Talking Points from the International Break
Even though we all hate international breaks, this past was really interesting, to be fair. And since this was the final round of the World Cup Qualifiers, wasn’t it supposed to be? From Bale’s Wales and Sanchez and Vidal’s Chile falling short to Messi’s Argentina on the brink of failure, this break had it all. There wasn’t any shortage of entertainment, as 23 teams have cemented their places in the 2018 World Cup.
Here are the Talking Points from the International Break from Borussia Dortmund’s perspective-
U.S.A’s remarkable failure
This isn’t the first time U.S.A is stunning the world, in a negative sense, that is. For instance, Donald Trump was elected the President last year. And now, they’ve fallen to another low in the world of football. They’ve not qualified for the World Cup in 32 years. 32! While most were predicting a routine victory for the States, they had the audacity to fall to an embarrassing defeat to Trinidad and Tobago. What more, even teams like Iceland, Egypt, Costa Rica and Panama have done what the USA failed to do. Not a superpower in football, eh Trump?
On a serious note, it’ll be a shame to not be able to witness Christian Pulisic lighting Russia 2018 on fire. But he’s young and has 2-3 more World Cups ahead of him. Maybe USA Football team should come up with a tagline of “Next World Cup is ours!”
Gabon Rues ‘Suspicious’ Orange Juice
While not many put their money on Gabon upsetting Morocco, Aubameyang’s tweet blaming the orange juice stirred some controversy. While many were quick to make fun of him, others were actually suspicious, particularly after Gabon’s manager Jose Antonio Camacho also reiterated that at least half of their team fell ill prior to the match. While it’s not clear if it really was a conspiracy by the Morocco team, fans were quick to argue that it was impossible for even a healthy Gabon side to have won. And we can’t argue with that, can we?
Japan, Poland and Spain go through, While Greece still unsure
Shinji Kagawa led Japan and Lukasz Piszczek’s Poland qualified for the World Cup, but Sokratis’ Greece are still unsure of their hopes. They await the draw of the World Cup Play-off to be held next month when it’ll be now or never for them. And even though Bartra didn’t make an appearance, his Spanish team also topped their Qualifying group.
Elsewhere, Nuri Sahin and Omar Toprak-led Turkey finished a lowly fourth in Group I, and could’ve been in contention to qualify had they won their last two qualifiers.
Piszczek Injury means Bad News
Lukasz Piszczek, who returned from a long-term injury a few weeks ago, looks set to spend further time on the sidelines, having come off injured. He collided with his teammate Szczesny just before half-time, and even though he tried carrying on after the break, he eventually gave in to the pain. While the Poland FA has suggested that he might’ve injured his ligaments, his club hasn’t officially confirmed the extent of his injury. But with initial reports suggesting that he’ll be out for a long duration, here’s hoping that he does not add to Bosz’s injury concerns, particularly with a busy forthcoming schedule.