World Cup Qualifying

TU_BLA

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So WCD qualifying for 2022 begins in earnest this week. It's like Christmas. 25 UEFA matches today and tomorrow, 5 CAF WCQ today, 4 CONCACAF matches tomorrow, 5 CONMEBOL qualifiers tomorrow, 6 Asian qualifiers tomorrow.

Time to have some fun! Pick 1 surprise team from each region to reach the World Cup (or play-in game) in QATAR:

UEFA Norway
CONCACAF Canada
CONMEBOL Paraguay
Africa Cape Verde Islands
Asia Iraq
 

astonmartin708

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I’m going to say one of the Balkan states other than Croatia. I think there’s a chance Uruguay misses the WC this go round.
 

TU_BLA

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I’m going to say one of the Balkan states other than Croatia. I think there’s a chance Uruguay misses the WC this go round.
I think Chile or Colombia are the South American team that misses out. Chile just seems to be at the end of their run. Colombia has some aging stars that have sort of flaked out, most importantly, James Rodriguez and the Charas. And Paraguay showed well at Copa America and have some really good players.
 

TU_BLA

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1st major upset result. Kazakhstan score at the death of stoppage time to tie Ukraine after Ukraine scored at 90+2 to take a 2-1 lead.

This game should not have been close. Ukraine is #25 in the official FIFA World Rankings, Kazhakstan is #124.
 

TU_BLA

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Senegal w/ Sadio Mane beat Togo 2-0. I think Senegal qualifies for the WC this go round. They've got some good quality players.

There are some quality games coming up at 1:45 on ESPN+ if you can sneak it onto your work computers. Russia vs Croatia, Switzerland vs Greece, Portugal vs Ireland, Denmark vs Scotland, Norway vs Netherlands (ESPN2).

It's hard tuning in to one of the African qualifiers after the introductions. Many of the countries have the same color schemes and themes on their flags combining red, yellow, green, and black for the central African nations, and the Muslim nations using a combo of red, black, and white. The streaming feeds don't indicate which country is wearing what color so you have a team in green jerseys, yellow shorts and green socks vs a team in a white jersey, green shorts, and white socks. So you're rooting for one team to find out it's not the team you thought you were rooting for. And it doesn't look like most African nations have opened up their stadiums to fans yet. No fans at the Central African Republic stadium and no fans in Senegal for their game.
 
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HuffyCane

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Look at the score on the chyron. The color behind the team name is the color kit they are wearing on the field. FIFA feed rule unless that’s changed.
 

TU_BLA

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Look at the score on the chyron. The color behind the team name is the color kit they are wearing on the field. FIFA feed rule unless that’s changed.
Yeah, the African game feeds did not have that. I know what you're talking about but they absolutely didn't have that
 

TU_BLA

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So shocking result right now is Ireland beating Portugal 1-0 with about 3 minutes left in regular time. Ronaldo had a PK stopped in the 8th minute and that really changed the game. Portugal has had the better of play and attack for most of the game and they can't find any cracks to shoot through. Ronaldo has had 6-7 shots blocked. Irish GK is playing out of his mind right now.

And this is dad's side of the family vs moms side of the family in this one

EDIT: Ronaldo just scored in the 89t minute to tie the game. And he becomes the top int'l goal scorer of all time with this goal.
 

quincy101

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As noted, CP is out of England, in camp but NOT in El Salvador. Beer?halter left him off the plane. He may get some minutes in the remaining 2 games.
 

TU_BLA

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As noted, CP is out of England, in camp but NOT in El Salvador. Beer?halter left him off the plane. He may get some minutes in the remaining 2 games.
Steffen is also out and Matt Turner will start in goal for the US tonight.

Interesting side note: FC Tulsa star Joaquin Rivas will play for El Salvador tonight. Rivas was El Salvador's leading scorer in the Gold Cup.
 

TU_BLA

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2 major upsets brewing:

Sweden is leading Spain 2-1, 10 minutes into the 2nd half. Spain scored in the first few minutes of this one and Sweden equalized just 1 minute later. Sweden scored their 2nd in the 55th minute and has really looked like the better, more creative side in this one.

