USA struggled throughout their campaign and fell 2-1 down to Trinidad & Tobago in their final game. That meant a Panama win over Costa Rica would see them into their first World Cup, and Román Torres struck with only two minutes left. USA dropped to fifth in the table, missing their first finals since 1986, after Honduras fought back to beat Mexico and claim a play-off place, in which they lost out to Australia over two legs. … [Read more...] about World Cup 2018: which teams have made it to Russia?
Expected goals world cup 2018
For things to go well against Italy, goalkeeper Robin Olsen must have two good games. Emil Forsberg is doing well at RB Leipzig and he will hold the key offensively. Marcus Berg hasn’t had the blossoming club career everyone expected – he is currently playing for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates – but he has had an excellent qualifying campaign for us, scoring eight goals. He’ll need to find the net again if we are to make it to Russia. Christian Bojesson … [Read more...] about World Cup 2018: fans from around Europe preview the play-offs
Jonathan Wilson: Gareca edges Peru to brink of rare qualification 9) Modric and company must seize their final opportunity A World Cup without Messi would have been sadly bereft – but what about one lacking Luka Modric? The Real Madrid playmaker is now 32 and, when you consider the gifts of the Croatia team-mates he works with, it beggars belief that his place at Russia 2018 hangs in the balance. Croatia’s supporters can be rightly furious at the mismanagement that has seen it come to this, although the appointment of Zlatko Dalic in time for the crucial 2-0 win in Ukraine last month appears to have come in the nick of time. Now Dalic – who replaced the disliked Ante Cacic and will work without a contract until, and unless, qualification is secured – must hope Croatia discover their old verve against Greece. Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic are among those who, like Modric, may not be around when Qatar 2022 arrives and few would dispute that next … [Read more...] about World Cup play-offs, final qualifiers and friendlies: 10 things to look out for
At times, this aspirational, friendly version of Russia collided with the unmovable wall of the real thing. Attempting to access the media centre for the opening match, I found a metal grille slammed firmly in my face and an angry police officer who would answer only “Wait!” to any question. The volunteers were still smiling but had no answers as to what was going on. After a while, it became apparent that Vladimir Putin was about to land in his helicopter, and for that reason access to the media centre was closed for a full 40 minutes, meaning myself and a number of other reporters missed the kick-off. … [Read more...] about Russia passes Confederations Cup test but hosts need a team to rally behind
“We have fans who have been on a lifetime journey with the Socceroos,” says Michael Edgley, a director of the Green and Gold Army. His love of away matches began when he watched Australia beat England 3-1 in a 2000 friendly at Upton Park, West Ham United’s old stadium in London. “We have all generations of fans. They’ve gone to Scotland in 1985, they’ve flown to Argentina in 1993.” … [Read more...] about What drives a Socceroos fan to travel 14,000km to watch their team play?