In the last 12 months, Xherdan Shaqiri has scored six times. They have all been phenomenal goals. His recent strike against Belarus lives up to the insanely high standard he has set for himself.
As far as friendlies go, this was about as productive as they come for both Mexico and the Republic of Ireland. El Tri will now return to Mexico City for two key World Cup qualifiers (against Honduras and the United States) at the Azteca brimming with confidence after thrashing Ireland 3-1.
For Ireland, manager Martin O’Neill got a good hard look at his fringe players before a crucial World Cup qualifier against Austria in Dublin — not many of them would’ve passed this difficult litmus test.
The United States matched their biggest-ever triumph on the U-20 World Cup stage, and Mexico scored a game-winner in the 89th minute as North America sent two representatives into the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup quarterfinals — just as many as South America and one less than Europe.
Over 62,000 Mexico supporters bore witness to a bit of El Tri history on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum as Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez moved clear of Jared Borgetti as the national team’s all-time leading goal scorer with 47.
Remarkably, Chicharito and Borgetti share the same strike rate for Mexico. The Santos Laguna legend scored 46 in 89 matches, and the Bayer Leverkusen striker has scored 47 in 91 — both make for an average of 0.52 goals per game.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: these cats are young. They’re like kittens in that sense — feral, attack-minded, alley kittens. It’s easy to get hyped on talent at the FIFA U-20 World Cup because the game, at this age, so heavily favors attackers. The goals are beautiful, but they’re generally scored in acres of space and triggered by a breakdown in midfield or defense.
Goalkeepers, to paraphrase a popular saying, are insane. It’s the forwards that get the glory, and it’s more often than not the goalkeepers that have to shoulder the blame. It’s a thankless, lonely task that hardly ever favors the man or woman between the sticks. However, these individuals have dazzled with their ability to keep the opposing team off the scoreboard. These are the goalkeepers with the most clean sheets in different respective competitions.
Since the 2014 World Cup, Karim Benzema’s output for Real Madrid in La Liga and Champions League matches reads like this: 114 matches played, 64 goals scored, 23 goals assisted. With a record of over a goal per every two matches, the 29-year-old French forward is one of the most feared in Europe.
For those who religiously follow and catalogue all of the endless nonsense I churn out (you’re terrifying), you’ll remember that back in February (Jesus, what have I done these last two months) I got really into the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship. It was really cold and I was really sad so I turned to the carnival of sand, merriment and bangers that is beach soccer for respite. Plus it was all streamed on Facebook for free.