The single table formats in North and South America create a more straightforward final day of World Cup qualifying. There are some permutations to ponder and some weird scenarios — but the final standings reveal the pecking order rather quickly.
Most of the uncertainty surrounds the final berths in both confederations. Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay will fight it out for the two remaining confirmed berths and the playoff place in South America; Honduras, Mexico and Panama must sort out the last direct spot and the sole playoff berth in North America.
Here is a look at the circumstances on both continents heading into the final day:
Qualified: Argentina, Colombia
Assured of a playoff place or better: Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay
Eliminated: Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela
Chile and Ecuador enter the final day with the inside track to secure the two remaining direct berths into the World Cup. A draw between the two sides in Santiago will send both of them through to Brazil. Uruguay must defeat Argentina in Montevideo and hope either Chile or Ecuador prevails comprehensively in order to climb into the top four. Otherwise, a playoff with Jordan beckons next month.
Qualified: Costa Rica, United States
Assured of a playoff place or better: Honduras
Honduras can guarantee the final confirmed ticket to next summer’s World Cup with a point against already-eliminated Jamaica in Kingston. Mexico stands to benefit if Honduras fails to secure the desired result at the Office. El Tri can climb into the top three with a Honduran setback and a two-goal victory over the Ticos, but a point will suffice to arrange a playoff with New Zealand next month. Panama must defeat the United States in Panama City and pray for a Costa Rica win in San Jose in order to grab the playoff berth and knock out the Mexicans.