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World Cup semi finals set

World Cup semi-fnals are set and there is NO Germany (knocked out in first round), NO Brazil (defeated in quarters yesterday), NO Argentina (lost in round of 16)…  Instead, you have an all-European affair with Belgium, Croatia, England and France.

Tuesday, July 10: Semi-Final 1

  • Belgium faces France – France is a slight favorite

Wednesday, July 11: Semi-Final 2

  • Croatia faces England – England is the favorite

Why wouldn’t England be the big favorite they are against an undefeated Croatian team?  England surprised everyone by defeating Colombia in the round of 16 on penalty kicks.  England typically does not win on penalty kicks.

How did the four teams get here?

  1. France defeated Uruguay 2-1 yesterday
  2. Belgium got by Brazil 2-1 yesterday.
  3. England beat Sweden 2-0 this morning
  4. Croatia just beat host Russia 4-3 on penalty kicks after being locked on 1-1 in regular and 2-2 in extra time.

Will we see an England – Belgium rematch of the 3rd group-stage match in the finals OR will we see old-school England vs France, or will it be one or two upsets? For the record, I had England because the USA did not make the world cup and, despite up against some great teams, I will still go with England to win. Madness? We will see.

Who will left World Cup 2018 trophy?

  • England (36%, 5 Votes)
  • Belgium (29%, 4 Votes)
  • France (29%, 4 Votes)
  • Croatia (7%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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Argentina advances to World Cup round of 16

Argentina defeated Nigeria 2-1 amidst controversial calls by the referee to advance to the round of 16. Messi scored the first goal for Argentina. Diego Mseasons yelled a Spanish obscenity and showed an obscene gesture in celebration after the final whistle.

CAN, MEX, USA hosts 2026 World Cup Finals; 48 teams instead of 32

The USA, Canada, and Mexico won the bid for the 2026 World Cup [finals] over Morocco. This means all 3 teams get a “bye” (automatic bid). With the number of teams also increasing from 32 to 48, it means CONCACAF, the federation from which those teams come, will get those 6 spots (3 automatic and 3 more).

Big questions?

  1. Will USA still be “friends” with Canada and Mexico at that point?
  2. Can Jamaica and T&T cement themselves into 2026 with more opportunities?
  3. How about other countries from the Caribbean?

It would be nice, if I am alive and well, to see 2 or 3 Caribbean teams into a World Cup finals… for real.

One can dream…

Reggae Boyz lay egg in Costa Rica

After giving up valuable points in the National Stadium on Good Friday (last week) where they gave up a 1-0 lead, the Reggae Boyz were embarrassed and outclassed by the Costa Ricans in Costa Rica.  The Boyz were hoping to salvage  at least one point but were beaten 3-0 by the Central Americans.

Adding insult to injury, Haiti held off Panama until late in that game when Panama scored that late goal to win and move into 2nd place.

So where do they stand now?  Jamaica can get a maximum of 10 points now but things are a lot worse if they are in a tie on points at the end.  The reason is their goal difference is terrible at this point (-4 vs +2 for PAN and +5 for CR).

Standing

Team Won Drawn Lost GF GA GD Pts
 CR 3 1 0 7 2 +5 10
 PAN 2 1 1 4 2 +2 7
 JAM 1 1 2 2 6 −4 4
 HAI 0 1 3 0 3 −3 1

 

Qualification Scenarios

The Reggae Boyz no longer control their destiny. I still think getting 10 points is their only realistic chance, one where they depend far less on the outcome of other matches (help) and don’t have to necessarily win big.  After all, why would we expect them to win big when they’ve scored 2 goals in 4 matches?

There are multiple scenarios under which Jamaica qualifies for 5th round (final CONCACAF WC qualification round), only 2 being realistic.

1. Win last two matches (vs PAN & HAI) and PAN loses or ties against CR. — realistic

2. Win last two matches by a combined +5 (+2 & +3 or +3 & +2) goals and PAN defeats CR 1-0  — realistic

3. They tie PAN and wins big vs HAI then PAN loses to CR — any combination of +4 goals for JAM — semi-realistic

4. They win big vs PAN, ties vs HAI and PAN loses to CR.  — unrealistic

5. They win big vs PAN and HAI, CR loses big to HAI and PAN — very unrealistic

6. They win big vs PAN 3-0, loses to HAI 1-0;  PAN loses to CR big (by 2+ goals)

 

Missed Opportunities

Clearly the Boyz didn’t take advantage of opportunities at home (yielding 1 point from 2 home games) and they have not played well BUT there still is a chance.

What do you think?  If they do make it to the next round later this year, by any scenario I outline above, what needs to change?

On the other hand, if they don’t qualify, and it’s quite possible now, is this the end for Schaeffer?  What about Capt. Burrell who won re-election unopposed?