazed a penalty over the bar.

The US top the group with one match left, Mexico are also through after a 4-1 win over El Salvador and Costa Rica beat Trinidad and Tobago to go third.

Mexico took the lead on 25 minutes through Marvin Gonzalez's own goal, but the match remained close until they gave themselves breathing space with a second from Cuauhtemoc Blanco with 20 minutes to go.

With six minutes left, 36-year-old Juan Francisco Palencia made it 3-0. Julio Martinez scored a consolation from a free-kick shortly after, but Carlos Vela added a fourth for Mexico in injury time.

Javier Aguirre, who succeeded Sven-Goran Eriksson in April, said: "I feel calm. When you achieve the goals you were hired to do you feel satisfied."

And Mexico skipper Rafa Marquez added: "This is a great team and Javier Aguirre is a great coach.

"We worked hard and got the job done, the credit goes to all to my team-mates and to the coach. They are all amazing."

The top three teams qualify from the Concacaf group and Honduras are still hopeful of their only their second World Cup appearance, and first since 1982.

If they retain their fourth place after a final match at El Salvador they will play the fifth team from the South America group in a play-off.


Torino midfielder Julio Cesar De Leon delighted a 40,000 crowd when he curved a free kick from just outside the penalty area over the wall to the right of American goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Casey levelled in the 55th minute when he outjumped a defender and outmuscled goalkeeper Noel Valladares for his first goal in 15 international appearances.

He then put his side ahead when he split two defenders, collected a pass from Landon Donovan and scored from 16 yards.

Donovan added a 20-yard free-kick but De Leon scored a second and after missing from the penalty spot Pavon was again too high with an open header in the 89th minute.

"You don't want to go into the last game leaving anything to chance," a jubilant Donovan said.

"This isn't an easy place to play. No-one else has won here in qualifying and we just did."

Coach Bob Bradley added: "We're very proud. We understand the responsibility we have every time we step on the field for our fans, for our country."

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