13 August 2009

World Cup Qualifying Update

The U.S. team fell to Mexico 2:1 yesterday. This continues the Mexicans' dominance at home. The 100,000+ fans in Azteca Stadium have never seen their team lose to the Americans. In fact, as pointed out by ESPN, eleven teams have came to Mexico and scored first (which is a HUGE advantage in soccer), yet all eleven have failed to not only win, but couldn't even salvage a tie!
With two months left until qualifying is completed, the Americans are still third in their group, which would see them qualify for the finals in South Africa next summer. They have four games left; two against higher-rated teams and two against lower-rated teams. No more games against Mexico though.
Across the pond, the qualifying also has about four rounds of matches left and there are a few surprises. The Balkan region is doing amazingly well, Serbia & Slovakia are on top of their groups and Bosnia & Croatia are in second in theirs. Although there's still a lot to play for, big names Portugal and Czech Republic have some real work to do if they're to qualify. Netherlands is the only team to have a spot locked up, which, of course I am happy about. The Irish are second in Group 8, only a single point behind leaders Italy. Italy does have a match in hand, though. Ireland has three remaining matches (Cyprus, Italy, Montenegro). Group winners automatically qualify and the teams in second place pair off to play for a ticket to South Africa. That is how Ireland qualified in 2002, and they missed out (finished 4th in their group) in 2006. The next couple months should be interesting!

No comments:

Post a Comment