International Soccer

World Cup Qualifying goes global on Wednesday


                                                                                 Photo by ISIphotos.com

Let the games begin, again.

World Cup qualifying is set to kick off tonight when Paraguay plays host to Venezuela (and Vanuatu faces Fiji), but tomorrow is when most of the world will have its attention turned to a loaded qualifying schedule and all the teams trying to make it to the 2010 World Cup.

At the top of the menu is the juicy England-Croatia clash in Croatia. England surely hasn’t forgotten how the Croats eliminated them from Euro 2008 qualifying and now the Crostians stand between them and an automatic berth in the World Cup.

If you are lucky enough to have tomorrow off or just free, then you could watch soccer all day. There are several juicy match-ups to consider. Here are the Top 10 matches to watch for (and the mid-week World Cup Qualifiers on TV schedule for Wednesday):

Top 10 Qualifiers to Watch

  • Croatia vs. England. England will look for revenge after Croatia kept them out of Euro 2008.
  • France vs. Serbia. Coming off a loss, the French desperately need a win here. The Benzema-Vidic match-up is a can’t-miss.
  • Portugal vs. Denmark. A disappointing draw against Hungary has the Danes needing a result here against the Ronaldo-less Portuguese.
  • Macedonia vs. Netherlands. Fresh off upsetting Scotland, the Macedonians will look to add another pelt against a Dutch team favored to win loaded Group Nine.
  • Mexico vs. Canada. Mexico is nearly impossible to beat at home, but Canada needs a result to keep faint hopes of reaching the Hexagonal alive.
  • Russia vs. Wales. After watching them in Euro 2008, would you miss a chance to watch Russia? Throw in Wales needing a win and this one has potential for good drama.
  • North Korea vs. South Korea. The same week we see USA-Cuba, we get another politically-charged clash. This one is being played at a neutral site (Shanghai).
  • Uruguay vs Ecuador. Uruguay can put itself in very good shape with a win while Ecuador needs a win to pull back in serious contention in CONMEBOL.
  • Iceland vs. Scotland. After losing to Macedonia, the Scottish need three points here to avoid falling too far behind.
  • Honduras vs. Jamaica. Honduras can start to pull away from the pack in its group with a win here. Jamaica needs a win here pull even with Hondurans (and possibly Canada if Canada pulls the upset).

Qualifier TV Schedule

  • 8AM– FSC- North Korea vs. South Korea (in Shanghai)
  • 11AM– FSC- Russia vs. Wales
  • 2PM– Setanta USA- Turkey vs. Belgium
  • 2:30PM– FSC- Macedonia vs. Holland
  • 2:45PM– GolTV- Italy vs. Georgia
  • 4PM– Setanta USA- Portugal vs. Denmark
  • 4:50PM– GolTV- Spain vs. Armenia
  • 5PM– FSC- Slovenia vs. Slovakia
  • 6:45PM– Setanta USA- France vs. Serbia
  • 8PM- ESPN2/Galavision- USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
  • 8PM– FSC- Uzbekistan vs. Australia
  • 8:45pm– Setanta USA- Finland vs. Germany
  • 9pm- Telemundo- Mexico vs. Canada

So what match will you be looking forward to the most? I mean other than the USA-T&T match of course:

What do you think of the match-ups? What game/games will you be watching? Will you attend any in person?

Share your thoughts on this upcoming round of World Cup qualifying below.

  • Empshel

    I know it’ll be impossible to keep from seeing the score ahead of time, but Setanta USA will broadcast the England/Croatia match on Friday afternoon. It’s definitely the one I’m looking forward to most.

    Also, for people who like South American futbol, ESPN Deportes is broadcasting all of the Matchday Eight S.A. qualifiers in a 10-hour marathon on Saturday. (Don’t worry. It won’t start until after the Manchester United/Liverpool match.)


  • Gilly73

    I just wanted to spread the word that approx 8,500 tickets have been sold for the T&T match. This means TP is going to be empty for our team and after grabbing maximum points on the road they deserve a much better reception.

    This is not an international friendly; this is a WORLD CUP QUALIFIER. C’mon Chicago get your butts over to the stadium to support our boys! Might be the last time they come to Chicago with an attendance like that.

    Sorry Ives but the marketing for this match has been poor and the team needs our support.


  • Rudy

    To hell with England, that match should be live on Setanta. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay per view those losers. I hope Croatia smashes them.


  • Soto

    It seems to me that the US soccer federation does not do a good job of advertising these World Cup matches. I am a Galaxy season ticket holder who goes to the Home Depot Center every other week and who every week gets two to three emails from the Galaxy, Home Depot Center, and Ticketmaster about the Galaxy. But I knew nothing about the U.S. Barbados game last June until after the game took place (I had just found SBI, so I was not fully informed). Oh, sure, if I was a fanatic I would know about these games months ahead of time, but if you are U.S. Soccer and/or the venue owners, shouldn’t you be tapping into these emails lists that the MSL and Ticketmaster have? The Home Depot Center should have been pushing World Cup Qualifier tickets on me last spring (and last fall before the Sweden game, another that I had not heard about), and the Chicago stadium should have been more proactive with this week’s game (I am assuming they haven’t been, based on the current ticket sales). These are great money opportunities being lost by these businesses. And these are great sporting opportunities being lost by the fans.

    Too bad Chicago is just a bit too far for an impromptu visit from Los Angeles. . .


  • Freddy

    Should be a fun-filled day. Best of all, the day will conclude with PERU-Argentina at 10:40pm.


  • Reid

    Gilly, where did u get those #’s, just wondering to see how many for the match in DC they have sold


  • CD

    I was in Chicago recently and there was a billboard for the match on the interstate. Not sure what US soccer fans wouldn’t know about this qualifier.

    One of Ives designated players has been planning a bus trip from Minnesota for months.


  • kyle

    So 8,500 could now be 12,000? How recently? If people don’t show up to this match I’m going to be pissed because it will make Chicago look bad. I’m blaming US Soccer for their lack of commercials or media to promote this game. I didn’t know about Chivas America either until the day before the game, I guess I need to watch more Telemundo or something.


  • Mikebsiu

    Is it just me or is FSC starting to tank. No more Bundesliga, La Liga and now they show some terrible qualifying games.


  • Jacob

    Mikebsiu: GolTV has Bundeslga and la Liga. Plus, Roy Hodgesdon (I can’t ever really remember how to say/spell his last name)


  • Mikebsiu

    I know that, i just think fsc is going down the drain and might cease to exist if they lose premiership rights.


  • Steve

    Luis Arroyeve reported the 8,500 on the ed Card about 24 hous ago.

    US Soccer did not do anythign with the Fire to see if season ticket holders would want to buy their seats of this game.

    I’m not trying to deflect or defend Chicago, this is pathetic. I saw the US and T&T the last cycle in Hartford, CT and they did a heck of a lot better, but think how bad it could be in Denver in a couple months……..


  • Steven C

    I wish I had GolTV. =[ And I’m looking forward to Gamecasting the England/Croatia match… I sure ain’t paying 29.99 (+ fees) to watch it live.


  • kyle

    Very pathetic indeed. Well at least we get to see this game though it may be the last for awhile. Ray Hudson is the crazy announcer on GolTV by the way.


  • mig

    The low ticket sales remind me of the Atlanta Braves of the 90s. They weren’t even selling out playoff games because their fans were so used to being there, there wasn’t much buzz until the NLDS or WS.

    Not that I agree, and more marketing would be better, of course. This game should draw 30k. Part of the problem may be that T&T does not command the Latino following of other CONCACAF opponents.



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