Honduras all but assured of World Cup berth

Costa Rica's Alvaro Saborio (L) fights for the ball with Honduras' Maynor Figueroa during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match at Olimpico stadium in San Pedro Sula October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

(Reuters) - Honduras moved to the brink of securing their place in next year's World Cup finals after beating Costa Rica 1-0 in a CONCACAF qualifier on Friday.

Honduras striker Jerry Bengtson scored the only goal of the match midway through the second half to clinch the victory at the Olympic Stadium in San Pedro Sula.

The result lifted Honduras six points clear of Mexico and Panama in the battle for CONCACAF's third and final automatic spot. The United States (16) and Costa Rica (15) occupy the first two places and have already qualified for Brazil.

Honduras are already assured of at least a playoff spot, against the Oceania winners New Zealand, and could clinch their berth in Brazil later on Friday if Mexico and Panama draw their match at the Azteca Stadium.

If either Mexico or Panama wins, Honduras would only need a point from their final match against Jamaica on Tuesday to reach the finals for the third time and the second in a row.

Jamaica are yet to win a match in the six-nation final round of qualifying and only have a slim mathematical chance of making it to Brazil.

They were playing the U.S. in Kansas City on Friday needing a victory and other results to go their way to avoid elimination.

(Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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