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Tuesday Internationals Open Thread

Paul Gilham

This one's going up a bit early, in case you're interested in that rather random Brazil vs. Zambia encounter that's about to be played in the Birds' Nest in Beijing. Such a cool stadium. Rumors are that Oscar might actually get a rest here (I KNOW, RIGHT?), while Ramires comes back into Scolari's lineup.

Later, we get all the fun European qualifiers (as well as Ghana's first leg vs. Egypt in CAF). Groups B, D, E are the ones with the greatest potential for mayhem.

My attention will be mostly on Group D, as Hungary hope for a miracle win from Estonia away to Romania, which, combined with a Netherlands win away to Turkey and a Hungary win home to Andorra, would propel the suddenly coach-less Hungarians* into the World Cup playoffs. It would be the closest they will have come to qualifying since 1986.

* The 8-1 defeat to the Dutch is Hungary's WORST ever international result (following three instances of 7-0 reverses in 1908, 1912, and 1941). We witnessed history!**

** The fallout from all this is just beginning in Hungary. My boy Szalai (who missed the 8-1 with the flu) just went on an amazing seven minute rant (followed by a 20-minute q&a; sorry it's in Hungarian) about the general muck and mire that surrounds football in Hungary (from development, to coaching, to players - "making fools out of fans for the last 10-20 years"). He's the second player to speak out about such things in the last few years (Szabolcs Huszti went on a similar, although written & more vindictive rant three years ago), especially the giant gap in expectations and reality.

Anyway, on a happier note, this is how Mexico won their match on Friday. Football!

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