Friday, October 11, 2013

Waning Seconds: October I--'Mericas!

We're nearing the end of the road to qualification, ten are in, fifty still have a shot, but only twenty-two spots remain. We'll keep narrowing the field of contestants this weekend starting with matches on Friday and continuing on to Tuesday when all that will be left are guaranteed participants and terribly nervous, play-off bound teams.

Europe is a mess [hey, look sport imitating life!], so we'll look at the ramifications of the final qualifiers closer to next Tuesday, but things are much clearer with North and South America. But since this is a blog from a Montanan perspective we all know there's really only one America that matters...OUR AMERICA!

So here are the qualification routes for the teams still alive, with as much rootin'-tootin' American-ized analyses as I can muster.

We already have a spot in the World Cup, so the remaining two spots (one in the cup one in the playoff versus New Zealand) doesn't really matter enough to talk about.


Oh, okay I'll talk about it.

Jamaica has the longest shot at qualification, probably because they're too busy sipping delicious coconut drinks in hammocks rather than pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Technically they could qualify if they beat both the US and Honduras while Mexico and Panama draw their first match and then lose their second matches. That's about as unlikely as a Sandals' beach vacation not being a colossal money suck.

Y tu Mickey? Wait...that was foriegn...
Mexico is finally getting their comeuppance for that border crossin', job theievin', consistently-contributing-to-our-growing-Gross-Domestic-Product-while-we-eschew-all-manual-labor-positions-and-humbly-accept-our-semi-racist-commentary-on-their-worth-as-human-beingin'. Okay, satire aside, a cup without Mexico isn't a good cup (and it might just hit our economy, not to mention Mexico's, pretty hard). So El Tri need to beat Panama in Azteca (a likely proposition) and then top Costa Rica (who should be resting their best players). A draw or loss in either makes things both it ends their hopes.

Panama perhaps the most successful team in Central America of late, Panama is also the home to a KICKASS CANAL!! ATTABOY TR!! WOOO!!! Oh yeah...Panama has the hardest road ahead of themselves. Needing a result in Mexico City and some points against the US. Difficult, but possibly duable.

Honduras is in the lead....for third place...SUCKERS!!...USA, USA! Four points will be enough to see them on to Brazil and since they get to face bottom feeding Jamaica and Costa Rica (who will probably be resting their best players), they should be heading for at least the intercontinental playoff.

There are four spots left (three for the cup and one for the playoff), two of them have already been claimed, but three others will fight for the remaining two.

Venezuela is experiencing what all misguided nations who give in to the siren song of socialism experience: a bloated bureaucracy, mildly-successful sports programs, and wide reaching social programs that don't shut down over petty partisan politics...SUCKERS! With only one match left, and a big goal deficit they need to crush Paraguay at home and hope that Uruguay or Ecuador (more likely Uruguay) flame out twice in a row.

To be fair...Luis Suarez might be able to handle this.
Ecuador and Uruguay are fighting to avoid the play-in game against Jordan and get into the World Cup directly. They face each other on Friday, in Quito, which means hard cheese Diego Forlan. While an Uruguay win would pressure Ecuador to get a win in Chile, an Ecuador win will pretty well guarantee Uruguay needs a miracle against Argentina...both teams will be playing to win. So you can pretty well count on it being a hard fight...not as hard a fight as Glacier Versus Sentinel in Kalispell this Friday Night. But, you know...a hard-ish fight.

Finally there's Columbia and Chile responsible for two of every American's favorite foods: Coffee and Chili. What's that? That was a gross misunderstanding of both geography and spelling? I'm sorry...I can't hear you over the sound of AMERICA BEING AWESOME!! [Guitar solo!!]. Anyway, Columbia has been phenomenal in qualifying and appears to be on the verge of not only going to Brazil but getting one of the 8 top spots in the seeding. Meanwhile, Chile has shown consistent improvement since their round of 16 showing in 2010 and can seal qualification with a win in either match.

Since their closest competitors (Ecuador and Uruguay) face each other in a frantic scrabble for points, the leaders of the pack may be tempted to lay back for a comfortable draw in Barranquilla on Friday, knowing that Columbia only has Paraguay left and Chile can seal the deal at home versus Ecuador.

But of course, whoever wins, whoever loses, whoever draws [shudder runs through American sports fans] we can all agree on one thing.


(This concludes the satirical jingoism in this blog for--hopefully--ever.)

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