And so it’s settled. Last night, Peru claimed the final spot in the 32-team field for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, bringing us to the final event before the June 14 kick off at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow: the draw to determine the eight groups of four for the finals.
Argentina showed it can do goals without Lionel Messi on Tuesday in Russia. That defense though could use some work after Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi destroyed the rearguard of La Albiceleste, Javier Mascherano in particular.
Argentina took a two-goal lead in the opening 36 minutes in a friendly against Nigeria, but Iwobi scored twice to spearhead a 4-2 victory for the Super Eagles at Krasnodar Stadium. His second goal absolutely eviscerated Mascherano as the Arsenal attacker nutmegged the Barcelona man on his way to the final goal of the match.
Senegal qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia by beating South Africa 2-0 in a World Cup qualification replay on Friday. For the second goal, South Africa capitulated in perhaps the most painful way possible: the shambolic own goal.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has come through on his promise to make the World Cup bidding process more transparent and open to scrutiny after the fallout following the 2010 vote which saw the 2018 and 2022 World Cups handed to Russia and Qatar.
On June 13, 2018, 211 member federations and the 38-person FIFA council will decide who’ll win the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and all of those votes will be open to public viewing.
Dating back to 1997, Cameroon and German sportswear giants Puma have enjoyed an extremely positive relationship whilst also pushing the FIFA laws of the game. Cameroon’s success over this 20-year period — they’ve won the African Cup of Nations three times, qualified for four World Cups and finished runners-up at the 2003 Confederations Cup — has only served to strengthen the bond between the international side and the company outfitting them with an always robust look.
As much as Bruce Arena wants you to believe CONCACAF has the toughest World Cup qualifying cycle, North America and the Caribbean have nothing on Africa. Take Gabon, for instance, which is blaming orange juice for its 3-0 loss to Morocco, which ended Gabon World Cup hopes on Saturday.
For those looking forward to turning on their television sets in late June to get a glimpse of the comforting quadrennial event that is the United States versus Ghana, you’ll be shocked to discover that the World Cup will no longer feature a clash of the old enemies. Tragically, a rivalry dating back to time immemorial has been scuppered.