Argentina pull through, US shocked, sorry Holland

Written by: J.R. | 11 Oct 2017 14:07
Argentina were in danger of missing out but Lionel Messi made sure that didn't happen
Written by:
11 Oct 2017 14:07

A hat-trick from Lionel Messi propelled Argentina -- which had endured a poor run of results, putting qualification in doubt -- into third in the South American qualifying table and an automatic spot.

In another upset, World Cup regulars Chile -- the Copa America holders -- suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil, losing out on goal difference to fifth-place Peru, who now face a playoff round against Oceania winners New Zealand.

Holland, meanwhile, won the World Cup qualifier 2-0 with Arjen Robben scoring twice, but it was not enough for them to secure a place in the play-offs for the finals in Russia next summer as they finished third in Group A.

Robben announced his retirement from international football after the match. 

One of the biggest upsets, however, was that for the first time since 1986, the US Men's National Team will be watching the World Cup from home, CNN reported. 

Falling 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, the US failed to qualify for Russia 2018. An early own-goal from Omar Gonzalez set the tone for the defeat before Alvin Jones doubled the Trinidad and Tobago lead on 37 minutes.

    Despite a fightback, which included a goal straight after the half-time break from 19-year-old Christian Pulisic, American hearts were to be broken, with the defeat plunging the Americans into fifth place in the CONCACAF table. 

    The final round of qualifiers in CONCACAF also saw Panama put Costa Rica to the sword, and Honduras eke out a 3-2 win against table-topping Mexico.

    The US result could not have been a bigger shock -- heading into the final game of qualifying, the Americans were safely within the automatic slots, with only a point needed to secure their tickets to Russia.

    In Europe, France and Portugal joined Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium and Iceland as automatic qualifiers for next year's edition of FIFA's flagship tournament.

    The remaining European playoff spots were also determined -- group runners up Sweden, Greece and Switzerland joining Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the next round of qualifying. 

    In Asia, Australia's veteran Tim Cahill scored twice -- his 49th and 50th international goals -- to seal a 2-1 victory for the Socceroos and end Syria's dreams of a first-ever World Cup. Australia now face Honduras in an intercontinental play-off.

    A total of 23 teams have now qualified for the quadrennial 32-team international tournament, which kicks off in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium next summer. 

    Africa's qualifying is yet to be finalized, as have the results of the European and inter-confederation playoffs, which will take place in November.

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