Good morning everybody. I’m back from my weekend away and there is a bunch to discuss from the soccer world this Monday morning.
Let’s start with several surprising World Cup qualiying results throughout the world.
Brazil, Argentina struggle before big clash
Paraguay moved into first place in South American World Cup qualifying with its 2-0 win against Brazil on Sunday. Perhaps Brazil was looking ahead to the highly-anticipated clash with Argentina on Wednesday. Argentina looked to be doing the same, needing a last-minute penalty to earn a 1-1 draw against Ecuador.
These disappointing performances make winning on Wednesday even more of a priority for Brazil and Argentina, who will meet in Brazil in two days.
Mexico struggles, but eventually tops Belize
Expected to blow out Belize in their World Cup qualifying series, Mexico needed 66 minutes to score its first goal and added a second in stoppage time for a 2-0 win against Belize in Houston. The result is certainly a disappointing one for Mexico, especially considering the way the United States disposed of Barbados on the same day. The result was a moral victory or Belize, whose goalkeeper, Shane Orio, established himself as a player to watch in the future.
Trinidad & Tobago is in qualifying trouble
What was supposed to be an easy first step toward World Cup qualifying for Trinidad & Tobago has turned into a nightmare. T&T lost to Bermuda, 2-1, in the home leg of their World Cup qualifying home-and-home series against Bermuda. A 2006 World Cup participant, Trinidad & Tobago is in danger of being eliminated from the World Cup race in its earliest stage, which would certainly have to be seen as an embarrassment for a national team that has endured its share of conflict following that 2006 World Cup showing.
Liberia ties Senegal
Trailing 2-0 in the second half, Liberia ralled for two goals to score a 2-2 tie against Senegal in Liberia on Sunday. So why was this qualifier significant? It was the only one outside of the CONCACAF region to have MLS players on both teams. Colorado’s Bouna Coundoul was the back-up
referee goalkeeper (yes, it was a rough morning) on Sunday, while D.C. United forward Francis Doe came on as a second half substitute for Liberia.
I will add some more World Cup qualifying notes to this shortly. For now, share your thoughts on the weekend’s World Cup qualifying action in the comments section below (except for the U.S. national team’s performance, which will get its own post later today).