The World Cup Qualifiers in South America (CONMEBOL) and North America & the Caribbean (CONCACAF) were lit. Let us show you how!
We’re less than a year away from the first kickoff in Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and a number of teams, besides the hosts, have already qualified for the tournament. Joining the Russians are Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Mexico and Brazil. In Europe, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, and France are practically a victory away from direct qualification. Obviously, that leaves out a number of powerful teams — ahem, Lionel Messi’s Argentina — from the list that were expected to moonwalk into qualification.
The United States is suffering just like Mexico did in 2013.
Veteran coach Bruce Arena was called in as a firefighter to rescue Team USA’s chances of qualifying after his predecessor, Jurgen Klinsmann, lost two games in the first round of qualifying games last year. One of them was a historic loss to Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, usually known as the U.S. national team’s fortress. Unfortunately, Arena’s qualifying run hit a huge snag this past week.
First, Team USA lost to Costa Rica in New Jersey in a historic win for the Ticos thanks to two goals from San Jose Earthquakes attacker Marco Ureña.
In the second round, the US found themselves trailing by a goal for an hour in a match against Honduras, played in San Pedro Sula, until…
— Global Deportivo (@GloDeportivo) September 5, 2017
… Bobby Wood tied it up with just minutes to spare.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) September 5, 2017
It would’ve have been a huge deal except for the fact that Panama put three past Trinidad & Tobago on the same night, which shot Panama up to third place, placed the US in the fourth place playoff spot and La H trailing in fifth place on goal differential.
The qualification spots create an intense scenario for the final two qualifying rounds in October, when the USA hosts Panama and Honduras faces a second-place Costa Rican team looking to cement its place in the World Cup with a victory. Panama will need at least a draw vs. the USA before facing Costa Rica at home in their final match to keep their hopes alive as the USMNT will be expected to run rampant over a Trinidadian squad with nothing to play for.
Peru: the little CONMEBOL team that might!
Peru defeated its neighbor Bolivia at home in Lima and later flew to Quito, where they defeated their hosts, Ecuador, as well! It was the first time Peru captured three points in Ecuador during qualification and the first time they entered the direct qualification zone in 20 years!
Let Peruvian commentator Daniel Peredo show you the emotion behind these important victories!
Speaking of Ecuador… once the leader of CONMEBOL for months, they are now at risk of missing out on Russia 2018 as they languish in eighth place!
Ecuador las primeras 4 fechas // El resto de las eliminatorias pic.twitter.com/X3A71TAdgC
— Mafer Flores G ⚡️ (@MaferFloresG_) September 5, 2017
What happened to Argentina and Chile?
Argentina are currently sitting in the 5th place playoff spot while Chile is a point behind them in sixth and are in danger of missing out on Russia 2018 after La Roja lost to Paraguay and Bolivia, two teams with no hope at all of reaching the World Cup!
El Tri Qualified With Three Games To Spare
CREDIT: Credit: Ezequiel Becerra / Getty
Mexico sealed its entry into the World Cup with a 1 – 0 win over Panama last week. Costa Rica snatched a draw at home versus Mexico in the final minutes, putting Los Ticos one more victory away from direct qualification.