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Tweaked

FIFA World Cup, the Ultimate Quadrennial Soccer Tournament - 2018 Host Nation Russia: Jun 14 - Jul 15, 2018

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Never too early to start discussing the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

So far three teams have qualified (as of 8/30/2017):  Host Russia, Brazil and Iran, leaving 29 spots up for grabs. 

This international break marks two crucial qualifiers for the United States, with games against Costa Rica (Home Friday, Sept. 1) and Honduras (Away Tuesday, Sept. 5).  Two wins and the US will be well on its way to Russia, anything else and they will be looking for points in October, against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.

The rest of the world is in various stages of qualifying:

UEFA (Europe)

CONCACAF (North America, Central America, Caribbean)

CONMEBOL (South America)

AFC (Asia)

CAF (Africa)

OFC (Oceania)

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USA 0-2 CRC.  And now the Yanks go down to Honduras looking for points.

--- 

[Martin, what does this mean: "USA 0-2 CRC?"]

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33 minutes ago, Tweaked said:

USA 0-2 CRC.  And now the Yanks go down to Honduras looking for points.  

I saw a good piece of that match. I watch so infrequently now, I doubt how discerning I am. Regardless I thought Costa Rica more talented and better organized, played smarter, better work as a team.  

On the first goal shouldn't the US defender sort of at midfield (while the attacker was moving to the wing) have retreated toward the goal to add more goal defense?  That defender was left worthless.

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The US central defenders had a terrible match.  On the first goal they didn't provide proper coverage in the middle and were easily split on the CR through ball. On the secong goal Geoff Cameron passed it directly to a CR player.

the US attack had several good opportunities in both halves, but lacked the final pass to score.  

CR showed up to play and the US were flatfooted for much of the night.

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Steve Goff of the Post breaks it down. 

Bottom line:  US needs a win or tie down in Honduras (game temp mid 90s, heat index mid 100s), or they will be in serious trouble.  Although, on paper, they have an easier schedule for the final two games in October.

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4 hours ago, Tweaked said:

The US central defenders had a terrible match.  On the first goal they didn't provide proper coverage in the middle and were easily split on the CR through ball. On the secong goal Geoff Cameron passed it directly to a CR player.

the US attack had several good opportunities in both halves, but lacked the final pass to score.  

CR showed up to play and the US were flatfooted for much of the night.

Tx.  

Early on I started watching this game much more closely than I'd watched in recent times. (Okay years of very sporadic watching). I realized I'm not  that attuned to details than when I was far closer to the sport.  Tx for the commentary.

What grabbed my attention early on was a goal opportunity for the US.  2 on 2.  Possibly a perfect or far more precise pass from the wing to the center could have led to a strong shot.  Pass was off. No shot.  The thought flew through my brain and the words spilled out... "I could have made that pass".  (meaning I was just as capable of delivering a less than perfect pass)

Lol.  But it did get me to watch more closely.  I can see that you and the other commentators on soccer here have a far better feel for the game now than do I. 

Saw that through pass that led to the first goal. Our defense wasn't great on it but the pass was right on target.

I think I should start watching Euro soccer for the game at its highest levels. Any suggestions as to where to go?

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Yep, the US had several opportunities in the first half where a better pass would have created a scoring opportunity.  

NBC has the rights to the English Premiere League, many games on their NBCSports cable channel, which any bar will have.

other European Leagues are on BeIn Sports, which is trickier to find, you'll probably need to go to a sports bar for that.

later this month Champions League starts up, which is a season long tournament featuring the top euro clubs.  FOX Sports 1 & 2 will broadcast the bigger games on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

if you have a cable package many games are streamed these days as well.

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6 hours ago, Tweaked said:

Yep, the US had several opportunities in the first half where a better pass would have created a scoring opportunity.  

NBC has the rights to the English Premiere League, many games on their NBCSports cable channel, which any bar will have.

other European Leagues are on BeIn Sports, which is trickier to find, you'll probably need to go to a sports bar for that.

later this month Champions League starts up, which is a season long tournament featuring the top euro clubs.  FOX Sports 1 & 2 will broadcast the bigger games on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

if you have a cable package many games are streamed these days as well.

 

You can also find games from Germany's Bundesliga on Fox Sports1 and 2.  Occasionally a game will appear on the main Fox network.

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Well, well, well.  Not much was cleared up over this international break, especially for the USA. 

A 0-2 defeat to Costa Rica at home and a not very convincing 1-1 tie against Honduras leaves the US in 4th place in the qualification group, but with the easiest road to Russia.

