The list of the 32 nations competing in the World Cup was finalized on Wednesday night. That also meant the list of 179 nations not competing in the World Cup was also finalized. While 15 percent of the countries who compete in FIFA will be preparing for the World Cup draw on Dec. 1, the remaining countries, constituting most of the world’s population, will be wondering “What if…” for the next four years.
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.
Generation Z . . . psh. Am I right my Baby Boomers? Baby Boomers . . . cripes. You feel me my Gen Z-ers? But not so fast — I’m here to bridge the incommunicable divide between those that’ve had the same job out in the ‘burbs for 50 years now and those that’ve hopped between three jobs over the past week in Gentrified City.
Football will be our olive branch, and footballers turned managers will be our common ground. For boomers, sit back and enjoy the nostalgia. For Generation Z, look at Antonio Conte without any hair!
The fallout from Italy’s shock elimination from the 2018 World Cup at the hands of Sweden has been largely centered around two things: the ongoing Italian footballing apocalypse and the minuscule possibility of 36-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning to the fold for Zweden.
Sweden National Team manager Janne Andersson would like all of you to know that there is NO WAY Sweden's all-time goalscorer and all-around entertainment generator Zlatan Ibrahimovic is going to play for Sweden at the World Cup, which they just qualified for, much to the chagrin of Italy. So just get that out of your heads. Zlatan, the man who once said "a World Cup without me is nothing to watch" is not going to play in the World Cup. He is retired from international football and currently rehabbing an awful knee injury. IT IS NOT HAPPENING.
People have started to write the obituaries for Italian football.
Italy is a young nation. It has old cities, even older cultures. But, as a country, it was only unified in 1861. That’s only slightly older than the form of codified football we know today. It should be no surprise that Italy has traditionally been so close to football: it’s simply a question of historical proximity.
Following a 1-0 defeat to Sweden on Friday, Italy is on the brink of failing to qualify for the World Cup for just the second time in the national team’s history. Italy must rebound in the return leg on Monday in Milan if the Azzurri want to reach a 19th World Cup.
For almost an entire year, Argentina’s national team refused to speak with the press. The boycott was the result of a terrible run in qualifying which led to extremely harsh criticism from the media, including an unfounded substantiation that Ezequiel Lavezzi had been dropped for smoking pot after training.