World Cup Picture Getting Clearer for Some, Others? Not so Much

World wide world cup match days are the next best thing to the actual world cup, particularly when we are in the last throes of the schedule. It’s like a 1st round March madness day, but twice as long. A few more tickets were punched, and a few other have the porter in the next cabin. Others are starting to feel a little too uncomfortable. They have three more games to make their move.

Ivory Coast and Ghana look to be very close to making the finish line. I think African teams are going to do very well in South Africa. It would not surprise me at all if an African team made it as far as the semi finals. These two are the best of the bunch because of their top shelf midfields. Cameroon and Nigeria are both looking up, at Gabon and Tunisia respectively while Algeria and Egypt are deadlocked in their group. Africa could end up with a very formidable collection of squads.

Uruguay missed a chance to make up some ground with a loss at pathetically bad Peru. The red stripers just have not recovered from that 5 goal whippin’ they got from Poland back in 1982, but they somehow managed to put Uruguay’s world cup hopes in jeopardy. Venezuela earned an extremely valauable away point in Chile; Paraguay and Colombia each notched up home wins over Bolivia and Ecuador. And then there’s Brazil-Argentina.

Argentina is still clinging to one of the automatic spots, but for some reason, Diego Maradona said that they were playing for their world cup lives in this game. Brazil popped ‘em for three in Argentina. They’ll make the tournament somehow and we all know they have the talent to make a very, very deep run. I am not so sure, though, that Diego will be a part of it. I still don’t know why the fired the guy before him. Meanwhile, Brazil runs their world cup streak to 19.

The usual suspects are making their way through the maze in Europe, with a few surprises sprinkled in. A world cup is always better with the Tartan Army. Portugal seems to bring out the worst in Ronaldo, but it won’t break my heart if they miss out. Is there a team that wins uglier than the Italians? I still can’t believe that Kakha Kaladze scored 2 own goals to give Italy a win over Georgia. I don’t think I have ever seen that.

So that leaves us with CONCACAF. The two teams that were expected to win did. Honduras had little trouble with TnT. The same can’t be said for the US, but they managed to get the three points against a very flinty Salvadorian Selecta. Mexico sent a reeling Costa Rica further down the shame spiral with a 3-0 win. Costa Rica picked a bad time to fall into the quicksand. And it doesn’t get any easier on Wednesday at the Cuzcatlan. El Salvador still has a mathematical chance advance, playoff or otherwise. They really are playing for their world cup lives. I gotta think they’ll respond better than Argentina did in Rosario.