North America, Central America and the Caribbean do not count with a World Cup winner yet. Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States have been the closest. Mexico (1970 and 1986) and Costa Rica (2014) reached the quarterfinals, while the United States the semifinals (1930).
As for continental cups – Gold Cup/Concacaf Cup – Mexico has lifted the most trophies with 11, followed by United States with 6, Costa Rica 3, Canada 2 and Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala 1. Here are four lineups, highlighting the best CONCACAF retired football players and greatest managers of the region.
Coach: Manuel Lapuente
Manuel Lapuente won the Confederations Cup in 1999 and the Gold Cup in 1998. The starting lineup will be a 4-4-2, transforming into a 3-1-4-2 when the team attacks.
Rafael Márquez as a defensive midfielder. Jeff Agoos and Frank Sinclair transform into centre-backs, next to Claudio Suárez (libero). Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Mauricio Cienfuegos play as offensive midfielders. Blanco can turn into a third striker in certain occasions. Luton Shelton and Cobi Jones stay on their respective wings, crossing or pressuring the full backs. Hugo Sánchez and Jared Borgetti keep their central position; opening spaces, taking advantage of crosses and overwhelming the defense with their presence.
Coach: Bruce Arena
Bruce Arena is the most successful football coach of the United States, lifting the Gold Cup in three occasions (2002, 2005, 2017), and reaching the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002. The starting lineup will be a 4-4-2, transforming into a 2-3-4-1 when the team attacks.
Alexis Lalas and Marcelo Balboa as centre-backs, guarding goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Ricardo Gardner and Jaime Rodríguez turn into midfielders on their respective side; Gardner with freedom to attack. Wilson Palacios moves back as a pivot. Claudio Reyna controls the attack as an offensive midfielder. Clint Dempsey plays as a deep-lying forward, next to Reyna. Landon Donovan attacks from the left wing, and in some occasions, from the center. Isidoro Díaz only develops as a right winger, supporting Rodríguez defensively. David Suazo as the only striker, opening spaces or taking advantage of his goalscoring capabilities.
Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Jorge Luis Pintos led Costa Rica to the 2014 World Cup Quarterfinals, an outstanding result considering the National team competed against Uruguay, Italy and England on the group stage. The starting lineup will be a 5-4-1, transforming into a 3-3-3-1 when the team attacks.
Mauricio Wright, Gilberto Yearwood and Gilberto Martínez keep a line of three defenders. Carlos Salcido and Harold Wallace play as midfielders on their respective sides, returning to their position when the ball is lost. Pavel Pardo has a defensive role in front of the centre-backs. Marcelino Bernal as an offensive midfielder with free roam. Dwayne de Rosario and Walter Centeno attack from the wings, or support Bernal on the center, depending on the situation. Paulo Wanchope keeps his shape as the sole striker.
Coach: Tony Walter
Tony Walter has been the only head coach to lead Canada to a World Cup (1986), winning the first major trophy of the country, the CONCACAF Cup in 1985. The starting lineup will be a 4-4-2, transforming into a 2-3-3-2 when the team attacks.
Jorge «Mágico» González is the offensive focal point, controlling the ball on the opposition half, pressuring the defense with his shooting ability or creating chances for both Julio Dely and Dwight Yorke. The strikers maintain their position, taking advantage of their height and power to win long balls when needed. Alberto García plays only on the left wing, while Amado Guevara more on the center, opening space for Paul Stalteri, that has freedom to go up. Julián de Guzmán as a pivot, in front of Randy Samuel and Jason de Vos; although, like Stalteri, has liberty to go up. Bruce Wilson becomes a third centre-back, next to Samuel.
Images: Kaminu Marketing Ec (Facebook)
Players by Country
Mexico: 13, United State: 10, Canada: 8, Costa Rica: 7, Honduras: 6, Jamaica: 5, El Salvador: 3, Panama: 2, Trinidad and Tobago: 1, Guatemala: 1
In Spanish: Equipo Ideal: CONCACAF