The US will next play Panama (currently 3rd place) at home (Oct. 6) and finish qualification away at Trinidad & Tobago (Oct 10, T&T are all but eliminated).

However, Honduras have to play away against Costa Rica (currently 2nd) and then home against Mexico (already qualified)

Panama have to play away to the US and then home against Costa Rica. 

For the US, win both games and they qualify...sounds easy right?

Around the world:  Russia (hosts), Belgium, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea have all secured their tickets to Russia. 

 

   

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Well that didn't go well.  Everything that had to go wrong went wrong.

USA loses to T&T.  Panama and Honduras both win against the top two teams in the group.  And the US crashes out.

 

Qualified nations: Russia (hosts), Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Honduras, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Uruguay.

Peru will play New Zealand in a home/away playoff series

Honduras will play Australia in a home/away playoff series

Africa concludes qualifiers in Nov. with three spots up for grabs. 

Four European spots still to be claimed in a home/away playoff series.  

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20 minutes ago, Tweaked said:

Well that didn't go well.  Everything that had to go wrong went wrong.

USA loses to T&T.  Panama and Honduras both win against the top two teams in the group.  And the US crashes out.

In a group where 2/3 of the teams have an opportunity to advance.  How is it that only 1/3 of the teams in European groups has an opportunity to advance and 1/2 of the teams in Conmebol has an opportunity to advance?  I'm pretty sure Concacaf teams aren't stronger than Conmebol teams.

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30 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

In a group where 2/3 of the teams have an opportunity to advance.  How is it that only 1/3 of the teams in European groups has an opportunity to advance and 1/2 of the teams in Conmebol has an opportunity to advance?  I'm pretty sure Concacaf teams aren't stronger than Conmebol teams.

Who knows, it's all wrapped up in FIFA politics. 

For its relatively mediocre teams, CONCACAF is a surprisingly powerful confederation.  When many of these decisions were made you had two powerful CONCACAF officials in the upper echelons of FIFA, Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer, who were both ousted due to corruption.  It also has a large membership of 41 member nations, CONMEBOL has 10.  Each of those little Caribbean islands gets a vote.  And then you have the weight of the US market:  money, TV broadcast rights, corporate sponsorships, ticket sales (for the past several WCs the US has had one of the top traveling fan bases).  That said UEFA does have 13 spots and CONMEBOL 4.5 (which is more like 5, we'll see if New Zealand can beat Peru).  

          

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After Scotland failed to qualify, their Manager said:

Quote

"Genetically we are behind," Strachan said. "In the last campaign, we were the second smallest, apart from Spain."

"We had to pick a team to combat the height and strength at set-plays. Genetically we have to work at things, maybe we get big women and men together and see what we can do.

"But it is a problem for us because we have to fight harder for every ball and jump higher than anyone else.

"Nobody can tell me their technique, apart from one player, is better than any of ours. But physically we have a problem. We seem to be able to battle it and get through just with sheer determination and skill and work-rate. And that takes a lot out of you."

I think the U.S. team is genetically challenged too.  They must have the smallest hearts.

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I saw pieces of different games.  They simply didn't look that talented to me.  The US is obviously levels below the talent peaks in other nations. 

Now that comment from the manager of the Scottish team is absurd.  Somehow it ignores all the Messi's of the game over the decades.  That guy needs a different excuse.

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UEFA (Europe) Play-off draw has been announced.  Leg 1 will be played Nov. 9-11, Leg 2 Nov. 12-14.  These games are pretty much a toss up. Croatia has the easiest route against the weakest team in the playoff, Greece.  Sweden is without The Zlatan, so that hurts them and now they need to beat a usually tough Italy, so I would expect Italy to advance out of that series.   Would be nice to see both Irelands advance.   

Northern Ireland vs. Switzerland

Croatia vs. Greece

Denmark vs. Republic of Ireland

Sweden vs. Italy

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The World Cup draw is in:

GROUP A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

GROUP B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

GROUP C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

GROUP D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

GROUP E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

GROUP F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

GROUP G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

GROUP H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan

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4 hours ago, Tweaked said:

GROUP A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

GROUP B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

GROUP C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

GROUP D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

GROUP E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

GROUP F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

GROUP G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

GROUP H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan

Bold = Should go thru

Underline = has a shot a going thru

I usually cheer the Brazilians on as they play the most beautiful soccer but Neymar's move to PSG and his subsequent antics at PSG has kind of soured me on him.  Argentina still has a shot since their best players are all still in their prime.  So let's go La Albiceleste - win one for Messi and cement his legacy as the best soccer player ever.

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