Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hooligan's Daily: Italy misses World Cup for the first time in 60 years

Yesterday's Scores
World Cup Qualifying- UEFA Playoffs Second Leg
Italy 0-0 Sweden (0-1 on aggregate)

For the first time since 1958, the World Cup will be without Italy. The lack of finishing in both legs against the Swedes has that Azzurri cancelling their Russian travel plans for the summer. Sweden, meanwhile, is returning to the world's biggest stage for the first time since 2006.

There are now 29 teams qualified for the World Cup. The final three spots will be set by Wednesday evening.

We also have a tournament without the following world powers: the USA, Italy, Netherlands, and Chile. Which would be a pretty badass group had they all qualified.

USL Playoffs- Final
Louisville City 1-0 Swope Park Rangers
(Lancaster 88')

Cameron Lancaster's header in the dying minutes gives Louisville City their first ever USL title. A sellout crowd of more than 14,000 witnessed the event, and half of them stormed the field upon hearing the final whistle. It was a glorious scene, especially as the public address announcer pleaded for them to return to their seats for the trophy presentation. They didn't listen and it created a great atmosphere as the USL Cup was presented to the players as they were surrounded by the Louisville City faithful. Soccer, especially the lower leagues, should embrace the field storming for these title games. Its fun for the fans and presents minimal danger for everyone.

Christian Pulisic took to the Players' Tribune to express his thoughts on the USA missing out on the World Cup after their loss to Trinidad and Tobago last month. He had a lot of interesting perspectives on the state of soccer fandom, the USMNT, and player development that I encourage you to read the whole thing. One passage, in general, stood out to me as one that affected the entire soccer world, as opposed to just the messed up situation here in the United States. When mentioning how lucky it was that he has dual citizenship with Croatia, which allowed him to go to Dortmund at the age of 16, he had this to say:
And so I really just wonder, you know: Why is it that E.U. players are allowed to move country once they turn 16 … but non-Europeans can only do so at 18? Why aren’t we campaigning for a level playing field, where our best 16 year olds — who may not have an E.U. passport like I had — are free to move when they turn 16, like the best young players in Europe can?
Europe has dominated the international soccer scene over the last decade and a half. The continent has won every World Cup since 2006. Countries outside the E.U. aren't able to send their teenagers off to the best clubs in the world, which sort of hampers their development. I think it would be good for FIFA to find some way to get rid of their laws preventing teens from moving to new countries for soccer reasons. It might help develop the game in other parts of the world, like they claim to want to do.

Today's Matches
World Cup Qualifying- UEFA Playoffs Second Leg
Ireland v. Denmark- 2:45pm- FS2

World Cup Qualifying- CAF
Burkina Faso v. Cape Verde Islands- 2:30pm
Senegal v. South Africa- 2:30pm- beIN

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