The other is Bulgaria and Italy are knotted at 1 in the 57th minute 1-1 in Italy. As good as Italy looked in the Euros, they've looked equally as bad and inept in this one. Still time, but the current score line is bound to be noticed around the world and draw criticism from Italian fans
 

TU_BLA

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Sweden wins 2-1. Adama Traore is one of Spain's best players and he didn't come on until about the 75th minute. He was effective but by that point Sweden had hunkered down and was really good on defense.

Bulgaria is going to see out the draw with Italy 1-1. Italy is unbeaten in 35 straight
 

TU_BLA

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The stats from this Italy/Bulgaria match are crazy:

Possession 71%-29% Italy
Shots: 27-4 Italy
Shots on Target: 8-2 Italy
Corners: 10-0 Italy
Passes: 836-251 Italy
Passes Completed: 730-149 Italy


At least Bulgaria was committed to their game plan
 

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No killer instinct for the good guys. Refs were awful. El Salvador played hard, but also played typical bull crap game that makes people hate this sport.
 

TU_BLA

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It was an odd game. The Spanish speaking ref crew did not do the US any favors as ES got away with a lot of fouling and hacking and no fouls. The US got called for a lot of chintzy fouls. I've said it many times, CONCACAF needs to bring in refs from outside the region to referee games between the US/Canada and the Spanish speaking countries in the region.

The US attack also reminded me of watching 12 and 13 year olds play who decide 10 yards is not close enough to put a shot on frame so they instead try to dribble closer and get closed down and thus no shots on. The US was by far more dangerous last night and had the best chances. Turner really only had one shot that concerned him and that was the one where the attacker broke Yedlin down (I think it was Yedlin) and put a shot just over the bar from a tough angle.

The backline was remarkably unnoticeable last night as they were solid in their play.

I would say that Berhalter is saving guys like Pulisic, Brooks, Steffen for the next game against Canada and why they didn't even make the trip to El Salvador.
 

quincy101

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Beer?halter's chase for WC qualification is not off to a rousing start. Rather like TU's start in football. I mean, 90% of ES players come from their domestic league. Is Beer?halter the new Monty???
 

HuffyCane

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No reason to put your best player who is fragile and always banged up into a typical CONCACAF hackfest and end up hurt.

Surprised me didn’t see the B team. Points are the road are precious. The tie is an great result, not excellent, but we will certainly take it.
 
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nevadanatural

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It was obvious that the US was way more talented than the Salvadorans but there was no real feeling of a team. These guys are really young, some look like high school kids, so I’m hoping they come together and get some chemistry to go with that talent. I think it would have been a different result also if Pulisic had been playing in place of the guy who started on the left wing. Boy that Salvadoran crowd is rough. I’ve never seen security with riot shields required in order for the visitors to get a corner kick off.

I really like Turner but last night I saw why Bla said he needs to improve with his feet, it’s pretty bad. I’m not a big Steffen fan.
 
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HuffyCane

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It was obvious that the US was way more talented than the Salvadorans but there was no real feeling of a team. These guys are really young, some look like high school kids, so I’m hoping they come together and get some chemistry to go with that talent. I think it would have been a different result also if Pulisic had been playing in place of the guy who started on the left wing. Boy that Salvadoran crowd is rough. I’ve never seen security with riot shields required in order for the visitors to get a corner kick off.

I really like Turner but last night I saw why Bla said he needs to improve with his feet, it’s pretty bad. I’m not a big Steffen fan.
I’ve been to a game at all of the major Concacaf countries. We’ve been surrounded by riot police the entire time. In Mexico, there’s a 12 foot chainlink and barbed wire fence with riot police on the inside and outside to keep you safe inside the cage.
 
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TU_BLA

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I’ve been to a game at all of the major Concacaf countries. We’ve been surrounded by riot police the entire time. In Mexico, there’s a 12 foot chainlink and barbed wire fence with riot police on the inside and outside to keep you safe inside the cage.
The 15' chain link fence reminded me of the old WWF cage matches where one guy always left on a stretcher with his head split open. In watching a recent Liga MX match either Tijuana or Monterrey had a similar fence with their bright shiny new stadium. It's sad really.

