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A Little Help, Please?

October 9th, 2017 · No Comments · Brazil 2014, Football, Russia 2018, soccer, World Cup

That’s what you say when the ball gets away and rolls into another court, in tennis or basketball. “A little help, please?” A request, not a demand.

Which is what the U.S. national soccer team is asking of Mexico and Costa Rica.

“A little help, please?”

The U.S. can clinch the third automatic berth to the 2018 World Cup with a victory at Trinidad & Tobago tomorrow. The Yanks can all but clinch with a draw, given that the two sides they lead by two points (Panama and Honduras) have significantly inferior goal difference.

But, but … it is possible the U.S. could lose at Port of Spain, where the pitch was more like a lake today and could make for a freakish match … and it would be nice if Mexico or Costa Rica, who already have secured a place at Russia 2018, could take a point from their final-match opponents, Honduras and Panama, respectively. If either Mexico or Costa Rica could get a point tomorrow, the U.S. would be no worse than fourth — and in the inter-confederation playoffs (versus Australia) for a Russia berth.

Mexico, in particular, owes the U.S.  Remember the 2014 qualifying?

The U.S. had nothing to gain in its final match, at Panama, and fell behind late. If Panama defeated the U.S., Mexico, which had a horrible qualifying campaign, would be out of the 2014 World Cup.

Yet the U.S. played hard, which is what it tends to do under any conditions, and not only got even with Panama but scored a winning goal in injury time — sending Mexico into the inter-confederation playoffs against New Zealand, which Mexico crushed 9-3 on aggregate.

That chain of events set off one of the great rants in soccer broadcast history, from a Mexican announcer disgusted that his team was still alive despite their insipid performance.

The translation, as provided by Deadspin.

“GOOOOAAAAAAL. The US of A puts us in the playoffs!!!!!” USA!
“It is because of the USA that we are being placed in the playoff … BECAUSE OF THEM , NOT DUE TO YOU. NOT ANY OF YOU in the green shirts ….IT WAS THEM!! NOT YOU!..THEY DID IT!!!!! NOT YOU! remember this forever. … KEEP THIS CLEARLY IN MIND FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! You do NOTHING for the shirt, you do NOT put the effort, you have NOT placed us in the playoffs, you HAVE NOT placed us in the WORLD CUP. YOU WOULD NOT HAVE KEPT US ALIVE….IT WAS ESTADOS UNIDOS, NOT YOU! NOT YOU AND YOUR ARROGANCE/CONCEIT. NOT YOU AND YOUR INFAMY. NOT YOU AND YOUR MORONS/PUNKS…

“IT IS A FAILURE…..and UNDESERVED — to go through to the playoff. WE HAD NO ARGUMENTS to earn the playoffs, THE USA, WITH SUBS, WITH MANY SUBS as the visiting team shows us once again what the USA is all about … how to play the game with dignity, how to approach the sport. Mexico is a horror, just terrible … A FAILURE …

“THE USA HAS SURPASSED US ..They are better than Mexico in SOCCER ….THEY EVEN HAVE THE LUXURY OF PLAYING THEIR SUBS and KEEPING US LIVE…. I hope our coach wears the pants and resigns. He has failed as coach …”

So, back again … the point of this is that the U.S. should never count on Mexico or Costa Rica doing anything to help them, even if it is a byproduct of professionalism.

Normally, Honduras should not win at Mexico and Panama, even at home, should not be able to take three points from the Ticos.

But the feeling here is … the U.S. could very well be out of the World Cup if it cannot win in Trinidad … because Mexico and Costa Rica may not bother trying to win.

A little help, please?

Don’t count on it.



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