Three games: 14 goals scored, zero conceded. All things considered, that should be enough for a successful international break. Given Italy’s history of playing badly throughout qualification rounds, this high-scoring shut-out round of fixtures seems almost entirely positive, it’s not quite that simple.
The United States escaped the Azteca with a valuable point thanks to a sensational goal from Michael Bradley before Carlos Vela leveled for Mexico, the match ending in a 1-1 draw after 90 thrilling minutes in Mexico City. The result saw the U.S. climb to third in the Hexagonal table, and Mexico further solidified their spot at the top.
A lethal counterattack from Mexico started with a Guillermo Ochoa throw and ended with Carlos Vela cutting in from the right before firing a shot inside Brad Guzan’s near post. In between, there was a lot of understated brilliance from Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
Chicharito controlled Ochao’s throw inside Mexico’s own half and immediately drove at the American defense. With Kellyn Acosta looking to close him down, Chicharito delivered a devastating nutmeg before playing it wide to Vela.
United States captain Michael Bradley put his side up at the Azteca with a world-class finish in the sixth minute. Bradley won possession in the midfield, created a little bit of space for himself, saw Guillermo Ochoa well off his line and sent a magnificent effort into the net from distance.
What a chip from Michael Bradley!
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.
The USMNT ventured to Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colorado for their fifth match in the hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
The American Outlaws were out in full force supporting the red,white and blue, and we luckily were on site to capture some of the best moments of the match. From smooching a significant other after a Christian Pulisic goal to a fan not wanting to give the steward the ball back, we saw it all.
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.
Hugo Lloris might have Attention Deficit Disorder. The France and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper picked the wrong time to go on a little adventure, knotted 1-1 with Sweden at the end of a World Cup qualifier. He adventured so far out that when he misplaced his pass he was unable to get back to his goal before the ball rolled in. Sad!
Hugo Lloris, what are you doing??
In 2011 FOX bid more than $400 million to secure the US rights for the 2018 and 2022 Men’s World Cup (as well as the Women’s 2015 and 2019 World Cups). [Note: Telemundo also bid over $600 million for rights for those tournaments as well.] Now just over a year away from the kick-off, FOX appears to have chosen their three-man announcer booth to headline the network’s World Cup coverage.