Qualifier Viewing Guide

This is it. The entire world wraps up the group rounds of world cup qualifying. After Wednesday, there will only be 9 slots (3 in Africa, 4 in UEFA, and the 2 intercontinental playoffs) left to fill. Who will handle the pressure? Who won’t? Who will be the shock entrants, and who will shockingly miss out?

A lot of folks have been critical of FIFA’s decision to seed the eight team playoff. It means that teams like Ireland will have to be giant killers one more time if they want to get through. I’m not a big fan of it either, but I guess FIFA wants their rankings to mean something. If only they used them to determine pots for the groups….

So for those of you who have the platinum level programming services, a crazy fast weblink, and about 16 hours to spare, let’s grease up the remote control, power dust the laptop, and see where we should spend our time tomorrow.

The day starts early, 8AM in the East, to see if the Pharaohs can get the crucial win in Zambia. But after spending 30 minutes to see if you can even find a feed, it’ll be time to see the Ivory Coast punch their ticket at home to Malawi. Over the next few hours, another critical African qualifier will kick off: Cameroon is at Togo (10:30). Adebayor vs Eto’o. Yummy.

Setanta gets going with a real gem: Russia v Germany (11:00). The Russians can leapfrog the Germans into first place with a win. How will the Germans handle the fieldturf at the Luzhniki? Just fine, I think. Arshavin might be a different story.

If the Russia-Germany clash is putting you to sleep, then there is no better cure than an Oceania-Asia playoff. Bahrain hosts New Zealand in Manama at 11:30 on FSC. Nothing makes me want to keep it any FSC more than hearing Max Bretos pronounce Bahraini players’ names. Will he use his faux Argentine inflection on the Ls? Let’s hope so.

Will a half an hour of Bretos be enough? Or will you have to switch over to Fox Sports Español to watch Spain and Armenia (12:00)? Why would you? Spain is in. Let’s go back to the Luzhniki.

Once the Germans and Russians are done, catch the last half hour of that Tilt in Bahrain, but be sure to switch back to FSE to catch the Scandinavian Showdown between Sweden and Denmark (2:00). And could it be any better than to watch it in Spanish? Don’t forget to keep an eye on that tilt in Bahrain.

A global world cup qualifying day isn’t complete without the obligatory minnow whipping. It’s the Faroe Islands who are the victims, and they’ll be in France. The thrashing starts at 3:00 on FSC. Watch as long as it remains interesting.

Some of you, I’m sure, will have a keen eye on Ireland vs. Italy (3:00), which apparently is available online somewhere or something called omnisport.tv. I hope that works out for you. If we are to be deprived of the Tartan Army next summer, then Erin go Bragh

As the showdown comes to end in Denmark, switch back to Setanta to catch Portugal host Hungary (3:40 PM). Will the Portuguese have been sending good vibes to Copenhagen by alternating from Sagres and Tuborg? Or will they just be drinking to forget?

It’s now 6:00pm, and the Portuguese and Magyars finish up their game just in time to switch over to Telemundo to see if Mexico will be the first CONCACAFer to qualify for the cup. They face those plucky Salvadoreans. Those who want to plunk down about $35 can catch Argentina’s desperate attempts to right the ship. The Peruvians visit the Monumental in Buenos Aires. Methinks they are in for a spanking. There are other CONMEBOL tilts being played simultaneously: Chile wants to end all the drama with a point at home to the Colombians, and Ecuador hosts Uruguay in a monster game that could decide the fates of about 10 teams (well, 3).

Once all this is over, you’ll have about an hour to run to your favorite Catracho restaurant to catch the US play at Honduras. On closed circuit TV. Just wow!! Thanks, ESPN. I’m sure the atmosphere at the local restaurant will be great!! I’m sure the fire marshall won’t be by at all. But if you want to stay at home, round out the day by watching Costa Rica try to settle down with the already eliminated TNT at 10:00 on GolTV.

So there you have it. A 16 hour schedule form all over the world. Beat that March Madness!! And what’s the best thing about it? We get to do it all over again on Wednesday.