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2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers; Was "Panama qualifies for World Cup; national holiday declared"
Topic Started: Oct 11 2017, 04:44 PM (106 Views)
CJ
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:panama: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-41579670 :soccer-ball:

The president of Panama has declared Wednesday to be a national holiday after the country qualified for the World Cup for the first time ever.

Juan Carlos Varela‏ said on Twitter: "The voice of the people has been heard... Tomorrow will be a national holiday."

The national team beat Costa Rica 2-1 in Panama City on Tuesday evening.

The president said public and private workers could take the day off, and school classes would also be cancelled.

In a series of excited tweets, he shared a picture of himself signing the decree, adding "You deserve it".

Panamanians celebrated long into the night after the victory.



Wow, congrats to Panama! I wonder how they (and fellow first-time qualifiers Iceland) will get on?

Of course, there will also be some surprising absences from the 2018 World Cup. The USA and the Netherlands both failed to qualify, and Argentina survived a scare thanks to Lionel Messi....
Edited by CJ, Nov 11 2017, 12:55 AM.
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Pokemon73
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well the US had an 83% chance of winning, and they lost, this is the most humiliating loss in their history
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CJ
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Yeah, I'm pretty surprised that they lost to Trinidad and Tobago!

The Netherlands failing to qualify was less of a surprise, though. They defeated the Netherlands 2-0, but they needed to win by at least seven goals, or something crazy like that.
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Pyrite
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CJ
Oct 11 2017, 11:33 PM
Yeah, I'm pretty surprised that they lost to Trinidad and Tobago!

The Netherlands failing to qualify was less of a surprise, though. They defeated the Netherlands 2-0, but they needed to win by at least seven goals, or something crazy like that.
They defeated themselves? :P

(I think you mean they defeated Sweden...)

Anyway, I'm pleased that Panama qualified! Nice that there will be some new teams in the World Cup :)
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Gaomon274
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Congrats Panama!

Shoutout to the US' embarrassing loss though.
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CJ
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Here's a shocker. Italy might fail to the qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1958, after Sweden won the first leg of their play-off:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41932700

The second leg is on Monday - so, we'll find out then whether Italy can make it!
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Jarkko
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Go Sweden. :P We could use a little less diving in the World Cup!
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CJ
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True, we could :P !

It's a bit of a shame Wales won't be there, after their impressive performance in Euro 2016. But at least Iceland will be there :D !

A fairly unusual set of teams from Africa will be going to the World Cup too. Egypt has qualified for the first time since 1990, while Senegal has qualified for the first time since 2002 (when they memorably defeated defending champions France in the opening game, then went on to make the quarter-finals). Will we see a repeat performance next year?
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CJ
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Well, it's official. Italy has failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1958:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41977749

This has sparked a wave of international retirements, led by long-time Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who said he was "sorry for all of Italian football".
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Pyrite
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Feel sad for Buffon to bow out on a low, but that Italian team is begging for some younger talent!

It seems as though we're set for a rather odd World Cup, with regulars like Ghana, Ivory Coast, Italy, USA and the Netherlands failing to make the cut.
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CJ
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Yeah, it is sad. Especially since it means Buffon misses out on making a 6th World Cup, and therefore breaking the record for the most World Cup appearances by one player (although, it is cheating a bit, since he didn't actually play any matches the first time he was selected in 1998 :P )

Predictably, Italy's failure to qualify has provoked anger from some fans about how there are too many slots at the World Cup going to "also-ran" African teams, and how there needs to be more slots going to European teams who can realistically compete for the title. I can't say I agree with this at all: there are currently 13 slots for European teams in a 32-team World Cup (14 out of 32 if the host team is European), which is nearly half of the entire roster! I understand the importance of having most of the top teams, and I understand that the vast majority of the top teams right now are from Europe and South America, but this tournament also needs to attract a global audience, which means nations from other parts of the world need to be given a fair chance to develop. These goals need to be balanced with one another, and I'd say 13 European teams and 5 African teams is a fair compromise. (If anything, it's still a little biased towards Europe; this will be addressed when the tournament expands to 48 teams in 2026: from then on, there will be 16 European teams and 9 African teams)

Anyway, it's not like the top African teams are that far behind the top European and South American teams. At time of writing, I count 7 African teams in the FIFA top 50. Granted, they're all in the lower half of the top 50 - but, even teams in this range have the potential to pack a serious punch at the World Cup. I mentioned further up that Senegal made the quarter-finals in 2002, defeating defending champions France along the way. Eight years later in 2010, Ghana would have made the semi-finals were it not for a totally illegal handball by vampire-in-chief Luis Suárez <_< .

And besides, I enjoy cheering on underdogs! From my point of view, what's not to celebrate about Sweden overcoming one of the great European footballing nations?
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Jarkko
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Christian. Exterminator of Spammers.

Serbia made it. Their fans had better flipping behave. <_<
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Pyrite
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I might be one of the few British people who is well chuffed that Denmark have made it! :denmark:
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CJ
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Yeah, I don't want any misbehaving fans here >_< .

Just out of curiosity, what's the situation with the Denmark support :P ?
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CJ
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There's another 'different' nation in the tournament now. Peru have qualified for the first time in 1982, and - like in Panama - their citizens have been granted a national holiday in celebration:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41989402
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