It’s true that I usually roll my eyes and get annoyed when World Cup qualifying matches come around. But now that the tournament’s almost here, I can reflect on my favorite moments from the qualifiers.
Mexico advancing…thanks to the United States. Spare a thought for Panama; they were just minutes away from qualifying for the World Cup when the U.S. equalized thanks to Graham Zusi and saved the World Cup hopes of arch rivals, Mexico. That split screen of Mexico falling 2-1 to Costa Rica, and the U.S. defeating Panama very late in their game, is my most surreal – and most memorable – moment from this cycle of World Cup qualifying.
Cristiano Ronaldo 4, Sweden 2. I was following the second leg of the Sweden-Portugal playoff while at work, and periodically checking the score on my phone. Needless to say, my jaw dropped when I saw that CR7 had scored a hat-trick in Stockholm.
Return of Les Bleus: Down 0-2 against Ukraine after the first leg of their playoff, France staged a big comeback to book their spot in Brazil – almost erasing the memory of their awful 2010 World Cup.