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Russia 2018 World Cup - Qualification

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Just to respond to a few of Durban's points.

1) The world will see plenty of Pulisic's talents on the field for Dortmund and wherever else he plays in the future. He is a prodigious talent. He also makes me feel old because I saw his dad play indoors for the Harrisburg Heat.  It is a source of regional pride that someone from Central PA could make it big on the world stage.

2) Speaking of indoor soccer, Canada's participation in Mexico 86 was really remarkable given that many of the players were playing in the MISL.  I remember reading about how FIFA banned Tino Lettieri's stuffed parrot, which he kept in the goal as a good luck charm while playing for the Minnesota Strikers.

3) I do not feel sorry for FOX. They knew well that the only team guaranteed a spot in the World Cup is the host, which was known at the time of the bidding in 2011. They will take a hit next summer, no doubt. However, they have the rights through 2026, and a  World Cup likely headed to North America.  They will be fine in the end as this should more than make up for the US absence in 2018 and a 2022 Cup held during football season.

4) The impact on MLS cuts both ways.  It's role in developing players for the US will be called into question, yet it's reputation for developing players in Latin America and making CONCACAF much stronger as a whole has been acknowledged. Actually I take perverse pleasure in the fact that the league which is belittled by many in the US had two of its players- Romel Quioto (Houston/Honduras) and Roman Torres (Seattle/Panama) score the goals that sealed the Americans fate,

I agree with LatinXTC's statement about the American men's team.  I have always just sensed an arrogance through the years that they have not earned the right to display, in contrast with the women who have earned the right to be arrogant, but remain rather humble (except for Hope Solo). I would be very upset if the women would miss their World Cup, as they almost did in 2011.  The men, however, I was over it almost instantly.  I can understand the outrage of many fans as any soccer fan born after 1976 probably doesn't remember a World Cup without the US, but I remember 1982 and 1986. I also remember that nations such as England (1994), and France (1990 and 1994) have missed World Cups (albeit in the 24 team format), these things happen sometimes, especially as the competition gets tougher. US Soccer needs to take this as a wake up call and make the necessary changes moving forward or risk a repeat four years down the road.

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DiMartino pretty much admited on an interview the referee inded screwed up and that it wasn't a goal, given he wants to implement now new technologies in order to prevent these incidents. However he didn't said anything about repeating the match.

Despite Panama qualifying, they're going to be pretty much unpopular in the WC, specially among the rest of the CONCACAF countries, after this incident. 

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I like several of these teams in this, and it's too bad that they're facing each other. I can tolerate Italy not being in Russia and would like to see Sweden get in after being away for two World Cups while showing they can qualify without Zlatan--and you think the ire US Soccer is deservedly getting right now for not qualifying is huge (don't worry my wrath is coming back very soon). Northern Ireland-Switzerland and Ireland-Denmark are teams I wish all would qualify out of it. Both sets to me are evenly matched and can go either way. Maybe it's time for Switzerland's Nati to get sidelined again. But it could Northern Ireland and its coach Martin O'Neill, I would like to see them in Russia to add another Home Nation along with England after with that Euro 2016 experience in France. Ireland could join accomplish it, but how have they improved since Euro 2016? Can Denmark ignite that scoring it was sometimes known to bring earlier in this World Cup campaign when led by Simon Kjaer, William Kvist, and Christian Eriksen. Many on the Danish Dynamite are in their prime, so the time is very much now.

As for Croatia-Greece, I'm picking Croatia because I'm still not sure about Greece's offensive firepower. Luca Modric will respond to the 2-game when needed the most for his country.   

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CAF Group D

South Africa 0-2 Senegal

Senegal qualifies to the World Cup as CAF group D winners

 

Qualified Teams: Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, England, Spain, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Poland, Egypt, Iceland, Serbia, Portugal, France, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, Panama  and Senegal

 

 

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CAF

Group A

Tunisia 0-0 Lybia

Congo DR 3-1 Guinea

 

Group C

Ivory Coast 0-2 Morocco

Gabon 0-0 Mali

 

Morocco and Tunisia qualified to the World Cup

 

Qualified Teams: Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, England, Spain, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Poland, Egypt, Iceland, Serbia, Portugal, France, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, Panama, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia

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Switzerland has qualified for the World Cup

 

Switzerland 0-0 Northern Ireland(1-0 agg.)

