Golden Jags drawn in Group D of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Guyana’s senior men’s national football team, the Golden Jaguars, have been drawn in Group D for the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) World Cup 2026 Qualifiers second round.

The draw was conducted on Thursday afternoon at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland and saw the Golden Jaguars being drawn alongside the likes of Panama, Nicaragua, Monserrat, and Belize in Group D.

The five-pot draw excluded the United States, Canada and Mexico, who will act as hosts for the upcoming FIFA football World Cup in 2026 and utilised FIFA’s most recent Coca-Cola World rankings to place teams in pots of 6 according to the latest December 21, 2023 rankings.

The CONCACAF Qualifiers will be conducted in three stages, with the first stage including two play-off matches, set for the FIFA international window in March.

There, Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla will do battle while the British Virgin Islands and US Virgin Islands face off. Utilising the home-and-away format, the winners of each two-legged play-off will progress and join the top 28-ranked CONCACAF teams (except USA, Canada and Mexico) in Round 2.

Round 2, the draw for which was conducted on Thursday, sees the 30 teams being drawn in to six groups of five teams. Each team will play every other team in the group once, with two home-and-two away games.

Thereafter, the top team and runner-up from each group (12 teams total) will move on to the third and final round of World Cup qualifying. The second round will be contested during the FIFA international windows in June 2024 and June 2025.

After the second round is concluded, another draw will be conducted to sort the remaining 12 teams into three groups of four teams. Each team will take on every other team in their group twice, in home-and-away matches, totalling six games per team in the final round.

The group winners from this round will secure their direct qualification to the FIFA 2026 World Cup alongside hosts USA, Mexico, and Canada.

The final round matches will be played during the FIFA international match windows of September, October, and November in 2025.

Additionally, the best two runners-up will represent CONCACAF in the FIFA Play-off Tournament. In total, the CONCACAF region could have up to eight teams at the FIFA 2026 World Cup, for the first time.

The Groups for Round 2 are as follows:

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

Group B: Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, and The Bahamas

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

Group D: Panama, Nicaragua, Guyana, Monserrat, and Belize

Group E: Jamaica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Dominica, and Playoff 2 Winner

Group F: El Salvador, Suriname, Puerto Rico, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Playoff 2 Winner.

The Golden Jaguars’ most successful outing in the World Cup Qualifiers came in 2014, when they reached the final round. The 2026 World Cup is tentatively scheduled for June to July 2026.