rss

Category: World Cup

0

World Cup 2018 play-offs: how do you rate your team’s chances?

Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Greece are vying for four places at the World Cup. Who will make it?Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Greece a…

0

World Cup play-offs: Denmark v Rep of Ireland, Northern Ireland v Switzerland

• Four-time winners Italy will face Sweden for place in finals • Croatia will play their first-leg match at home to GreeceThe Republic of Ireland have been drawn against Denmark in the play-offs for the 2018 World Cup while Northern Ireland will face S…

0

World Cup 2018 play-off draw – live!

Eight European teams competing for four Russia 2018 placesSwitzerland, Italy, Croatia and Denmark in Pot 1Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Greece in Pot 2How Croatia, Italy and Ireland fared in Europe’s first World Cup play-offsEmail d…

0

How Croatia, Italy and Ireland fared in Europe’s first World Cup play-offs in 1997

A few of the teams facing play-offs for next summer’s World Cup have been here before. Croatia and Italy qualified 20 years ago … unlike the Republic of IrelandBy Richard Foster for The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Guardian Sport NetworkOf the eight …

0

Sports quiz of the week: World Cup debutants, caps, dogs and Harrys

Who broke a record? Who is going to Russia? And who barked twice?Three players called Harry started for England against Lithuania on Sunday (Kane, Winks and Maguire). Which Harry has the most caps for England?Harry HibbsHarry Bedford Harry Allen Harry …

0

Fifa’s World Cup money-grabbing may be running into the sand in Qatar | Marina Hyde

Our heroes’ formula of leaving with all the cash and paying no tax could be coming awry in the Middle East as a Dubai official suggests Qatar should give up the World Cup

Exciting territory for the Middle East ingenues at Fifa, as the Qatar World Cup is elevated to the status of geopolitical bargaining chip. I know! It’ll be hard to know whether to qualify for it or sign a triple entente in the hope it’ll see us through the group stage.

But first, a recap. Back in June, several countries in the region – including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – instituted a blockade of Qatar, severing diplomatic relations and cutting off trade routes and so on. This, they said, was a response to the country’s support for terrorism and closeness to Iran. Among their various demands was that Qatar shut down the Doha‑based al-Jazeera and align itself far more tightly with other Gulf countries. Eye‑catchingly, Dubai’s high-profile security chief has now upped the stakes and claimed the blockade would end if Qatar gave up the World Cup. “If the World Cup leaves Qatar,” reasoned Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan last Sunday, “Qatar’s crisis will be over … because the crisis is created to get away from it.”

Continue reading…

0

Stubbornness and lack of talent: the factors that doomed USA’s World Cup

Bruce Arena’s team will not be at Russia 2018. It doesn’t take long to discover why they failed so badly in their bid to qualify for the tournament

The shock is just now beginning to subside after the US men’s national team was eliminated from contention for the next summer’s World Cup in Russia. Every result that could have doomed them on Tuesday night came about, with Honduras and Panama’s respective wins combining with the US’s own 2-1 loss at already eliminated Trinidad & Tobago to knock Bruce Arena’s men out.

The list of what didn’t doom the United States’ qualifying campaign is lengthy – vastly greater resources and spending power relative to the rest of the Concacaf region, first and foremost – but before the autopsy begins in earnest, below are four things that consigned the US to desperate failure.

Continue reading…

0

World Cup 2018 power rankings: Germany on top among qualified 23 | Nick Ames

Twenty-three nations have booked their places for the World Cup in Russia, with the holders and Brazil looking in good shape but we rank England in 13th place, below Iceland

If the world champions were frustrated by their failure to win continental honours at Euro 2016 they have certainly taken it out on everyone else since. Germany won 10 qualifying games out of 10 and, even if San Marino’s presence in Group C needs taking into account, a record 43 goals scored suggests things are back in their old working order. So too did their Confederations Cup title in July, achieved with an experimental squad; Joachim Low can select from an unrivalled depth of talent and, while winning back-to-back World Cups remain a huge task, none of next summer’s contenders has an equivalent selection of tools with which to tackle the different challenges they will face.

