Before the hustle and bustle of the weekend’s Premier League action gets under way, we would be purely oblivious to not properly wrap-up the week in International Football.
For starters, 3 more nations clinched spots in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup with both Italy and The Netherlands snatching spots in UEFA Qualifying via wins over the Czech Republic and minnows Andorra respectively, while over in CONCACAF the United States secured passage to their 7th straight World Cup after defeating Mexico handily by 2 goals to ‘nil. That makes it 7 teams who have now booked their stay in Rio with those 3 teams joining previous qualifiers South Korea, Iran, Australia, and Japan all out of the AFC (Asia region). That leaves 25 spots left to be decided in the coming months with teams ranging from Costa Rica to Ghana to England to Montenegro to Paraguay all in the qualifying fray.
Now at the other end of the success spectrum, both the Irish and Mexican national teams dismissed their coaches after their latest matches with Mexico in particular achieving infamy as they now have their 3rd coach in 5, YES 5 days. First came the dismissing of original manager Chepo de la Torre following Mexico’s embarrassing 2-1 home loss to Honduras in which El Tri gave up 2 goals in 2 minutes to blow a lead they held for over 60 minutes. Once Chepo was out of the way, his assistant Luis Fernando Tena took over for only 1 glorious game before he was fired, in which Mexico lost to the US by a 2-0 score, giving the US the 3 points necessary for them to qualify while further slipping down the standings themselves with going home empty handed now a real possibility. Next up, its former Monterrey manager Víctor Manuel Vucetich who is brave enough to accept the position, which I don’t think will be a long term solution.
Now to Ireland where Italian Giovanni Trapattoni has left the managerial position by mutual consent after 5 very successful year at the helm. Trapattoni led Ireland to Euro 2012, their first major tournament in 10 years and narrowly and controversially missed out on the 2010 World Cup thanks to Thierry Henry’s “handiwork” (sorry, couldn’t resist). Things had soured recently for Trap though, and Ireland losing both of their recent qualifiers at home to Sweden and on the road at Austria did him in. The Republic of Ireland FA have yet to name a replacement for Ireland’s upcoming fixtures against Germany (ouch) and Kazakhstan.