WILLEMSTAD - Curaçao has taken a step towards the World Cup in Qatar next year. The team of interim national coach Patrick Kluivert drew 0-0 against direct competitor Guatemala and is therefore the winner of group C in the second round of the qualification in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Curaçao has as many points as Guatemala, but a better goal difference.
To actually enforce placement for the World Cup, Curaçao still has a long way to go. In the next round, the team will face Panama, the winner of group D. When Curaçao has settled with that country, it will end up in a group of eight countries in the fourth round with the strongest teams from the region: Mexico, the US, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras. The top three of that group qualify directly for the World Cup. The number four plays a play-off against a country from South America, Asia or Oceania.
Suriname also played last night. The country should have beaten Canada to qualify for the next round, just like Curaçao, but went down without a chance. The team of national coach Dean Gorré lost 4-0.
Both Suriname and Curaçao have never qualified for a World Cup before. In recent years, the teams have had access to many professionals who were born in the Netherlands or who play or have played in the Eredivisie.