Continue reading…

0

World Cup 2018: which teams have made it to Russia and who can still qualify?

The full list of qualifiers is shaping up before the World Cup finals draw in December but there are still nine places up for grabsAfter a qualification process involving 209 national teams and lasting more than two years, the list of 32 sides who will…

0

Socceroos to play Honduras for place in World Cup finals

  • Honduras upset Mexico 3-2 in dramatic final round of matches
  • Teams to meet over two legs in November for place in Russia next year

Australia will face Honduras for a spot at next year’s World Cup, their intercontinental fate confirmed after a drama-packed final Concacaf matchday. A two-legged play-off against Panama or Honduras before Wednesday’s last set of fixtures loomed large, with the United States in the box seat to qualify directly in third spot.

Related: FFA to make statement after report Ange Postecoglou will quit Socceroos

Continue reading…

0

Woeful USA fail to make 2018 World Cup after loss to Trinidad & Tobago

After one of the most devastating nights in the history of American soccer, the US will not be going to Russia next summer after a shock 2-1 defeat to lowly Trinidad & Tobago saw them finish fifth in Concacaf World Cup qualifying.

It was going to take an unlikely combination of results for the US to miss out on the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986, and that is exactly what happened, though the Americans only have themselves to blame for squandering a strong position with this catastrophic performance.

Continue reading…

0

Ange Postecoglou’s ‘sole focus’ on World Cup qualification amid reports he will quit

  • Coach reportedly to leave post before World Cup even if Australia qualify
  • Postecoglou says he will ‘not let anything compromise team’s journey’

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has refused to confirm or deny reports he is planning to quit his post before next year’s World Cup final, even if the Socceroos qualify.

News Corp reported on Wednesday the national team coach would walk away following next month’s final qualifying playoff against Honduras that will determine Australia’s fate.

Continue reading…

0

Ecuador v Argentina: World Cup 2018 qualifier – live!

12.25am BST

I’d like to apologise in advance for tonight’s coverage. Specifically:

all of it
I probably won’t have chance to check my emails that often, as I’m too old for this multi-game/permutations lark. It’s not you, it’s bloody well me!

12.23am BST

“The Universal is a great song,” says Simon McMahon. “Although when it comes to Scotland, it really really really couldn’t happen.”

Continue reading…

0

Trinidad and Tobago v USA: 2018 World Cup qualifier – live!

  • Bruce Arena’s men need a win to guarantee a place in Russia next year
  • Email bob.williams.casual@theguardian.com or tweet @williamsbob75

10.30pm BST

Bob will be here soon. In the meantime, you can read how the USA put themselves on the brink of World Cup qualification.

Related: Christian Pulisic shines as USA defeat Panama 4-0 in must-win qualifier

Continue reading…

0

Portugal and France reach World Cup as Holland and Arjen Robben bow out

• Portugal snatch top spot in Group B with 2-0 victory against Switzerland
• Robben retires from internationals after Sweden pip Holland to play-off place

The European champions, Portugal, qualified for next year’s World Cup with a convincing 2-0 win over Switzerland on Tuesday after an own goal by Johan Djourou set them on their way.

The Swiss defender put the ball into his own net four minutes before half-time and André Silva sealed the victory in the 57th minute as Portugal pulled level on 27 points with Switzerland and won Group B on goal difference.

Continue reading…

0

Socceroos take bumpy route to World Cup as Cahill’s head prevails

Australia’s qualification journey has been as circuitous and wrenching as a budget flight to Europe

Ange Postecoglou normally fronts the cameras with all the enthusiasm of a long-necked man walking to the gallows. Last night, however, after the Socceroos squeaked past Syria 2-1 to reach the final stage of World Cup qualifying – a play-off against, most likely, Honduras or Panama – he allowed himself the indulgence of a smile. Though only a wry one, mind. “We always find a difficult way to do things,” he said.

He’s not wrong. Since their journey to Russia 2018 began in June 2015 with a twitchy 2-1 away win against Kyrgyzstan, the Socceroos’ World Cup qualification journey has been as circuitous and wrenching as one of those budget flights to Europe in which the layovers are longer than many marriages and the flight paths resemble the etchings of a lunatic.

