2018 World Cup kick-off is less than 1000 days away, and our Weekend Recap is all about the qualifiers. Three games, on the road to Russia, with love!
(All the hours are in CET local time)
Amateur (Like these guys)
What? Colombia – Argentina
When? Tuesday, 2130
Where? Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez, Baranquilla
Why? Two of the most talented team in South America will play each other in a passionate match. Colombia will try to qualify again, while Argentina hopes to avoid a huge failure, as they gained only 1 point and didn’t score in their first 2 matches.
Key Players: Let's forget for a bit from Higuaín and James, and let's take a look at some other great players. Edwin Cardona is just 22 years old and already scored for Colombia in this campaign. At the Argentine squad, there is one young player that one day may lead the team, Tottenham's Érik Lamela.
Never Forget: The 1994 qualifying campaign was a bitter one for Argentina, and Colombia is the responsible for that. Argentina had to win the last match in order qualify, but they were thrashed at home by Colombia 5:0, what sent them to play the playoffs.
Professional (like this guy)
What? Jamaica – Panama
When? Saturday, 0300
Where? Independence Park, Kingstong
Why? The two surprises of the last two Gold Cups, Jamaica and Panamá, will face each other in their opening match of the qualifying campaign.
Key Players: Jamaican Darren Mattocks, who scored at the Gold Cup semifinals against the USA and plays regularly for Vancouver Whitecaps will look to shine. Veteran Panamanian Luis Tejada, who plays for the Peruvian club Juan Aurich, will lead his team on their way to Russia.
CONCAGOL: In two out of the last three qualifying campaigns, the top scorer came from the CONCACAF tournament. Mexican Jared Borgetti was the leader of the 2006 scorers with 14 goals. In 2014 Deon McCaulay from Belize scored 11 goals.
World Class (like this guy)
What? Equatorial Guinea – Morocco
When? Sunday, 1600
Where? Estadio do Bata, Bata
Why? It takes one golden generation to enter the main stage of the Worldwide football. Morocco had it during the 90's, when qualified to the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. Now they have another aspiring generation that wants to end the 20 years absence from the tournament. Equatorial Guinea also have a golden generation, but it based on naturalized players and not local talents.
Key Players: Equatorial Guinea is all about Emilio Nsue, the captain from Middlesbrough who is one of the Spanish naturalized players. Don’t skip on Napoli’s Omar El Kaddouri, who scored 4 goals in 11 international caps.
If you won’t, I will: The real conflict between the team happened before the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year. Morocco was the original host of the tournament, but they decided to withdraw due to the Ebola crisis. In a doubtful decision, Equatorial Guinea, which eliminated in the first qualifying round, hosted it instead.