A Mess for Messi | Case of the Mondays
Here's who's having the worst #CaseOfTheMondays this morning.
The scene was set: Argentina vs. Peru, not at Estadio Monumental as usual but at La Bombonera — the same venue at which Peru beat Argentina in 1969 to qualify for World Cup 1970, as well as prevent Argentina from going themselves. As it stands, the 1970 tournament is the only one that Argentina have not qualified for.So, as the narrative would naturally have it, history repeated itself last week — Peru held Argentina to a 0-0 draw, and because Chile defeated Ecuador 2-1 Argentina plummeted down to 6th place. As it stands, they’re out of the 5th place play-off spot on goal difference, and out of the World Cup.Of course, there is one more game to play, which decides everything in CONMEBOL. If Argentina win in Ecuador, where they haven’t won since 2001, then they qualify. If they draw, they’ll need a lot of help from pretty much every other game’s results.And if they lose, and lose out completely, will Messi retire for real?
The dream of World Cup 2018 is over for Scotland before it started. A 2-2 draw in Slovenia this weekend meant that, once again, they would miss the tournament; they haven’t featured in one since 1998, and they’ve never in their history made it out of the group stage. So while expectations couldn’t have been particularly high, it’s still going to be a bummer, albeit a familiar one, for Scots. At least they’ll likely get to watch England, who stumbled their way to qualification, get put in their place relatively quickly.
You’d think it would have been easy for the 17th-ranked country in the world to take down the 103rd-ranked country in the world, but this weekend Italy struggled to a 1-1 draw against Macedonia instead. And the way the two played, you might not be able to tell which was ranked 17th and which 103rd.The result means that Italy will finish second in their group, behind Spain — who did not lose once during qualifying — with a 6-2-1 record. They’ll have to fight their way through the playoffs now, which they might be feeling more optimistic about would this performance not be the most recent on their mind.But all of this isn’t even that surprising; the 2006 victor’s decline since then has been sharp, not making it past the group stage in both subsequent tournaments. Gianluigi Buffon may be one of the best players in the world, and defense does win championships, but one player does not a champion side make...
Netherlands fans had about five minutes to be optimistic following their 3-1 win in Belarus on Saturday — until they saw the Sweden scoreline: 8-0.This means that Sweden have all but solidified their spot in second, on 19 points to first-place France’s 20, while the Netherlands trail behind in 3rd on 16 points. But because Sweden’s win was so much larger, even if the Netherlands won against Sweden in the final game of qualifying, the Dutch would simply not be able to overcome their goal difference if they ended equal on points; Sweden is currently +19 while the Netherlands are only +7, meaning they would need to win by 7 goals.And even then, they’ll have only qualified for the playoffs. But you can’t crash out of the World Cup if you don’t even attend?