The United States women's national team, ranked No. 2 in the world, failed to really take hold of the game against a strong Norwegian team, ranked No. 11, on Sunday in Sandjeford, Norway. USWNT coach Jill Ellis cotinued her experimentation with personnel and formations — the starting line-up featured just two players that got minutes at the 2015 World Cup.
A lot of people like to moan about international football, but it can be really fun if you approach it with a no f**ks given attitude — just follow the example set by San Marino’s social media team during their qualifier against Germany. If you didn’t follow any of Saturday’s UEFA qualifying, here’s what you missed.
#1. Norway And Martin Odegaard Won’t Be At The 2018 World Cup
A year out from the World Cup, the final stages of qualifying are at their halfway point. As is normally the case, Europe is proving to be the most difficult region to advance from. If the group stage were to end today, Portugal and Italy would have to square off against other second place teams in a two-legged tie just to qualify for Russia next summer.
Portugal defeated Latvia 3-0 in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a brace for the reigning European champions. 21-year-old Porto striker Andre Silva, whose name will become synonymous with transfer speculation this summer, added Portugal’s third with Ronaldo laying on the assist.
Ronaldo’s brace made it a staggering 18 goals in his last 11 matches for club and country. For the season, it’s 53 goals in 51 games. Those kinds of numbers stopped making sense a long time ago.
Mexico defeated Honduras 3-0 at the Azteca with a heavily rotated side, showcasing a squad depth that no nation in CONCACAF can come close to matching. Chivas defender Oswaldo Alanis gave Mexico the advantage from a corner, and El Tri continued to make easy work of a Honduran side whose World Cup dream is all but over.
Hirving “Chucky” Lozano scored the second in the 63rd and Raul Jimenez added the third in the 66th to quickly shift all focus to Sunday’s showdown.
The United States men's national team isn't perfect, but with Christian Pulisic they have moments of perfection.
Pulisic's first goal against Trinidad & Tobago involved three players with incredible skill combining with perfection. Darlington Nagbe danced down the right channel of the field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park before dropping the ball back to DeAndre Yedlin, whose cross cut through the defense and found Pulisic for the tap-in.
It wasn't the greatest performance from the USWNT in Gothenburg, but it did the job. The United States was looking for some semblence of revenge after a heartbreaking Olympic exit at the hands of the Scandinavian side last summer in Rio. The misery of the penalty shootout defeat was compounded by some bitter words from notoriously outlandish goalkeeper Hope Solo. After the loss, the U.S. No. 1 called Sweden "a bunch of cowards."
U.S. Soccer teamed up with the You Can Play Project to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month in early June's international friendlies. The You Can Play Project is centered on securing equality, respect and safety for all athletes, coaches and fans of any sexual orientation or gender identity.
Spain and Colombia both scored goals in the first half that shouldn't have been let in. Falcao scored a great header in the 54th minute. After an incredible season, winning the French Ligue 1 with AS Monaco, Falcao's swagger and confidence are reminiscent of his Atletico Madrid days.
The biggest takeaway from this game is that Radamel Falcao is a testament that 31 is the new 25. Don't hang up your boots anytime soon, Monaco is begging you.