And Konrad de la Fuente is the player who started on the left up front yesterday. He is a supremely technically gifted player. My biggest problem with him is he wants to always have the perfect shot instead of throwing stuff towards the net. You've got to realize that guys like Sargent and Prefok live on picking up loose balls in the box and being garbage men. The US did not do this nearly enough last night to take advantage of the superior size and athleticism up top vs ES' backline.

And the US had a huge advantage with guys like Dest, Antonee Robinson, Yedlin, Adams, and McKennie. El salvador had no answer for any of those guys when they decided to get involved in the attack.
 

drboobay

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Yedlin played ok. Dest was fun to watch in the attack but did not do much defending. I think Brooks was on the bench. Reyna - disappears too much.
 

nevadanatural

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After a very deliberate start that first half of US/Canada ended up very exciting. Prior to Pulisic putting that one off the post the best shot for the US was from a Canadian player, the goalie made a fantastic save to prevent an own goal. The US has been pretty solid in the back other than that horrible play by Dest that resulted in a pretty tough shot on goal. Turner made an excellent reflex save. I hope Dest isn’t seriously injured. So far I’m liking Aaronson, Pulisic and Lletget on offense. Pefok has been pretty good but if he hadn’t ducked on the volley by Lletget he might have redirected it in. I might have ducked too on a shot that hard though.
 

TU_BLA

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Disaster for the US as they have controlled much of the flow of play and Yedlin fell asleep against the best Canadian player. The US still looks dangerous in the attack.

Apparently Canadian players have been taking diving and acting lessons from the Mexicans
 

nevadanatural

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Very disappointing result. We really needed the three points at home but Canada is a good team. We need to steal the return match.
 

quincy101

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A point on the road-OK fine. A point at home-I'm officially worried. No McKennie, no Reyna, no Steffen...should have been no problem. A lot of games left, but dang, this start sucks and very worrisome. One goal in two games??? Who's going to score for us??

BTW, what's going on with McKennie? I think it's some kind of Covid beef.
 
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drboobay

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By far the 3 best teams are USA, Canada and Mexico. El Salvador is a bit of a sleeper. But it would be a shame if those 3 do not go through.
 

HuffyCane

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The key to CONCACAF is winning all your home games and stealing 3 to 4 points on the road.

We are in a hole now for no reason.

We have too much talent for this result. Brooks and Yedlin should be ashamed.

That said there was enough time to make tactical adjustments and still win. We failed to do that, most likely for what looked like strategic reasons called from the sidelines and tactical reasons due to conditioning. This should not be happening.

I never thought I’d say this, but if there isn’t 3 points in Honduras, a place we have won once, when Landon was in his prime and Conor Casey was allowed to bull around for 80 minutes, then the coach needs to go. I don’t know who we would get but Phil Neville would be better at this point. That ridiculous situation with Klinsmann was allowed to continue until it was too late. If you look at the schedule, we can’t afford to wait. We need to be building a substantial lead and right the eff now.
 
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quincy101

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then the coach needs to go
With Beer?halter it's all about the "personnel" & his "build from the back" strategy. With the players we have, we need to attack, attack, attack! 8 to 10 passes in our half, waiting for an opening, has resulted in 1 goal in 2 games. Once again, Acosta did not impress. Antonee Robinson did. He needs to be on that left wing back position always. I was shocked CP got the full 90. He was a warrior after not playing in over 2 weeks. Phil Neville would be fantastic to replace Beer?halter. And Jesse Marsch, who wants the USMNT bad, is not an option with his new gig at RB Leipzig.

Has anyone noticed Beer?halter's goal celebrations on the sideline? He looks like a dork, or maybe a dweeb. Or if you prefer, a dwork. More venting to come.

BTW, it is a covid "protocol" issue between McKennie & Beer?halter. Weston probably failed to put his mask back on between bites at a team meal. McKennie has apologized & will hopefully play vs Honduras-if Beer?halter lets him.
 
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