Friday, March 24, 2017

Hooligan's Daily: Didier Drogba to... Phoenix Rising?

Yesterday's Scores
World Cup Qualifying- CONMEBOL
Colombia 1-0 Bolivia
(Rodriguez 83')

Paraguay 2-1 Ecuador
(Valdez 12', Alonso 65')

Uruguay 1-4 Brazil
(Cavani PK 9')-(Paulinho 19', 52', 90+2', Neymar 74')

Argentina 1-0 Chile
(Messi PK 16')

Venezuela 2-2 Peru
(Villanueva 24', Otero 40')-(Carrillo 46', Guerrero 64')

Brazil's big win moves them seven points clear of the top spot in the table and ten points ahead of automatic qualification for Russia with five games remaining. They can become the first team to book a place in the World Cup if results go their way on Tuesday. A win at home over Paraguay coupled with a Chile loss at home against Venezuela and an Ecuador loss at home to Colombia will get the job done.

Everything is a mess beyond the top spot, however, Only five points separate second place Uruguay from seventh place Paraguay. Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Chile are all stuck between them. The top four spots head straight to Russia and the fifth place finisher will take on the OFC winner in a two legged playoff for a last chance qualification.

World Cup Qualifying- AFC
China 1-0 South Korea
(Dabao 34')

Syria 1-0 Uzbekistan
(Khribin PK 90')

Iraq 1-1 Australia
(Yasin 76')-(Leckie 39')

Thailand 0-3 Saudi Arabia
(Al Sahlawi 26', Kesarat OG 84', Al Muwashar 90')

United Arab Emirates 0-2 Japan
(Kubo 13', Konno 51')

Qatar 0-1 Iran
(Taremi 52')

Asia also has four games left in this round of qualifying. No team is capable of clinching during this break, but Iran, Japan, and Saudi Arabia would all need anti-miracles to blow their chances now. The top two spots in each of the six team groups heads to Russia with the third place teams playing a playoff to get to a playoff against a CONCACAF team.

The big result here is South Korea getting upset by China. Korea is only one point clear of automatic qualification while China is barely clinging to hope.

Headlines
I feel like I should be taking this with a grain of salt, because it sounds pretty odd, but Didier Drogba could be making a comeback with... Phoenix Rising of the USL. This is strange, to say the least, but he would at least be reunited with his former Chelsea teammate, Shaun Wright-Phillips. I feel like Drogba is better than a second tier American club, even at his advanced age. One thing is for certain, though. If he does sign, I imagine Phoenix will see a hasty jump in ticket sales for their new pop-up stadium.

Today's Matches
World Cup Qualifying- UEFA
Georgia v. Serbia- 1pm- ESPN3
Turkey v. Finland- 1pm
Austria v. Moldova- 3:45pm- ESPN3
Ireland v. Wales- 3:45pm- ESPN3
Italy v. Albania- 3:45pm
Liechtenstein v. Macedonia- 3:45pm
Spain v. Israel- 3:45pm- ESPN3
Croatia v. Ukraine- 3:45pm
Kosovo v. Iceland- 3:45pm- ESPN3

World Cup Qualifying- CONCACAF
Trinidad and Tobago v. Panama- 7pm- beIN
Mexico v. Costa Rica- 8:50pm- FS1, UniMas
United States v. Honduras- 10:50pm- FS1, UniMas

World Cup Qualifying- OFC
Fiji v. New Zealand- 9pm

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