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U.S., Jamaica to battle in World Cup prelims

7/30/2011

Jürgen Klinsmann has been on the job barely a day, and already he's got a World Cup plan -- thanks to FIFA.

Saturday's 2014 World Cup qualifying draw in Rio de Janeiro placed the U.S. in Group A for CONCACAF's semifinal round of qualifying, which will run from next June through mid-October 2012.

The Yanks will be teamed with Jamaica and two countries who survive second-round eliminations, which begin in September and run through mid-November. The region's qualifiers began in June, with five minnows advancing to the second round.

The U.S and Jamaica will be joined by the victors in second-round groups E (Grenada, Guatemala, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Belize) and F (Haiti, Antigua & Barbuda, Curacao and U.S. Virgin Islands).

Mexico and Costa Rica are seeded into Group B in the semifinal round, and Honduras and Cuba into Group C. The first- and second-place teams in each semifinal group will advance to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, to be held from February through October 2013, with the top three nations heading to Brazil and the fourth-place finisher playing against Oceania's top team for another berth.