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Vincy Heat to meet Maple Leaf


ST. VINCENT and the Grenadines will face its toughest test in an opener of World Cup Qualifiers, pitted against Canada, in second round action of the 2010 journey to South Africa.{{more}}

The draw, made last Sunday in Durban, South Africa, matches Canada, number 55 on FIFA’s latest ranking, against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, currently at number 77.

Both teams advanced to the second phase of the CONCACAF Zone by earning a bye. This is the first time that the two nations are facing each other at this level, although two friendly engagements were played here in the early 1980’s.

The two were among the 13 seeded teams, which did not require first round play.

First round action starts early in the new year, and would see eleven ties. Dominica faces Barbados, with the winner set to meet the USA.

The Turks and Caicos is slotted to play St. Lucia, with both seeking to advance to meet Guatemala. Likewise, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands juggle for a place against 2006 finalist Trinidad and Tobago.

Cuba, finalist in the World Cup in 1930, will face either Aruba or Antigua and Barbuda in the second phase, while Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis will be meeting with continental giant Mexico.

The first English speaking Caribbean Island to reach the World Cup finals, Jamaica, who made the journey to France in 1998, is set for a meeting with either the Bahamas or the British Virgin Islands.

The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico contest another of the places. The winner faces Honduras. Costa Rica comes up against either the US Virgin Islands or Grenada, while Suriname and Montserrat seek for a meeting in the second round with Guyana.

The rest of the first round play, sees El Salvador facing Anguilla, both hopeful to advance to meet Panama, and Nicaragua plays the Netherland Antilles, with the winner slated to meet 1974 World Cup finalist Haiti.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on all four previous outings in World Cup qualifications: 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004, reached the group stage.

However, with a different format employed this time around, Vincy Heat faces a stern test from other teams in the CONCACAF region.

At FIFA’s rankings released last week, St. Vincent and the Grenadines slipped from its October position of 73rd, its highest position attained to date. They share that position with 2010 World Cup Finals, host South Africa, and Georgia.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines sits at position number nine on the CONCACAF listings.(RT)