The USMNT has a mean streak now. They're still the team that lost to Costa Rica and drew Honduras last month, and that still needs at least a draw against Trinidad & Tobago to be completely sure of not being knocked out of World Cup qualifying, but when they want to be dickish, this team can be gloriously dickish.
Men's World Cup
Serbia is back in the World Cup after defeating Georgia 1-0 in its final match of UEFA World Cup qualifying on Monday in Belgrade. The victory gave Serbia 21 points in Group D, enough to finish ahead of second-place Ireland, which edged third-place Wales with a 1-0 victory for a spot in the UEFA playoffs.
For the first time since the 1998-99 season, no manager in Serie A has been fired after seven matches. All twenty teams have decided to stick with their coach, even the terrible ones. It’s a quirk of fate, remarkable only because of the trigger-happy tendencies of Serie A owners past. But there’s one Italian manager who should almost definitely be fired. Unfortunately, he’s the coach of the national team.
A brace from Australia’s all-time leading scorer, Tim Cahill, was enough to see the Socceroos narrowly edge Syria 2-1 after extra time, 3-2 on aggregate, in Sydney. Cahill’s header in the 109th minute completed the Aussie turnaround and sent them into the inter-confederation playoff, most likely against Panama or Honduras, at the expense of a spirited Syrian side that pushed them until the very end.
CONMEBOL is fun, guys. Through 17 games only one team out of 10 — Brazil — has clinched its spot in the 2018 World Cup. Six teams still have a chance for the remaining three automatic qualifying berths, with one more team qualifying for the intercontinental playoff against New Zealand. Five of those teams control their own destiny. On Tuesday, all 10 teams play in five matches kicking off simultaneously with South American World Cup hopes on the line.
For anyone interested in geopolitics, Ukraine competing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia was an extremely enticing possibility. Croatia ended that possibility with a 2-0 win over Ukraine on the final day of UEFA Group I World Cup qualifying on Monday in Kiev. Croatia will play in a UEFA playoff in November for a chance to go to a fifth World Cup in six qualifying campaigns.
The Republic of Ireland shocked Wales 1-0 on Monday evening, securing their place in the European playoffs and ending the World Cup dream of the Welsh golden generation. The injured Gareth Bale could only watch from the stands as James McClean’s 57th minute strike hushed a previously electric Cardiff City Stadium and late forays forward proved fruitless for the Welsh.
Heading into Tuesday’s final matchday in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, there are still a number of scenarios that could confront the United States when the dust eventually settles. Most importantly, the USMNT controls their own destiny. However, things could get a bit dicey in the event of a draw or catastrophic loss. Let’s check it out!
What happens if…
The United States beats Trinidad & Tobago
Poland qualified for the 2018 World Cup with a 4-2 home victory over Montenegro on Sunday, a result that also eliminated Montenegro. More importantly, we saw why Poland World Cup aspirations are so high, as a fantastic team goal to take a 2-0 lead in the 16th minute showed why it’s going to be such a hard out next summer.