Few would argue against major international tournaments being the biennial highlight of the footballing calendar. They’re a marketing groups’ wet dream; hundreds of millions worldwide tuning in on their official World Cup Samsung 60’’ flat screens to watch Pepsi and Coca Cola adverts interspersed with 45-minute segments of the very best in the game representing their motherlands at the highest level.
FIFA Men's World Cup
Bolivia got off to an absolute flyer against Ecuador on Tuesday in La Paz. This shouldn’t surprise anyone as Bolivia’s home gournd, Estadio Hernando Siles at an altitude of 11,932 feet above sea level, is almost a literal deathtrap for CONMEBOL opposition.
La Verde took a fourth minute lead through Pablo Escobar, the 38-year-old attacking midfielder just thrashing a shot from almost 25 yards out. The shot was sensational, flying into the top corner. However, Rodrigo Ramallo also deserves credit for applying the assist from his a**.
The life and times of Serge Aurier are anything but straightforward. Last month, the Ivory Coast and Paris Saint-Germain defender was fined and sentenced to two months in prison for assaulting a police officer.
We love a good mudder.
Colombia and Uruguay drew 2-2 Tuesday in what could only be called a mudder, a World Cup qualifier played in a driving rainstorm in which no player's jersey emerged clean. It was glorious.
Watch these highlights and then meet us on the other side. We're going to talk about mudders some more.
The England National Team's Wayne Rooney era appears to be drawing to a close after interim manager Gareth Southgate announced the captain would be dropped against Slovenia.
After a performance from Rooney against Malta that involved a lot of standing around and not very much doing things, Southgate must have felt he had no choice in the matter, even though Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson had been cowed into keeping Rooney in their respective England teams. Southgate appears to have followed the example set by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho in dropping the player.
By any measure, Gerard Pique is one of the best central defenders ever, an omnipresent force in the back lines of Champions League-winning Barcelona sides and World Cup and European Championship-winning Spanish sides. Pique announced his decision to retire from the latter following the 2018 World CUp in Russia, and now everyone is talking about his shirts.
The pre-match team photo is so innocuous and brief that it hardly even registers when watching it take place. Like players holding the hands of little child mascots when entering the field, it's just one of those things that happens. Don't question it, don't even think about it, let's just get it over with.
The starting XI gets in two balanced rows, the players in the back drape their arms over one another and everyone stares blankly into the camera for a moment. What’s the point of the exercise? Where does the photo end up? Who’s getting any joy from this photo op?
After three consecutive major final losses, Argentina decided to rebuild their squad. Edgardo Bauza became their third coach in just over two years, and everybody is hoping for a fresh start after their heart breaking loss to Chile in the Copa America Centenario.
Neymar’s match against Bolivia contained parts of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good was a goal and two assists which helped the Selecao to a 5—0 rout of Bolivia in Natal, Brazil.
The bad was a 36th-minute yellow card that means he’s suspended for Brazil’s October 11th qualifier away to Venezuela. However, given that Venezuela currently dwell at the bottom of the CONMEBOL WCQ table with two points from nine matches, Neymar’s absence shouldn’t be a factor.