December 8, 2019

A history of the debuts of CONCACAF teams at the World Cup

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SOCHI, Russia – With Panama set to play in its first ever FIFA match on Monday versus Belgium, CONCACAF looks back on the debuts of every CONCACAF representative to have appeared at a FIFA .

Mexico (Uruguay 1930) – The first two matches at the very first World Cup were played at the same time and both involved CONCACAF nations. Mexico were unable to overcome a tough France side at the Estadio Pocitos in Montevideo, losing 4-1 with Juan Carreno scoring the lone Mexican goal.

United States (Uruguay 1930) – The U.S. was the other CONCACAF nation at Uruguay 1930, and while Mexico lost to France, the U.S. defeated Belgium 3-0 at Montevideo’s Estadio Parque Central. Bartholomew McGhee, Thomas Florie and Bert Patenaude scored for the U.S.

Cuba (France 1938) – Cuba’s first and only World Cup appearance came in 1938 as they drew Romania 3-3 in their debut at the Stade Chapou in Toulouse, with Hector Socorro bagging a brace and Jose Antonio Magrina also scoring.

El Salvador (Mexico 1970) – El Salvador’s first ever World Cup match came at the historic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, however, the Cuscatlecos were defeated 3-0 by Belgium.

Haiti (Germany 1974) – Haiti’s lone World Cup appearance began at one of the great stadiums in world football, Munich’s Olympiastadion. The Haitians fell 3-1 to Italy, with Emmanuel Sanon scoring for the Caribbean side.

Honduras (Spain 1982) – It is never easy to face the host nation at a World Cup, let alone in a first ever World Cup match, but Honduras performed with aplomb in drawing Spain 1-1 at the Estadio Luis Casanova in Valencia. Hector Zelaya scored to earn the Catrachos’ its first World Cup point.

Canada (Mexico 1986) – Canada’s first ever World Cup match was a difficult one as it faced then-European champions France. Still, the Canadians held their own and were narrowly defeated 1-0 at the Estadio Nou Camp in Leon.

Costa Rica (Italy 1990) – Costa Rica’s trend of winning its World Cup openers started in its first World Cup appearance in 1990, as the Ticos took down Scotland 1-0 thanks to a Juan Cayasso goal at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa

Jamaica (France 1998) – The Reggae Boyz’s first World Cup match may have ended in a 3-1 defeat to Croatia, but Robbie Earle’s goal certainly put the Jamaica on its feet at the Stade Felix-Bollaert in Lens.

Trinidad and Tobago (Germany 2006) – Trinidad and Tobago’s first World Cup match remains part of World Cup lore, as Shaka Hislop produced one of the finest goalkeeping efforts in World Cup history in helping the Soca Warriors, who were playing with 10 men for the final 44 minutes, earn a 0-0 draw with Sweden at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.

IMAGE: Action Between the host Spain (red shirt) and Honduras at Estadio Valencia, during the FIFA World Cup Spain on June 16, 1982. (Photo Fifa Files

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