Whitecaps FC players set for important World Cup qualifying matches

Richards and Miller continue pursuit towards Brazil 2014

Dane Richards Jamaica Kenny Miller Scotland

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It is a quiet week for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, as the soccer world refocuses of the qualifying process for the game’s showpiece event in Brazil 2014.

For some, the quest to make the next FIFA World Cup is in its infancy stages, while for others, matters have reached the business end.

That is the case for two Whitecaps FC players over the next week, as Scotland striker Kenny Miller and Jamaica winger Dane Richards look to lead their countries’ pursuits of making the next World Cup.

Richards is part of a Jamaica squad heading into the final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF next year - known as ‘The Hexagonal’ or ‘The Hex’. The next few days are crucial to the Caribbean nation’s hopes of making a return to the World Cup since their inaugural appearance in France 1998.

Level on seven points with Guatemala and the United States in CONCACAF Group A, Richards and The Reggae Boyz can take a huge step towards ‘The Hex’ by earning a result versus Guatemala in Central America on Friday night. Jamaica will then host Caribbean rivals Antigua & Barbuda in Kingston next Tuesday night, looking to finish top two in Group A.

After drawing at home to Balkan nations Serbia and Macedonia last month, Miller and Scotland are in need of results in order to push up European zone Group A. First up is a short trip to the Cardiff City Stadium to face British ‘Home Nations’ rivals Wales on Friday night, with both countries in need of a win after slow starts to qualifying.

Scotland will want the boost of an away win in Wales, as their next port of call will be on the European continent and a clash with resurgent Belgium at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels next Tuesday evening.

With matches scheduled through to October 2013, the aim for Miller and Scotland is to claim top spot of Group A and assure their nation’s place in the World Cup for the first time since France 1998.

Four more qualifying spots will also be available for the eight best group runners-up from the nine European qualifying groups. In November 2013, four two-leg playoffs series will be played to determine four more European qualifiers for Brazil 2014.