Opinion

What Is It Like To Watch El Clasico In Barcelona?

By: Casey Rhine

Ohhhh El Clásico, where to begin. One of soccer's most heated, yet most deeply cherished rivalries.Few of you readers get to experience El Clasico, in Barcelona, while it's happening. This was my mission on December 23rd and should be your mission on May 6th if you are not lucky enough to go to the game in the Camp Nou.

England v France preview: If there's one man capable of stopping Mbappé, it's Kyle Walker

DOHA - One of the most mouth-watering aspects of Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal between England and France will be a head-to-head battle between Kylian Mbappé and Kyle Walker as the tournament’s most devastating forward faces its fastest defender.

Mbappé has been on fire in Qatar, scoring fabulous goals and playing with a freedom, zest and pure joy rarely seen at international level and particularly within the sometimes stultifying tension of a major tournament.

Concacaf’s 2022 World Cup grades from best to worst

After the Round of 16 there are no teams from Concacaf still competing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Of the five confederations that competed in Qatar, Concacaf had the lowest number of victories with a measly three. None of the four teams finished with a winning record.

The gradebook is coming with full force Concacaf, and it’s not pretty. Here are the 2022 Concacaf World Cup grades.

10 players whose reputation tanked during the World Cup

The lasting memories of World Cups should be the celebrations of football — the glorious goals, the mesmerizing skills, the feel-good stories. But we also know that there's no joy without suffering and no winners without losers, and sometimes, it's those dramatic failures that really resonate because life's a snitch and then you die. 

Some of this is completely unfair to players who've given us so much over the years and to young guys who've got a lot of ball left to play, but these are the 10 individuals who really let me down in Qatar.  

Brazil's four-goal first half vs. South Korea was football heritage

In a World Cup of meticulously calculated added time, South Korea was extremely grateful to the officiating crew for only adding five minutes to the end of the first-half Monday after Brazil scored four salacious goals and accented each with a three-part dance production.

You felt bad for the Taegeuk Warriors because it definitely got embarrassing, but this is why you always, without fail, put Brazil on the television when they're playing at a World Cup — this is the beautiful game.

A fan’s perspective in Qatar – USA exit at the hands of the Netherlands

The United States qualified for the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup. It had been over eight years since the men’s team had last reached this stage, only to fall in overtime to a strong Belgium side in 2014. This time, the Netherlands stood between the United States and a place in the quarters. 

The Dutch side was no stranger to making it all the way to the final match. Their world-class team was headlined by one of the top defenders in the world, Virgil Van Dijk, along with Frenkie de Jong, a speedy midfielder in his prime. Netherlands were clear favorites to win. 

13-year age gap no problem for France's deadly striking duo

DOHA - Thirteen years separate France strikers Kylian Mbappé and Olivier Giroud but their devastating double act in the 3-1 last-16 defeat of Poland at the World Cup on Sunday showed the age gap is no barrier to a flourishing relationship.

Giroud, at 36, brings experience and guile to France's attack, while Mbappé, 23, is blessed with pace so explosive that the screens at the Al Thumama Stadium showed him hitting a top of speed of 22 mph as he tormented Poland's defense.

Best is yet to come from USMNT, but exposed shortcomings must be resolved before 2026

DOHA - A fresh-faced United States squad arrived in Qatar with modest expectations and although they may leave with a sense of disappointment after another last-16 exit, their performances offered hope of a longer run when they co-host the 2026 tournament.

After an encouraging group campaign, a young team brimming with confidence entered the knockout phase believing they could deliver another plot twist in a tournament where underdogs have consistently punched above their weight.

Netherlands turn every USA strength into weakness during Round of 16 humbling

For those who count Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer among their favorite books, the 2010 duo of Wesley Sneijder-Mark van Bommel among their favorite midfield pairings and videos of of Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens among their most visited on YouTube, watching the United States take nearly 65 percent possession off the Netherlands while completing almost twice as many passes in the first-half of a World Cup knockout match was a dream state.

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