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Mexico held at home again, U.S. take control

Javier Hernandez of Mexico reacts after missing a chance to score against Costa Rica during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match at
Javier Hernandez of Mexico reacts after missing a chance to score against Costa Rica during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match at

(Reuters) - Mexico were booed off the field by a boisterous crowd after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Costa Rica in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday, their third successive goalless draw at the Azteca Stadium.

The United States took control of the six-team qualifying group with an impressive 2-0 win over Panama, while Honduras kept alive their hopes of making it to the finals in Brazil next year with a 2-0 win over bottom team Jamaica.

Three teams qualify automatically from CONCACAF to next year's World Cup finals in Brazil while the fourth placed team will meet Oceania winners New Zealand in a two-legged playoff for one further spot.

The United States lead at the halfway stage of the qualifying round on 10 points from five games followed by Costa Rica on eight points from the same number of games while Mexico are also on eight points having played an extra game.

Honduras have seven points from five games, Panama have six points (five games) and Jamaica two points (six games).

Mexico entered the final qualifying round in North and Central America and the Caribbean as strong favorites to top the group but while few would bet against them making it to Brazil, 'El Tri' are making hard work of it.

After scoreless draws with Jamaica and the U.S. at home and another away to Panama on Friday, Mexico were under pressure to find their scoring touch but created far too little, which inflamed their fans' passions.

As well as the boos at fulltime, the Azteca crowd called for Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre to quit or be sacked while during the game they threw objects onto the field, which could see the Mexican Football Federation fined.

The worst occurrence happened when Costa Rica forward Bryan Ruiz needed police with shields to protect him after he went to take a corner and he was subjected to a barrage of objects, including a plastic bottle, being thrown at him.

Costa Rica's disciplined defensive display also added to the Mexicans frustrations after the visitors had almost grabbed an early lead when forward Joel Campbell struck the post in the fourth minute.

Campbell then forced Mexico keeper Jose de Jesus Corona into action with a low drive after great work from Cristian Bolanos as the visitors enjoyed the early chances.

Two minutes before the break, Ruiz blasted over from a promising position just outside the area.

Mexico came out with attacking intent after the break with Carlos Salcido's near post drive well parried by Costa Rica keeper Keilor Navas.

At times 'El Tri' laid siege to the Costa Rican penalty area but they lacked invention and there were few clear cut chances as the two sides shared the points.

Goals in each half from Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson gave Juergen Klinsmann's United States victory over a Panama team who went into the game unbeaten in the final round of qualifying.

Altidore slotted home in the 36th minute, getting on the end of a low cross from Fabian Johnson after Michael Bradley had broken from midfield.

Eddie Johnson, playing in front of his home crowd in Seattle, then wrapped up the win with a confident finish after a superb cross-field pass from Geoff Cameron.

Honduras beat struggling Jamaica after Oscar Boniek Garcia put them ahead in the 10th minute after good work from Roger Espinoza.

The Reggae Boyz were reduced to 10 men in the 76th minute when Adrian Mariappa was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Honduras wrapped up victory with two minutes remaining when Roger Rojas intercepted a back pass, rounded Donovan Ricketts and slipped the ball into the empty net.

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