Saturday, November 13, 2021
Messi came only as a substitute
Argentina took a big step towards Qatar
Even without Lionel Messi in the starting line-up, Argentina is taking a big step towards the 2022 World Cup. ngel Di Maria scored against Uruguay to make it 1–0. The Bundesliga’s two stars are also drawing the United States closer to Qatar, while Africa’s two major nations are in danger of being eliminated soon.
The field of participants of the controversial World Cup 2022 in Qatar is slowly taking shape. With Germany, Denmark, Brazil and the hosts, only four teams have been determined so far, but the results of the final qualifying round have led to a vast improvement in the starting positions for many countries.
A goal from captain Angel Di Maria gave Argentina a tough fight over Uruguay. Superstar Lionel Messi was just replaced, but he is on the way to his possibly final world tournament. In the catch-up game against Brazil on Tuesday, Argentina can book their tickets. Currently with 28 points, the lead in places outside the qualification zone is already twelve points. After Tuesday’s game, there are only five games left for each nation.
With a loss against Argentina, Uruguay is out of the qualifying ranks due to poor goal difference. But except for the Ecuadorian team, which is already beaten by only seven points, all teams can still qualify for the World Cup. There are a total of four locations in South America. A fifth of the Eliminatoria goes to the playoffs.
Meet Pulisic and McKennie
Two former Bundesliga stars Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie put the United States back on track in qualifying in North America. After 2–0 (0–0) against Mexico, the USA reclaimed the top of the table. Canada is only one point behind the tied teams, having qualified for the World Cup only once, in 1986.
Lille striker Jonathan David scored the goal of the day against Costa Rica in front of 48,806 spectators. Bayern player Alfonso Davies was replaced shortly before the end. He was allowed to elicit thunderous applause from the audience. In CONCACAF qualification, however, only the preliminary round has been played. The final match day is scheduled for March 30, 2022. Three teams qualify directly, with fourth-placed Panama going to the playoffs.
Situation in the rest of the world
In Asia, Iran and South Korea have booked all their tickets to Qatar. Both countries have already lost ground in qualifying Group A, while in Group B Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Oman still have a chance for direct qualification. In Africa, the final qualifying round is still pending. Regular World Cup participants Ghana and Cameroon are in danger of being eliminated earlier this week. Oceania could send New Zealand to the World Cup, but that would only be decided by a playoff with representatives from another continental federation next year.
In Europe, England has practically won, beating Albania 5–0. On the last day of the game, one point in San Marino is enough for the team surrounding superstar Harry Kane to participate in the World Cup. Group A, B and H, on the other hand, have finals. Portugal should not lose against Serbia, Spain should not against Sweden and Croatia can still qualify directly with a win against Russia.
France and Belgium can book their tickets on Saturday with wins against Kazakhstan and Estonia respectively. If Norway slips against Latvia (6 pm), the Netherlands’ game in Montenegro (8:45 pm) will also turn into a match point game.
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