Halftime Sports

Updates from the International Break

November 17, 2015

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons user Bob 435345

There were some tasty matchups this weekend in the realm of international soccer. Some of these games were qualifiers for the Euro 2016 in France, some qualifiers for the World Cup that will be held in Russia in 2018, and some were just friendlies. Here are some quick updates of a few of the games.

Sweden – Denmark (2:1)

This game took place on Saturday night in Sweden and was the first leg in a two-game fight for a spot in the Euros. For the most of the the first half, the score remained a goalless draw, but in the 45th minute the hosts went up 1-0 thanks to an Emil Forsberg goal, and in the 50th minute  Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a penalty to make it 2-0. Denmark had the majority of the possession throughout the game but not many clear-cut chances, so Nicolai Jorgensen’s goal  in the 80th minute came rather unexpectedly. With this goal he was able to drag his side back into the race, where they have a second chance to proceed to the Euros with a win over Sweden at home on Tuesday.

U.S.A. – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (6:1)

The U.S. National team kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign in St. Louis versus Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, which is an island country located in the Lesser Antilles with a population of around 109,500. There was a small surprise in the US team roster for these opening qualifiers, in which Klinsmann pulled another “Donovan”  and left senior player Clint Dempsey behind. In the fifth minute, the U.S. was (very) surprised by a strike that made it 0-1 for the guests. It didn’t last long, however, and Bobby Wood was able to make it 1-1 in the 11th minute. Already by the 58th minute it was 5-1 for the US, and Altidore made it 6-1 in the 74th minute. This is a good start for the USMNT, who have to go through Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala in order to get closer to the World Cup in Russia.

Hungary – Norway (1:0, 2:1)

Hungary has a ticket to France for the 2016 Euro Cup due to their first and second leg wins over Norway this week. The Hungarian side hasn’t been to a major tournament for 30 years, so this ticket to France is a big deal for them. After beating Norway 1-0 in Oslo on Thursday, the Hungarians were able to seal the deal on Sunday. Thanks to a goal from Tamas Priskin early in the first half and an unfortunate own goal by Norway’s Ole Selnes in the game on Sunday, they finally made it to the Euros.

France – Germany (2:0)

In a game fully overshadowed by the attack in Paris, the French team beat the Germans 2-0 in an international friendly that took place on Friday night. Olivier Giroud put his name on the scoreboard first after putting in a cross from Anthony Martial. Thomas Müller came close to equalizing midway in the second half, but his shot went off the woodwork. The game was then decided in the 86th minute, when Blaise Matuidi’s ball was met by Andre-Pierre Gignac. France, the hosts of the Euro 2016, looked strong, and are worth keeping an eye on as serious title-contenders. France will play against England for their next friendly, and Germany will be hosting the Netherlands.

Poland – Iceland (4:2)

Robert Lewandowski was in action again, but this time for his country. Lewandowski captained his side to the win against Iceland by scoring 2 goals within 2 minutes in front of the crowd in Warsaw. The guests went up first, however, with Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring from the penalty spot after four minutes. Seven minutes into after the second-half whistle Poland equalized through Kamil Grosicki. Bartosz Kapustka scored for Poland in the 66th minute, but Iceland was able to equalize again in the 69th. Alfred Finnbogason had the goal. Seven minutes later Lewandowski came in to seal the deal for Poland. Both of these teams have qualified for the Euro 2016.

Brazil – Argentina (1:1)

In another World Cup qualifying match, Brazil and Argentina split points in a game on Friday in Buenos Aires. The game was pushed back a day due to torrential rain on Thursday, and even then both teams had to deal with many injuries. These injuries included Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez for the Argentines, and Marquinho and Marcelos for the Brazilian side. Argentina dominated the first half, and Ezequiel Lavezzi was able to put the hosts up in the 34th minute. After the goal the Brazilians picked up the pace, and Lucas Lima scored for the away side in the 59th minute to earn the draw. Neither of the two teams will be happy with the result. Brazil has only 4 points from 3 games in the qualifying table, and Argentina a paltry 2. Argentina takes on Colombia in their next qualifier, and Brazil will play Peru.


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