Normally, this summer would see us enraptured by a World Cup, but with FIFA moving the 2022 edition to the winter in all their
wisdom corruption, instead we get friendlies and pseudo-friendlies for a couple weeks (and a couple important games, even), and then, thankfully, a nice long break before next season. That part should be more than welcome, in fairness, especially after last summer’s international commitments, too (i.e. Euro 2020/1, etc).
In any case, we’ve had a bit of international action on Wednesday already, with Billy Gilmour’s Scotland leading the way in terms of importance, but unfortunately not in quality of play, as they succumbed to defeat at home to a much superior Ukraine side, 3-1. Gilmour started and played 70 alright minutes, but this was a bad defeat for Steve Clarke’s charges after showing some promise during qualifying.
Ukraine will take on Ethan Ampadu’s Wales on Sunday to determine the final UEFA qualifier for the World Cup. Poland beat Sweden, 2-0, yesterday to secure their spot as well.
Speaking of world cups, the CONMEBOL-UEFA “Finalissima” was held yesterday as well, a sort of World Super Cup if you will — back after a 29-year hiatus — between the Euro 2020/1 champions, Italy and the 2021 Copa América champions, Argentina, with the latter winning easily, 3-0. Jorginho and Emerson both started, with the former going the distance as well, but could not cope with Messi & Co at Wembley. Not a happy place, that stadium for Jorginho these days; safe to say, he won’t be winning any individual recognition from UEFA for his team’s trophies this season!
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Baba Rahman played the full-90 as Ghana began their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win over Madagascar and Christian Pulisic played a little over an hour as the USMNT dispatched Morocco, 3-0. Captain America set up the opening goal for new Leeds signing Brenden Aaronson with a rather ridiculous Havertzian touch, then gave the ball to debutant Haji Wright for the penalty to set the final score as well.