France steamrolled the Netherlands 4-0 in Paris on Thursday night, climbing to the top of UEFA Qualifying Group A in the process. A brace from Thomas Lemar and additional goals from Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe marked a famous victory for the French, but this Dutch side is a shell of the one that finished third at the 2014 World Cup.
FIFA Men's World Cup
He may be suspended in La Liga, but Cristiano Ronaldo is still torching opponents. On Thursday the Portuguese star ravaged poor Faroe Islands with three goals, including one incredible scissor kick that would make even Lionel Messi blush.
Portugal won 5-1, not an unexpected result. Portugal is ranked No. 6 in the world; Faroe Islands is ranked 89th. The Portuguese need all the points they can get as they’re still three points behind Group B leader Switzerland, which also won Thursday.
Solomon Islands has 900 islands, about half a million people and was home to one of the more famous battles in World War II in the South Pacific. And it’s a couple wins away from actually making it to the World Cup.
Solomon Islands faces New Zealand in a two-legged affair Friday (3:35 a.m. EST) and Tuesday. The winner of the home-and-home series wins Oceania’s half of a World Cup bid and the right to face the fifth-place team from South America for one of the final World Cup berths.
Syria’s 3-1 victory over Qatar in World Cup qualifying on Thursday was remarkable for two reasons: 1.) Syria are now in third place in Group A heading into the final matchday, a finish that would see them improbably qualify for the fourth round playoff. 2.) Defeat for Qatar means that they’ve been mathematically eliminated from the 2018 World Cup, so they’ll be the first nation since Italy in 1934 to host the tournament without having ever taken part.
It’s do or die time in South American World Cup qualifying, and Thursday features some all-important matches between Uruguay-Argentina, Brazil-Ecuador and Chile-Paraguay. For Chile and Paraguay, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Paraguay’s World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread with only four matchdays remaining. Defeat at the Estadio Monumental in the Chilean capital of Santiago would essentially put an end to any hopes of participating in Russia, but Los Guaranies can take heart from the fact that they defeated La Roja 2-1 in their last encounter.
With four match days left in the final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying round, Mexico and the United States are on the brink of ensuring their inclusion in Russia next summer. Both could start booking accommodations by Tuesday if things fall their way.
Mexico leads the group with 14 points and it would take a massive collapse for El Tri to fail to qualify. The U.S., in third with eight points, three back of Costa Rica and one ahead of Panama. The top three automatically qualify for the World Cup while the fourth-place team must play an Asian country in a playoff to reach Russia.
Major League Soccer may be a retirement home for some, but David Villa affirmed last week you can still factor into one of the best national teams in the world while plying your trade in MLS.
So why can’t Sebastian Giovinco get a recall from Italy?
Villa earned a spot on the Spanish roster for the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers after starting the season with 19 league goals for New York City FC. These aren’t throw-away qualifiers either; Spain faces Italy for first place in UEFA Group G on Saturday.
Up until their quarterfinal defeat to Brazil, no side was more thoroughly entertaining at the 2014 World Cup than Colombia. James Rodriguez was the tournament’s standout performer and plenty of additional firepower was provided by the likes of Juan Cuadrado, Jackson Martinez and Teofilo Gutierrez.
New York City FC striker David Villa has earned a recall to the Spanish national team for crunch World Cup qualifiers against Italy (Sept. 2) and Liechtenstein (Sept. 5). Villa last played for La Furia Roja at the 2014 World Cup, but he retired after the nation’s group stage exit.
Russian hackers Fancy Bears dropped a complete non-story this week regarding the use of banned substances in soccer. You see, the typical SHOCKING TRUTHS UNCOVERED AND REVEALED that we’ve come to associate with hacking were nonexistent in this information dump, which is insane given football’s history of being corrupt to the core.