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US Soccer Team Qualifies for World Cup

United States' Landon Donovan celebrates his goal against Mexico during the second half of a World Cup qualifying soccer match Sept. 10, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio.
United States' Landon Donovan celebrates his goal against Mexico during the second half of a World Cup qualifying soccer match Sept. 10, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio.
Parke Brewer

The U.S. men's soccer (football) team has qualified for next year's World Cup finals in Brazil by defeating archrival Mexico, 2-0, in Columbus, Ohio.

Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan scored second half goals Tuesday to propel the U.S. team to first place in the North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF) qualifying zone, with 16 points from eight matches.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said his team played with a lot of heart to achieve its goal.

"The effort they put in from the first minute on, we knew it was going to be a tense game," he said. "We knew a lot was at stake, on the line. But throughout the entire team, everybody was so dedicated, was so hungry for this win that they really deserve a huge compliment."

The Americans' berth in the 2014 tournament was sealed after Honduras played Panama to a 2-2 tie.

"We wanted to qualify for the World Cup," said U.S. captain Clint Dempsey. "We have done that. Now we have got to make sure we do well in Brazil."

Forward Donovan, who has already played in three World Cups, was buoyed by the crowd's excitement in the qualifying win over Mexico.

"I love this sport and when I started 15 years ago, you would have never had a game like this," he said. "So I am proud to be a part of this growth, all of us have, and we should enjoy a night like this. It's pretty special."

Costa Rica also qualified for the World Cup with a 1-1 draw at last place Jamaica. Costa Rica fell to second place, one point behind the Americans in the CONCACAF standings, with Honduras in third with 11 points.

The top three teams qualify automatically for the World Cup. The fourth place team after the final two matches next month will face Oceania Zone winner New Zealand in a home-and-away playoff for a trip to Brazil.

Tuesday's loss leaves Mexico tied for fourth place with Panama with eight points, and both have a minus-two goal differential. Jamaica has four points.

Mexico hosts Panama in what will be a crucial qualifying match on October 11.

That same day the Americans play a home game against Jamaica (in Kansas City), knowing they have already booked a trip to Brazil.

Brazil will be the second World Cup tournament as a coach for the Klinsmann, who guided his home country Germany to third place in the 2006 World Cup.

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