 

Qualified Teams: Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, England, Spain, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Poland, Egypt, Iceland, Serbia, Portugal, France, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, Panama, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and Switzerland

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Greece 0-0 Croatia (agg 1-4)

Croatia has reached the qualification for the World Cup

 

Qualified Teams: Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, England, Spain, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Poland, Egypt, Iceland, Serbia, Portugal, France, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, Panama, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Switzerland and Croatia

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FT:

Italy 0-0 Swedden (agg 0-1)

Italy will miss their first World Cup since 1958!

 

Qualified Teams: Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, England, Spain, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Poland, Egypt, Iceland, Serbia, Portugal, France, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, Panama, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Switzerland, Croatia and Sweden

 

 

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I guess the USA's non-qualification doesn't seem so bad now that the four-time champs have crashed out. Their WC record since winning in 2006 is abysmal. Finishing last in their group in 2010, then another first-round elimination in 2014, and now sitting home to enjoy "Un Estate Italiana" in 2018. I'll miss their anthem before the matches, but little else.  After all that went on in 2006 (De Rossi elbowing Brian McBride, the gift penalty against Australia, and Materazzi pushing Zidane over the edge), I can hardly contain my joy at what has befallen them since.

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Coming second to Spain and losing to Sweden is not really comparable to buggering up concacaf qualifying which seems almost designed to guarantee US participation. The US' non-qualification still looks just as bad.

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A World Cup without Italy....yeah, next year is going to be very bizarre, alright.

On the other hand, I guess this is the consumation of the obvious decomposition of Italian football ever since 2010. I hope this helps them waking up and smelling the coffe once and for all. 

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5 minutes ago, Rob. said:

Coming second to Spain and losing to Sweden is not really comparable to buggering up concacaf qualifying which seems almost designed to guarantee US participation. The US' non-qualification still looks just as bad.

It's easy to finish second in a group to Spain when all the other teams combined have one WC appearance. I think you underestimate the level of competition that now exists in CONCACAF, shocking given that  CONCACAF teams won the groups that included England at the last two WCs.

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Oh I can't wait to see the headlines coming out of Italy, general news and sports alike, that will treat this as a national tragedy! The wrath is coming in Italy. Yes, BTHarner the signs were definitely there since 2006, despite the Azzurri going to the Euro 2012 final, with all the World Cup regression. There's quality. Maybe it's time to emulate the USA and go young like with rising star and Buffon's likely #1 successor Donnarumma. Shocker because Italy is a blue blood there with a far deeper love for soccer in its national heritage. Obviously far more so than the USA. I actually picked Sweden because of motivation for Sweden in part and because of the Italian regression. Nobody of course has a divine right to be there in the World Cup, yes, but pedigree indeed matters and would feel weird not seeing Italy and the United States. Does seem like Italy's taking a taste of its own medicine

Do feel bad for Gianliuigi Buffon on the sad end to his international career. Sorta. Does cap a disappointing soccer year for him with the UEFA Champions League loss to Real Madrid with Juventus and leaves the Azzurri in tears. Mina Rzouki brings some needed insights as to why this happened  And Ventura has just resigned.  Buffon's teammate at Juventus Andrea Barzagli and Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi also ended their Italy careers, with Giorgio Chiellini expected to follow suit. Ventura just now resigned as coach. Wonder if Balotelli would've helped.

BBC: GIANLUIGI BUFFON RETIRES FROM THE AZZURRI IN TEARS AFTER NOT QUALIFYING FOR THE 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP

Not that Sweden has qualified, would Zlatan Ibrahimovic reconsider his international retirement and finally play for Sweden in Russia in the World Cup? If so, there must be a way for the megastar with the coaching staff to not seriously disrupt the team dynamics Sweden built after his departure.

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As expected, the Italian media is in absolute meltdown.

Poor Totti, though. He deserved a better way to retire from football. Not like this.

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Just how excited Sweden is to be back on soccer's premier stage upon qualifying? Enough to happily bum rush Eurosport Sverige's on-pitch San Siro Stadium's set in Milan, Italy presenting Karin Frick, Kim Källström, and Simon Bankwent that viral and surely was simulcast on Kanal 5 there. Wasn't this rambunctious days ago back in Stockholm with the first win as Zlatan Ibrahimovic was with that same Eurosport/Kanal 5 soccer trio. Should've been prepared...

 

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