International Break Preview

All the Action From Qualifiers Around the World

The Jules Rimet trophy, better known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy, on display at the National Football Museum in Manchester, England

Ank Kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Jules Rimet trophy, better known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy, on display at the National Football Museum in Manchester, England

Soccer fans around the world will be disappointed with this international break. After all, it comes only four weeks after the previous one, but despite fans not seeing their beloved clubs play, there is still plenty of soccer action around the world. Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is back underway. Only 3 teams have secured spots in the tournament so far: Qatar (as host country), Germany and Denmark. There are 95 teams still in the running, but they will all have their work cut out for them because there are only 29 spots left. Among the teams that could secure a spot this week are England, Argentina and Brazil.

Already many players have left their clubs to join their respective national team training camps.

In Europe’s qualifying rounds, Spain is in a tough situation. They’re built around a core of young stars, but they are missing Ansu Fati and Eric Garcia. This Sunday they will face Group B leaders Sweden. Furthermore, Ronaldo has a chance for revenge in Lisbon. During the last qualifying round in April against Serbia, Ronaldo had a goal controversially disallowed towards the end of the game (there was no VAR), and at the full-time whistle Ronaldo promptly threw his captain’s armband to the ground and stormed off the field. On Sunday, the Portugal will face Serbia again in Lisbon, only this time the World Cup qualification is on the line. Serbia currently holds the top spot in Group A, but Portugal is only one point behind, and they have a game in hand. Moving along, Italy is in a must-win situation if they wish to qualify in this round. They are tied with Switzerland at the top of Group C, and they face each other in Rome this week. Italy will be without many key players, such as Nicola Zaniolo, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Ciro Immobile and Nicola Barella who is doubtful to play due to injury. Another big injury miss comes for Norway in the shape of Erling Haaland, who’s hip injury has kept him from being called up for the team.

In the CONCACAF qualifying rounds, the storied United States vs. Mexico rivalry will take place in Cincinnati. Mexico is in the driving seat, but the U.S is breathing down their necks and could overtake them with a win. In third place is Canada, who have the likes of Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David. The Canadiens emerged from a tough spell of games with road draws against the U.S and Mexico. Time will tell, however, if Canada is for real this year, and it has a chance to prove it with home matches against Costa Rica and Mexico

Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur has many contributors in this round of qualifiers, such as Harry Kane for England, Ben Davies for Wales, and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg for Denmark .

Furthermore, in CONMEBOL, Brazil and Argentina are in good shape to qualify, but the closely-knit pack lay further back in the standings. Ecuador, Colombia and Uruguay are all within one point of each other, while Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru are in contention despite their poor form.

Even though there aren’t any club games to watch over the next two weeks, soccer fans have a lot to look forward to.  There are some very watchable games coming soon.