Late last year, CONCACAF announced that they would change their qualifying format for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil from a single six-team final group to two groups of four teams. The change was not popular with many Americans and Mexicans because it would eliminate the United States vs. Mexico World Cup qualifiers, but it appears as if any anger at the change was unnecessary. According to ESPN Deportes' Jorge Ramos, CONCACAF will ask FIFA to change their qualifying format for their 2014 World Cup back to the old six-team final group, often referred to as the Hexagonal or Hex.
The change to two four-team groups in the final round was made under the assumption that FIFA would grant the confederation four spots in the 2014 World Cup, a bump from the current 3.5 spots. With four spots in the World Cup, two four-team groups would have worked perfectly with the top two teams in each group qualifying for the World's biggest sporting event.
CONCACAF's plans were ruined on March 3 though when FIFA did not grant CONCACAF the four spots and instead said that the confederation would stay with 3.5 spots in the 2014 World Cup. Shortly after that decision was made FIFA executive committee member and CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer said that the confederation would reevaluate their new qualifying format.
The confederation's reevaluation appears to have resulted in a return to the Hex, a final round format that CONCACAF has used for the last four World Cups. Six teams would qualify for the Hex and those six teams would play each team in the Hex home and away throughout 2013. The top three teams in the group would qualify for the 2014 World Cup and the fourth place team would play in a two-legged playoff against a team from another confederation with the winner moving onto Brazil.
Amazingly, it appears as if FIFA"s refusal to grant CONCACAF four World Cup spots has saved the United States vs. Mexico World Cup qualifiers. Had CONCACAF gone to two four-team groups for the final round of qualifying, the U.S. and Mexico would have been in separate groups and the two teams would not meet in World Cup qualifying. Because FIFA did not grant the four World Cup spots, CONCACAF is reportedly going to return to the Hex and one of the best rivalries in the world will continue with two heated World Cup qualifiers in 2013.