footy musings from a (relative) newbie

Posts tagged ‘world cup qualifying’

Favorite Moments from World Cup Qualifying

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.

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World Cup 2014: The Teams are Set

With the playoffs concluded, we now know which teams will compete in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as well as those that won’t (sorry Sweden and Egypt!)

A certain Cristiano Ronaldo lit up the playoffs and sent Portugal to the finals with a memorable hat trick performance against Sweden. Some may call Portugal a one-man team, but if that man is CR7, should they even care?

In the 8 months between now and the start of the tournament on June 12, fans of the qualified countries will veer between giddy optimism and morose despair about their teams’ prospects – depending on things like player injuries (which hopefully will be few and far between) and friendly results.

Obviously, it’s too early to say who’s a favorite or who will win (the Group Stage draw takes place December 6). At this point, though, it’s time to just enjoy the fact that your team’s qualified (or lament that it did not). It’s also key to remember that a lot can happen between now and June 12.

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