The United States kicks off the hexagonal round of FIFA World Cup qualifying with two of the most difficult matches they’ll face on the road to Russia. On Friday, the USA host Mexico at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Four days later, they face Costa Rica at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica.
FIFA Men's World Cup
The Hex kicks off on November 11 in Columbus, Ohio with the big one: the United States versus Mexico. El Tri manager Juan Carlos Osorio has announced his squad for that match and their trip to Central America to play Panama four days later.
While Osorio had the luxury of naming largely experimental squads for September’s final fourth round World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Honduras, as well as their October friendlies against New Zealand and Panama, the Colombian has named his strongest possible side in an attempt to end the Dos a Cero spell.
For Argentina, a nightmarish World Cup qualifying campaign somehow managed to grow worse outside of an international break. In early September, Bolivia had managed to gain an unlikely 0-0 draw with Chile and a 3-0 victory over Peru in CONMEBOL qualifying. However, FIFA have ruled that Bolivia fielded an ineligible player in both matches, defender Nelson Cabrera, resulting in automatic 3-0 wins for both Chile and Peru.
Mexico has previously stated its desire to host the 2026 World Cup, a tournament that will almost certainly be given to the CONCACAF region, but now it's getting serious.
Following CAF in 2010 (South Africa), CONMEBOL in 2014 (Brazil), UEFA in 2018 (Russia) and AFC in 2022 (Qatar), FIFA has all but promised the tournament to North America.
It's official: the mascot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will be a wolf that wears sunglasses, takes selfies and may or may not be based on Cristiano Ronaldo.
The wolf is named "Zabivaka" or "the one who scores."
In a completely unsubstantiated but hilarious occurrence, we’ve caught wind of a recent development regarding South African international striker Tokelo Rantie.
In recent times, the rule changes FIFA have implemented have been with regards to self-examination; changing their own internal processes in the face of ongoing investigations and claims of corruption. On the footballing end of the spectrum, president Gianni Infantino has been trotting out his plan to kill the World Cup with a 48-team edition. Beyond the influence of Infantino, it appears as though Australian rock band AC/DC are the biggest catalyst for change in the international governing body.
What is there to say about the England National Football Team and their governing body that hasn’t already been said? England is, well, a joke. With an underwhelming nil-nil draw marking the start of the Gareth Southgate era, are we simply looking at the next Steve McClaren in charge of the Three Lions?
It’s hard to imagine that only a few months ago we were considering the possibility of Brazil missing a World Cup for the first time since the tournament began back in 1930.
Well, the tables have turned for the Selecao as well as for everyone else in South America.
The Chileans looked like the stronghold of the continent after claiming two consecutive Copa Americas. Now their mojo seems to be gone as they have lost two and tied one of their last four matches.
Right now, the Italian national side does not have an identity. On paper, drawing a match with Spain and winning against Macedonia might seem perfectly acceptable, but those who watched the games will know that there’s trouble afoot.
Spain should have won by a comfortable margin but consistently shot themselves in the foot when it came to actually putting the ball in the net. Italy were bad and deserved to lose.