11/10/2017 Issue 32

Arjen Robben has retired from International football. His decision comes after Holland missed out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Making his debut in April 2003, Robben has won 96 caps and scored 37 times for his country. Robben narrowly missed out on World Cup glory in 2010 when the Dutch lost in the final by a goal to nil against Spain. Robben played his final game in the famous Oranje against Sweden. He scored 2 goals on the night but it wasn’t enough to take his country to Russia. (His second goal is a peach!)

One man who didn’t miss out on World Cup glory, but who has also chosen to retire from football all together is the one and only Andrew Pirlo. A World Cup winner in 2006, Champions League winner in 2003 & 2007 and a six time Seria A winner; he is considered one of the greatest in the game. The Italian, currently with New York City FC, confirmed on Sunday that he will end his career at the end of the MLS season at the ripe old age of 38. Yet, he still hasn’t ruled out a move to Chelsea with fellow Italian Conte. What a move that would be.

We’re losing a lot of our great legends all at once, and now even the magnifficent Kaka is talking about retirement. But we’ll get over it quick; the magnifficent Paul Merson is to make a comeback for Welsh fourth-tier team Caerau – subject to international clearance of course.

Scotland miss out on another major finals. A draw with Slovenia was not enough to see us through, and our manager made the whole bloody situation worse with reckless and senseless post-game comments. Gordon Strachan, who has left his post as Scotland boss, blamed “genetics” on yet another Scottish failure, claiming that our boys are not tall enough to win headers in the box. The comments were made in reaction to conceding two goals from set pieces. Strachan continued to dig a bigger grave for himself suggesting that we look to selective breeding in order to increase our chances of qualification. I think Olympic gold medalists Katherine Granger, Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy would have something to say about that. A poor excuse for a poor campaign riddled with very questionable team selections, impacted by bad decision making and substandard choices of substitutions.

Lionel Messi may have single-handedly taken Argentina to the World Cup Finals in Russia. The Flea’s 44th career hat-trick against Ecuador ensured Argentina finished within the top-four qualification spots. Prior to the game Argentina were sitting in 6th place. The had a terrible start, conceding inside 38 seconds but the G.O.A.T had other ideas and lead his team to a 3-1 victory and a third place finish, sending them to Moscow next summer. Always under scrutiny from people claiming that he doesn’t do it for the national team where silenced over the course of 90 minutes as a doom and gloom situation was turned on it’s head by one magical man.

Panama qualified for their first World Cup with 2-1 win over Costa Rica in the final game.

The USA missed out for the first time since 1986, they lost 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago.

Syria’s fairy-tale qualification ends in Australia. Ex-Everton striker Tim Cahill scored a brace, Syria had a man sent off and Australia progressed with a 3-2 aggregate to set-up a play-off against Honduras.

The Republic of Ireland have booked their tickets to Russia after James McLean scores the only goal of the night to beat Wales 1-0 in Cardiff.

QUEUE THE THUNDER CLAP as Iceland become the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup. Remember when this little nation knocked England out of the last 16 of the Euro’s? I certainly do! It’s all us Scots have to live for. Well they’ve found football success again as they become the only country to qualify for a World Cup with a population fewer than one million (335,000). I didn’t buy one for Euro 2016 but I think Iceland blue will do well for me in Russia 2018.

I bet Dennis van Duinen wished someone forgot to press record on the Harkemase Boys TV. The Dutch amateur produced one of the worst open-goal misses you will ever see in your lifetime. Dennis charges through onto an empty goal and still manages to blast the ball over the bar from 10 yards out. At the time his team were 2-0 up, they finished the game in defeat. VW Capelle came away as 3-2 winners. Something tells me he might be dropped for next week’s game.

News of the Week comes from Norway where the Norway Football Association has agreed a deal to pay male and female international footballers equally. It’s the first country in the world to do so. The men’s national team will take a pay cut, while the women’s pay will almost double to ensure both teams are paid equally to represent their country on the international stage.

In other news, Mane is out for 6 weeks and my fantasy fitbaw team is fucked!!

 

ONES TO WATCH/READ

Arjen Robben v Sweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3nw518DTrg

World Cup 2018, all you need to know: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/0/world-cup-2018-has-qualified-russia-close-could-argentina-actually/

Messi Magic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41580450

Syria’s fairy-tale ends in Australia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41580450

Wales 0 – 1 Ireland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wJbhaN5u9Y

Miss of the season: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41558174

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