After the dramatic 2-0 win over Mexico in Cincinnati on Friday, the US Men’s National Team slumped to a somewhat less impressive 1-1 draw against Jamaica in Kingston on Tuesday, with West Ham’s Michail Antonio canceling out an early strike from Timmy Weah. Christian Pulisic played the final 25 minutes, but this time did not see himself in mirror.
However, the draw turned out to be not too catastrophic, with Mexico then contriving to lose to Canada, 2-1, later in the day. Former Chelsea prospect Ike Ugbo did not play, but Besiktas’s Cyle Larin did, grabbing both goals. The win actually puts Canada on top of the “Octagon”, which is either a great testament to their sudden quality, or a great indictment of the weaknesses of both Mexico and the US.
In case you’re wondering, Canada qualified for the World Cup once, and only once in their history, in 1986 (Mexico). They lost all three of their group games, scoring zero goals.
A bit further south, another notable draw played out, as Argentina took a couple points off Brazil, who have already qualified for the World Cup so perhaps cared a bit less. In fact, they didn’t even play Thiago Silva, for which we will surely thank them with a nice gift basket. (Argentina are now in as well.)
Given the timing of this game and Silva’s non-involvement, we should hopefully see him ready to play for Chelsea immediately following the break rather than having to take his customary extra rest period.
Earlier in the day, France (who had qualified last week) also finished up their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Finland. And thankfully they didn’t even needless call upon N’Golo Kanté to do so! He also got the day off, which is great news for us.
Thirteen teams are now officially in for next year’s World Cup: Qatar, Germany, Denmark, Brazil, France, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Argentina. (That’s a lot of Chelsea representation already!)
The field for the European playoffs is now set as well, with the draw itself coming up in ten days. Seeded teams include Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, and Wales while the unseeded teams are Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
And now, back to proper football.