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.
We joked about it a month ago, the idea of the U.S. hosting a summer tournament full of all the nations who were too cool to actually qualify for the World Cup. Turns out, U.S. Soccer is actually looking into doing just that.
Australia captain, defensive midfielder and rugged bearded hero Mile Jedinak had the game of his life, scoring a hat trick to propel the Socceroos to the 2018 World Cup with a 3-1 defeat of Honduras on Wednesday in Sydney. Jedinak scored on a free kick and two penalty kicks before Honduras’ Alberth Elis scored a consolation goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. The first leg of the intercontinental playoff was a 0-0 draw in Honduras.
Denmark and Sweden World Cup qualification is historic. For the first time in history, three Nordic teams have qualified to the World Cup.
Iceland, Sweden and Denmark will be leading a full-on Viking invasion of Russia next summer.
However, this is not the first time there has been a massive Scandinavian incursion into Russia.
Interestingly, historians argue it was the Rus — an ancient Viking tribe of Swedish origin — who first came to modern Russia in the ninth century AD.
For a moment, it looked like plucky Ireland were going to qualify for the World Cup. Shane Duffy's silly goal put them up 1-0 on Denmark at home. All they had to do was see the game out without conceding. But then Christian Eriksen decided he had had enough, as only a handful of players in the world can do, and tore Ireland up on the way to a hat trick, a 5-1 win and World Cup qualification for Denmark.
Lord ! pic.twitter.com/bJDmMb9ZQe
Anthony Martial did some bad, bad things to the Germany defense on Tuesday in Cologne. Alexandre Lacazette scored two goals. But, because this was still Germany, the home side scored late to earn a 2-2 draw in a friendly between two World Cup favorites.
Both teams are looking to build a little cohesion in the buildup to the 2018 World Cup and while much of the match was played with a relaxed demeanor, France will be disappointed to have given up the lead with a 93rd-minute equalizer.
Oh sweet baby Jesus, won’t you please just make this 2017 USMNT horror show stop? Can’t we just be done with it until, say, 2019 or 2020?
At halftime in Portugal vs. U.S., it’s been a tale of two decidedly different things, although both have to do with players that pundits around the nation plugged into their “GUARANTEED 2022 World Cup Starting XI” article.
As far as debuts go, it doesn’t get any better than this. 19-year-old Texan Weston McKennie, fresh off breaking into Schalke’s first team in the Bundesliga and earning his first cap for the USMNT, put his country ahead against the world’s third-ranked side, Portugal.
Argentina showed it can do goals without Lionel Messi on Tuesday in Russia. That defense though could use some work after Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi destroyed the rearguard of La Albiceleste, Javier Mascherano in particular.
Argentina took a two-goal lead in the opening 36 minutes in a friendly against Nigeria, but Iwobi scored twice to spearhead a 4-2 victory for the Super Eagles at Krasnodar Stadium. His second goal absolutely eviscerated Mascherano as the Arsenal attacker nutmegged the Barcelona man on his way to the final goal of the match.
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.