The nightmare is real. Three days before Friday the 13th and a few weeks before Halloween, U.S. Soccer completed its horror-show qualifying campaign with a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago in Cuovo, eliminating the Americans from the World Cup given the results elsewhere in the CONCACAF Hex. With Honduras beating Mexico 3-2 and Panama edging Costa Rica 2-1, the U.S. fell from third to fifth place.
Peru haven’t qualified for the World Cup since 1982. Now, they will have a chance to play their way into Russia 2018 after qualifying for a playoff spot vs New Zealand. The hero for the Peruvians? Their captain and all-time leading goalscorer Paolo Guerrero. In the 76th minute the 33-year-old ripped a free-kick from 23 yards out and the Estadio Nacional de Lima let out a cry heard across South America.
This is not a goal. The ball did not go in the goal and therefore it cannot be a goal. The United States are out of the World Cup because this was called a goal. It was not a goal. The ball did not cross the line.
I need a drink. Goodnight.
Lionel Messi, with the hopes of a football crazed nation on his shoulders and the studs of a negative Ecuadorian side in his shins, scored an unfathomable hat trick to send Argentina to the World Cup. What else do you want to hear? What else do you want to know?
You know what Kobe Bryant once said: “You shake a tree and a leopard is gonna fall out.” Well, Ecuador shook the tree. Ecuador's Romario Ibarra netted a nifty little goal off a couple of give-and-go headers and La Albiceleste were off to a nightmarish start. Then the leopard fell out.
Lionel Messi is the leopard. Messi went on to score two goals just eight minutes apart (12’ and 20’) to give Argentina life on the last day of this crazy CONMEBOL qualifying campaign.
Messi goal vs Ecuador #1
The Netherlands were looking for a miracle on Tuesday. As the Dutch stepped on the field at Amsterdam Arena to face Sweden, they knew they needed to win the match by a seven-goal margin, a practically impossible deed.
On the other side, the Swedes aspired to either qualify directly for the World Cup with a victory, a scenario hinging on a France defeat to Belaurs which never transpired, or qualification via a runners-up finish and the UEFA playoffs.
The worrying, hand-wringing and nail-biting from fan boys across the world can stop. Cristiano Ronaldo will be at the 2018 World Cup. Portugal dominated the UEFA Group B title bout for a surprisingly easy 2-0 win over Switzerland on Tuesday in Lisbon. The result put both teams on 27 points, with Portugal earning the group’s automatic World Cup qualifying berth by virtue of goal differential and the Swiss going to the UEFA playoff.
France, fresh off a successful albeit ultimately disappointing Euro 2016, secured automatic qualification to the 2018 World Cup after defeating Belarus 2-1 on Tuesday. Goals from Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud confirmed France’s passage from a tricky UEFA qualifying group also containing Sweden, the Netherlands and Bulgaria.
As much as Bruce Arena wants you to believe CONCACAF has the toughest World Cup qualifying cycle, North America and the Caribbean have nothing on Africa. Take Gabon, for instance, which is blaming orange juice for its 3-0 loss to Morocco, which ended Gabon World Cup hopes on Saturday.