The Lead

European World Cup qualifiers are what put asses in the seats, but the football drama seems to be lingering squarely in the middle of the Western hemisphere. Last night, the United States made history with a 0-0 draw in the Azteca stadium. It was, as Jeff Carlisle wrote this morning, only the “second in its history” that the US managed to secure a point at the Azteca in qualifying.

There will be quibbles with the aesthetic of the US national team in their draw, particularly as Mexico managed 19 attempts to the USA’s 1. But that’s the nature of CONCACAF: it’s a dirty, mud and snow soaked horror show right until the dying stages. You watch these things with an upset stomach, not a stimulated mind—why else would DaMarcus Beasley be out there? The US clearly did what they needed to defensively to leave the Azteca hype for another day.

Meanwhile the Hex table speaks for itself, even at this relatively early-ish stage. Panama is first, followed by Costa Rica, the USA and Honduras, all tied on 4 points and separated by goal differential. Meanwhile Mexico is in fifth on three points. This is of course bound to change significantly as the campaign progresses, but is already far from your dad’s Hex.

As for the Brazil-less CONMEBOL, Uruguay’s struggle to compete continued yesterday with a 2-0 loss to Chile, a game that may lead to a lengthy suspension for Luis Suarez for punching Gonzalo Jara in the first half (he’s already out of the next game against Venezuela on yellows). If you don’t think that’s a bad thing, Suarez has been scoring a lot of goals this campaign with a total of 8, tied with Lionel Messi. Uruguay are struggling this time around, two points outside the playoff spot.

Finding all this compelling doesn’t make you a hipster. It makes you a conscious person who likes football.


Sam Allardyce says new deal near completion with West Ham.

Gerrard says Montenegro deserved to equalize, England feel asleep in the second half.

Ferguson says he expected title race to have been much tighter.


Italy’s Serie B to introduce salary cap.

Former Lazio goalkeeper says Balotelli is Italy’s Iniesta or Ronaldo, an important part of the national team.

La Liga

Villa grateful club and fans never lost faith in him.

Mourinho committed to Madrid, but won’t rule out a move to London in the future.


Wigan loanee Paul Scharner wants to impress in Hamburg.

What life and football are like in Germany’s ninth division.

Bit and Bobs

Luis Suarez hits Chilean player in the face.

UEFA has cleared PSG’s Ibrahimovic, can now face Barcelona.

Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.