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.
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Bit and Bobs
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Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.