The match schedules have been finalized for both the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands senior men’s national soccer teams qualifying matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The CONCACAF first-round qualifying matches will be played in two windows — in March 2021 and June 2021 — with the USVI and BVI among 30 Caribbean, Latin and North Americans teams taking part.
With the 30 teams broken down into six groups, each team will play the other teams in their group, with two matches held at home and two away. It is unknown if spectators will be allowed in the matches, due to any local COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time.
The U.S. Virgin Islands, ranked 207th in the FIFA world standings, was drawn into Group A along with El Salvador (No. 70), Antigua and Barbuda (No. 126), Grenada (No. 160) and Montserrat (No. 183).
The British Virgin Islands, ranked 208th, is in Group C with Curacao (No. 76), Guatemala (No. 126), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (No. 168), and Cuba (No. 180).
In the first round, the USVI National Team will play home matches against Antigua and Barbuda on Saturday, March 27, and El Salvador on Saturday, June 5. Both will be played at the USVI Soccer Association’s Bethlehem Soccer Complex on St. Croix.
The USVI’s road matches will come against Grenada on Tuesday, March 30, and against Montserrat on Wednesday, March 2.
Meanwhile, the BVI National Team will host Guatemala on March 27 and Curacao on June 2, and have road matches against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on March 30 and Cuba on June 2. Both of the BVI’s home matches will be played at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground on Tortola.
Other group pairings are Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Aruba in Group B; Panama, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica and Anguilla in Group D; Haiti, Nicaragua, Belize, St. Lucia and Turks and Caicos Islands in Group E; and Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas in Group F.
The top team in each group advances to the second round, also being held in June 2021, with home-and-away matches determining the three final round qualifiers.
The top five teams from CONCACAF in the FIFA world rankings — No. 9 Mexico, No. 22 United States, No. 47 Jamaica, No. 51 Costa Rica and No. 64 Honduras — have already qualified for the final round matches, scheduled for September-November 2021, January 2022 and March 2022.
The top three finishers from the final round advance to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, while the fourth-place team qualifies for the FIFA Intercontinental Playoff in June 2022.