Continue reading…

0

France, Portugal and Holland in World Cup 2018 qualifying action – live!

Updates from the World Cup qualifiers in groups A, B and HLive scores: all the goals as they go in around EuropeEmail john.ashdown@theguardian.com. Tweet @John_Ashdown 8.10pm BST Unhappy scenes coming through from Tallinn as Bosnia-Herzegovina support…

0

James McClean adds polish to spiky image to reward Martin O’Neill’s faith | Paul Doyle

The combative winger has his detractors on and off the field but he has been the Republic of Ireland’s standout performer in World Cup qualifying, showing finesse as well as tenacity

There was a quirky period in the 1970s and 80s when it seemed that to be a left-winger for the Republic of Ireland, a player also had to be a university graduate in politics or history, as Steve Heighway and Tony Galvin happened to be. The team’s current left-winger, James McClean, did not go to college but he has views on those subjects that have earned him a degree of scorn from people who object simplistically to his refusal to wear a poppy on Remembrance Day.

Another reason some Premier League followers dislike the West Bromwich Albion winger is that his skillset is limited and his tackling does not always recognise the border between full‑blooded and over-the-top. Those are fairer criticisms but, on the other hand, they also allude to the reason why McClean has many admirers: if a footballer plays for years in the Premier League despite not being blessed with much finesse, then he must have exceptional quantities of other qualities, such as energy, moxie and commitment to a cause.

Continue reading…

0

Iceland get the party started after showing they are no one-hit wonders

Iceland are going to their first World Cup and have reached the big time again without losing any of their small-time charm, with the coach addressing fans in a bar before the decisive win over Kosovo

Amid the flurry of bodies there was, fleetingly, a moment when Gylfi Sigurdsson just wanted to take it all in. Three hours had passed since full-time and the music had never really stopped; now Iceland’s players and staff were dancing on stage with the local rapper Emmsje Gauti and if a football match is exertion enough then this, feeding from the energy of the thousands who had greeted them on Ingolfstorg Square, was an exercise fuelled purely by adrenaline. Sigurdsson paused, puffed out his cheeks slightly and had a word in the ear of his team‑mate and captain, Aron Gunnarsson. Both men glanced at the blue-clad throng in front of them, and back at each other. The grins that spread across their faces rendered further conversation unnecessary.

“I thought that, after the Euros, the toughest thing to do would be to restart,” the Iceland manager, Heimir Hallgrimsson, had said back at the Laugardalsvollur stadium, which emptied swiftly after the 2-0 victory against Kosovo in order that the celebrations might continue in Reykjavik city centre. “The first beer the day after a party is not good-tasting; I think tomorrow it won’t taste as good as now.”

Continue reading…

0

Who should play up front for France? It’s time for Didier Deschamps to decide

Deschamps has to pick a balanced team while juggling the talents of Mbappé, Giroud, Dembélé, Griezmann, Lacazette, Payet and Martial – among others

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

France’s narrow victory over Bulgaria on Saturday night means Didier Deschamps has won more games as the Les Blues manager than anyone else, edging above Michel Hidalgo and Raymond Domenech’s record of 41 wins. The 1-0 win in Sofia also means France can guarantee their place at the World Cup next summer by beating Belarus at home on Tuesday night. Sitting one point clear of Sweden before the final fixtures, France are almost certain to be in the draw for the group stage come December, but Deschamps is still far from sure about the squad and starting 11 he will employ in Russia.

Balance has always been crucial for Deschamps. Despite the ludicrous levels of talent at his disposal, he has avoided the temptation of desperately cramming his best players into his team, as Sven-Göran Eriksson did with his midfielders while in charge of England. Deschamps’ use of Paul Pogba is perhaps an exception to that rule, but he tends to prioritise his system and the balance of the team above defaulting to the pound-for-pound quality of individual players. A good example of this is the way he has persisted with Olivier Giroud and Moussa Sissoko, most notably during Euro 2016.

Continue reading…