Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sporting shorts: October 15

So, I didn't know what to do with this post after the Football (read NRL or AFL) seasons have finished.  But last week was a pretty big week, with the start of the Baseball Playoffs and a big week in World Cup Qualifiers.

The AFL and NRL will stay in the news with the International Rules Series and World Cup coming up.

So it looked like quite an even post season with quite a number of teams with rosters capable of winning the World Series, and it was hard to pick of favourite. The Wild Card games were won by the Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks. The Divisional Series were won by the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. With the league playoffs being between the Yankees and Astros; and the Dodgers and Cubs. I'm picking Houston and Los Angeles to meet in the World Series, but anything can, and usually does happen.

World Cup Qualifiers
In the Asian playoff, Australia survived a tense 2-1 win on Tuesday and 3-2 aggregate win to advance to the Intercontinental Playoff, where they will meet Honduras.

The surprise of Wednesday morning was that Panama would qualify for their first World Cup, and the USA being eliminated by a 1-2 loss to Trinidad and Tobago.

In Europe, Iceland qualified for their first World Cup, and surprisingly the Netherlands missed out. Iceland are Quarter finalists from the last European Championships so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.

The South American Qualifiers were equally tense with Peru advancing to the playoff against New Zealand. Have to say I'll be surprised if NZ make it, but anything can happen.

So now the qualified teams are:

Africa: Egypt, Nigeria, three more will qualify. Most groups are quite tight, but I favour Tunisia, Cote D'Iviore (Ivory Coast) and Senegal.
Asia: Iran, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia
Europe: Belgium, France, England, Germany, Spain, Iceland, Serbia, Poland, Portugal, Russia (Hosts)
North, Central America and the Caribbean: Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama
South America:  Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Uruguay.

The below teams have qualified for the playoffs

  • Australia who play Honduras (they play on Nov 10 and Nov 15)
  • New Zealand who play Peru (they play on Nov 11 and Nov 16)
  • In Europe, four will qualify from Denmark, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. The match ups, and dates, are decided on Oct 17.
My final thought is that I love the 32 team World Cup, and am not really a fan of expanding it. If that's the decision that's made so be it, we'll see how it ends up. 

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