Sheffield Wednesday: In-form JJ facing World Cup misery

Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn Rovers....Owls Jermaine Johnson turns past Rovers Josh Morris
Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn Rovers....Owls Jermaine Johnson turns past Rovers Josh Morris
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Jermaine Johnson’s hopes of playing in the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil have been dealt a double blow.

Jamaica head into tomorrow’s away qualifier against Honduras still bottom of their group after two defeats in four days.

The only consolation for the Owls winger from the 2-1 setback inflicted by the USA in Kingston is that he has won glowing reports for his performance.

Johnson, who had seen the Reggae Boyz slip up 1-0 at home to Mexico, was recalled to the starting line-up against the US in a front two with Ryan Johnson.

Former Owls loan midfielder Stuart Holden was on America’s bench and did not get on.

Jamaica went behind early but JJ is said to have caused the US real problems with his skill, pace, dribbling and crossing

He also forced a save from Tim Howard with a 20-yard shot, helped put the visitors under seige and created a second-half chance from which Jamaica hit the post.

But JJ, who has often not completed 90 minutes for Wednesday, went off after 68 minutes.

Jermaine Beckford scored a last-minute equaliser but the US snatched victory in stoppage time.

JJ will be 33 next month so the next World Cup would realistically present his final chance to play in the finals.

But Jamaica are bottom of a six-man group after five games - the halfway stage of their campaign.

Holden, who sharpened his readiness for international football by playing on loan for Wednesday from Bolton last season, must stand a good chance of being in the finals.

The USA lead the group, which also comprises Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama.

Holden, one of his country’s best players before he suffered a serious injury, will hope to figure in his team’s next two qualifiers, against Panama in Seattle tomorrow and Honduras in Utah a week tomorrow.

But Jamaica desperately need a win against Honduras tomorrow.

They are due to fly to the South American country after following the defeat in Kingston with a two-day training camp in Miami.

Jamaica manager Theo Whitmore says: “It was a tough loss but we have to stay focused and hope for the best.”

The country’s technical director, Alfredo Montesso, said: “The team has been playing well and I know if they can be more competent on their finishing then the results would be better.

“This team needs more time to play together to build the chemistry, as they are talented individually.”

US boss Jurgen Klinsmann said: “Overall the team did well.”