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Shocker

World Cup Qualifiers

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28 minutes ago, Shocker said:

Lets start talking.   USA is in serious trouble..maybe more than the Netherlands.   

When I watch US team...  it's outdated.  There is no counter attack.  It's just bad.

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Haven't watched a full game since Arena replaced Klinsmann. JK had his flaws when it came to strategy but he brought more talent into the US program and encouraged US players competing in more competitive leagues overseas vs the MLS.

This team will likely still qualify for Russia 2018 but will play the same boring CONCACAF style and not make it out of the group stage unless we get a favorable group draw and then we'll lose in the first game with ~30% possession and 1 shot on goal.

Only reason I still keep tabs on this team is that Pulisic looks like the real deal. Hope there are more similar players down the pipeline to help this aging team out.

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10 hours ago, Shocker said:

Lets start talking.   USA is in serious trouble..maybe more than the Netherlands.   

How?   The USMNT has very little margin for error but they are not in serious trouble unless they lose to Honduras.  The Netherlands likely need to win out and get help from one of the bottom two teams in the group.

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Definitely looking forward to Spain/Italy today.  One of those two is going to find themselves in a playoff to qualify.

Group I should be really fun to watch this weekend as well with Croatia/Iceland on thirteen points and Turkey/Ukraine at eleven.  The latter play each other today and they all have head-to-head on Tuesday.

Slovakia's visit to England on Monday is an enormous match as well with England only up two points thanks to Slovakia's late winner yesterday.  I remember England beating Slovakia in the group opener in the ninety-fifth minute.  If not for that then Slovakia would be top of the group right now.

Really fun weekend ahead.  The most exciting could be the final match of Group B on October 10.  The Swiss are 7-0-0 and Portugal 6-0-1.  Portugal however hosts the final match and has a substantial advantage in GD.  Assuming both take care of business then that will be huge.

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Another qualification I have been looking at over the last few months is AFC which ends for the most part on Tuesday morning.  The Aussies are in position to jump Saudi Arabia to qualify in Group B while Syria has moved into the playoff spot from Group A.

A Syria/Saudi Arabia match-up to reach the Continental Playoff would be interesting for reasons that go way beyond sports.

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In other news

  • New Zealand won the first leg with the Solomon Islands 6-1 to virtually guarantee a date (and loss) to the CONMEBOL fifth place finisher
  • CAF qualification will become a lot clearer over the next few days as the top two in several groups face off 
  • CONMEBOL had the best possible outcome from Matchday 15 for chaos with Paraguay winning 3-0 at Chile, Argentina/Uruguay playing to a draw and Peru winning.  Even Colombia made their situation a little less comfortable thanks to a draw to Venezuela.  Seven teams for 3.5 spots all separated by five points.  The only thing that cold have made it better would have been Ecuador picking up a point against Brazil.

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On 9/2/2017 at 7:22 AM, Goondal said:

How?   The USMNT has very little margin for error but they are not in serious trouble unless they lose to Honduras.  The Netherlands likely need to win out and get help from one of the bottom two teams in the group.

Dude goin to Honduras and winning that one will be a serious task.  Praying we can do it, but very tough with pressure galore.. Spain dominated Italy which surprised me.  The best team Ive seen lately is France.  They are absolutely loaded with talent.

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6 hours ago, Shocker said:

Dude goin to Honduras and winning that one will be a serious task.  Praying we can do it, but very tough with pressure galore.. Spain dominated Italy which surprised me.  The best team Ive seen lately is France.  They are absolutely loaded with talent.

I mean it is not a sure thing but we honestly are still okay with a draw.  The point is we are nowhere near the situation of The Netherlands.

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5 hours ago, Goondal said:

I mean it is not a sure thing but we honestly are still okay with a draw.  The point is we are nowhere near the situation of The Netherlands.

Fair enough, I really dont think the Netherlands are that great right now.  I do think they'll make the field, barely.

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Pulisic had a terrible game against Costa Rica. The entire team looked abysmal, outclassed and unmotivated outside of Demps. I've not been able to see many of their games, so I'm hoping it was the aberration, and not the norm here. But, if what was seen the last game is how they've been playing, they do not deserve to go to the Cup at all. Even were they to make it, if they play like that, they won't last very long at all anyways.

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3 hours ago, Raskle said:

Pulisic had a terrible game against Costa Rica. The entire team looked abysmal, outclassed and unmotivated outside of Demps. I've not been able to see many of their games, so I'm hoping it was the aberration, and not the norm here. But, if what was seen the last game is how they've been playing, they do not deserve to go to the Cup at all. Even were they to make it, if they play like that, they won't last very long at all anyways.

Costa Rica are a better side than the US, so not the perfect litmus test. Fortunately, they're clearly the 3rd best team in CONCACAF and, barring any unexpected slip-ups, should make it through sans-playoff.

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5 hours ago, Shocker said:

Fair enough, I really dont think the Netherlands are that great right now.  I do think they'll make the field, barely.

I agree they are definitely down right now.  Barring Sweden dropping points at home to Luxembourg the only way they even get to the playoff round is likely by beating Sweden by 3+

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AFC Third Round ended today and their four automatic berths have been awarded thanks to some subpar performances by those already in.

The top four teams in Group A were all playing each other.  Iran had already qualified and was hosting Syria.  Meanwhile South Korea led both Syria and their opponent Uzbekistan by two points for the second spot.  A loss would have relegated them to a playoff or could have sent them packing had Syria won as well.

South Korea managed a 0-0 draw, guaranteeing them at least a playoff berth.  Uzbekistan then needed Iran to defeat Syria to reach the playoff.

Syria led 1-0 on the road before Iran closed the first half with a goal and took the lead in the sixty-fourth minute.  Syria equalized at 90'+3, sending Korea to the World Cup and reaching the AFC playoff, sending Uzbekistan home.

Their opponent would be Australia or Saudi Arabia (Japan was already qualified).  The two were even on points with Australia two goals down in GD.  They were hosting group worst Thailand (no wins and two draws) while Saudi Arabia hosted league best Japan.  Australia won but was unable to take care of the weaker side to improve their GD.  After the 2-1 victory they needed help from Japan.  It did not come as a goal in the 63' sent Saudi Arabia to the WC with a 1-0 victory.

Aussies have their two matches against Thailand to blame, a win and a draw with only a +1 GD.  

Australia and Syria will face off for a spot in the Continental playoff against CONCACAF #4.  Too bad, I really wanted to see Syria/Saudi Arabia.  If I had a third favorite team it would be Aussies but I cannot help but root for Syria here.

Either way, those games today had to be incredibly exciting and nerve-wrecking.  

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