FIFA Men's World Cup
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.
CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying grew in legend with another improbable incident during Thursday’s match between Ecuador and Chile.
With Ecuador holding a 3-0 advantage over Chile at the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa in Quito, Ecuardorian international Enner Valencia, who plays his club football for Everton in the Premier League, allegedly faked an injury to evade police capture in the 82nd minute.
Throughout the tenure of Jurgen Klinsmann as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, American soccer fans have watched the team take steps forward, as they did by advancing out of the group of death at the 2014 World Cup, only to also watch them take steps back, as they did by losing in the semifinals of the 2015 Gold Cup.
Sam Allardyce’s managerial record with the England National Team stands at a perfect 100 percent, and it may well end that way. A series of discussions with undercover investigative reporters from the English newspaper The Telegraph posing as Far East businessmen has shaken Allardyce’s position to the core. It remains to be seen whether the Football Association, England’s governing body, deem Allardyce’s role as untenable.
“I wish I could say that I am shocked by the decision, but unfortunately I am not. The problem of racism in football remains a burning, very serious and topical one, which needs continuous attention.”