Thursday’s soccer news starts with Canada, Mexico, and the United States directly qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. Canada finished top of the table on goal difference over Mexico, with both teams on 28 points. The USA was in 3rd-place on goal difference, tied on 25 points with 4th-place Costa Rica. It’s Costa Rica playing New Zealand in the playoffs. None of the Concacaf teams are in pot 1 for tomorrow’s World Cup draw. The USA and Mexico are in pot 2, with Canada in pot 4. The playoff winners also end up in pot 4.
While the USMNT was open about being disappointed with the 2-0 loss at Costa Rica to close out qualifying, making it back to the World Cup was the clear goal. Getting there is getting there, with the United States now set for another unique experience in changing times for world soccer.
It’s too early to tell what the schedule changes necessary to move the 2022 World Cup to November and December will mean. National Team technical staffs are already wondering how they can prepare a team when the expectation is not a lot of lead time prior to the start of the World Cup. It’s a fair question, presenting a new scenario than the normal extended camp in advance of a summer World Cup.
We’re already seeing what the grind of compacted schedules do to player availability, another issue as the games keep coming. The switch back to the club schedule following the final rounds of qualifying are another example of the pressure on players all over the world. The physical and mental strain continues into the next club season, likely creating opportunities for some and issues for others.
That may be the polite way to describe the current situation across world soccer. It’s less than ideal, pushing players and staff to the limits regardless of whether it’s club or country. That’s not the point of the World Cup. The extended camp and the summer schedule refocuses soccer on its biggest event. How that changes is now the big picture question for all involved as the calendar quickly moves forward.
The Washington Post’s Steven Goff looks at the USMNT now shifting from qualifying to the World Cup. Deadspin’s Sam Fels puts the focus on the broader result of qualifying. The Guardian’s Tom Dart on the next step for the USMNT. The NY Times’ Andrew Keh focuses on the USA doing the job. SI’s Brian Straus looks past the Costa Rica loss. ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura on that quick shift after qualifying. The Athletic’s Sam Stjeskal and Paul Tenorio with the USMNT celebrating their accomplishment.
FRIDAY’S SOCCER TV
World Cup draw on FS1 at 12pm. Primeira Liga on GolTV: Braga vs Benfica at 3:15pm. Liga MX on TUDN: San Luis vs Mazatlan at 10pm ET.
All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at email@example.com