Getty Images

With the USA out, who should you support at the World Cup?


Two days on from the disaster in Trinidad and Tobago, I thought this would be easier to write: the USA will not be at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Damn. It still hurts. But it is, unfortunately, reality.

[ MORE: Latest USMNT news

With huge watch parties in streets, bars and even stadiums across the U.S. for the 2014 World Cup, none of that will happen next summer as fans across America cannot support their own team. What the heck do you do now?

It is simple: pick another team.

[ MORE: Was is impact of USA missing the World Cup? ] 

We know you’ll be watching every World Cup game religiously so you might as well have a team you really, really care about and also an extra reason to slam your desk super hard on a wet Tuesday morning throughout June and July is always helpful…

Here are some options on how to select your squad for the biggest show on earth next summer with 23 of the 32-team field currently confirmed.

1. Support your ancestors

This is America, so we know how closely we are connected to the nations our ancestors were from. With that in mind, England, Poland, Germany, Italy and plenty of South (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay and maybe Peru) and Central American teams will be getting plenty of support in the USA next summer. Warning: get ready to be branded a bandwagon fan if you select the big European and South American nations…

2. Go for a plucky underdog so you’re not branded a “glory hunter” or “bandwagon fan”

What up, Iceland!? Nobody can accuse you of being a bandwagon fan because Iceland are the smallest-ever nation (population approx. 340,000) to ever qualify for the World Cup. Plus, doing the Viking thunderclap with tons of people is awesome. Other underdogs who are borderline hipster include Serbia, Northern Ireland (if they make it through their playoff) and Egypt. All great stories and all have a decent chance of causing upsets.

3. Dare I say, support the CONCACAF teams

Well, we can’t beat them so we might as well join them… There is a very valid argument that CONCACAF teams doing well at the 2018 World Cup would be huge for the region moving forward. Mexico will have a massive fanbase Stateside, while Costa Rica and Panama are both fun to watch and the latter fully fall into the underdog category at their first-ever World Cup. Fans of all three of the CONCACAF teams at the World Cup will be spread all over the U.S. so you can at least watch games with their fans and feel like you’re part of it. Sad face.

4. Pick a team because of a superstar player

A self-explanatory one, this:

Cristiano Ronaldo = Portugal
Lionel Messi = Argentina
Neymar = Brazil
Luis Suarez = Uruguay
Harry Kane = England
Gigi Buffon = Italy
David Silva = Spain
Eden Hazard = Belgium
Paul Pogba = France
James Rodriguez = Colombia
Robert Lewandowski = Poland

5. A random draw

Write the name of all 32 teams who qualify on separate pieces of papers and put them all in a hat, jumble them up, pick one and, bob’s your uncle. Come onnnnnn, Belgiummmmm!

LIVE, FA Cup: Swansea v Tottenham kicks off quarterfinals

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Swansea City host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (8:15 a.m. ET) at the Liberty Stadium with both teams perhaps having an eye on other things rather than winning the FA Cup.

[ LIVE: Follow Swansea-Spurs

Carlos Carvalhal‘s main aim for the Swans is to avoid relegation from the Premier League, while Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham will be fully focused on finishing in the top four.

In team news both Jordan and Andre Ayew miss out for Swansea as Carvalhal makes five changes, while Spurs are without the injured Harry Kane and make seven changes to their starting lineup with Hugo Lloris, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli on the bench.


Swansea City: Nordfeldt, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mawson, Olsson, Ki Sung-Yeung, Carroll , Clucas, Dyer, Abraham. Subs: Mulder, Roberts, Fernandez, Britton, Byers, Routledge, Narsingh

Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm, Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Sissoko, Lamela, Eriksen, Lucas, Son. Subs: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Foyth Dembele, Alli, Llorente

Retailer removes T-shirt from sale over Hillsborough links

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) A British retailer has withdrawn a T-shirt from sale in its stores and online following complaints that its design could be associated with the Hillsborough soccer disaster.

[ MORE: Liverpool, Man City drawn in UCL quarterfinals ]

Topman had on sale a red shirt with a large “96” on the back and the phrase “what goes around comes around” underneath. The word “Karma” is written on one of the sleeves.

Ninety-six people were crushed to death in the Hillsborough stadium disaster, which happened in Sheffield in April 1989 at an FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Topman said it “apologizes unreservedly for any offense caused by this T-shirt” and that the “garment has been removed from sale online and in stores.”

The retailer said the design was inspired by a Bob Marley track, with the number referring to the year of the re-release.

Cosmos, Miami FC petition USSF for 2018 U.S. Open Cup entry

Leave a comment

NASL’s decision to cancel the 2018 regular season has caused significant ramifications, with the latest forcing several clubs to be excluded from the U.S. Open Cup.

The New York Cosmos and Miami FC — both of whom participated in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup have not been named among the eligible teams for the 2018 edition following NASL’s cancellation of the league season.

Now, the two teams have petitioned to U.S. Soccer and its new president, Carlos Cordeiro, to rethink its decision and allow the clubs to play despite not belonging to a professional league.

Both clubs do boast reserve teams though — New York Cosmos B and Miami 2 — which is the lead argument from each organization as to why U.S. Soccer should grant the teams an exemption and a spot in the tournament.

Cosmos B and Miami FC 2 will both play in the NPSL once again in 2018, with both rosters largely comprised of senior team players.

As it stands, 94 teams have been placed in the 2018 Open Cup field, as announced by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday.

Both open letters from the respective clubs can be found below.

Brazil’s Luis could miss World Cup after leg fracture

Clive Rose/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Brazilian left back Filipe Luis has a leg fracture that could stop him going to the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Arsenal draws CSKA Moscow in Europa quarters ]

Atletico Madrid said Friday that Luis sustained the injury to his left leg in the second half of the Spanish team’s 5-1 rout of Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League round-of-16 match on Thursday.

The club did not say how long Luis will be sidelined. Similar injuries have required at least six weeks of recovery time and longer if surgery is required.

The 32-year-old Luis was called up by Brazil coach Tite for friendlies against Russia in Moscow on March 23 and against Germany in Berlin on March 27. Brazil’s first game at the World Cup is against Switzerland on June 17.

Luis was injured while trying to prevent Lokomotiv forward Eder taking a shot from inside the area in the 60th minute. He successfully cleared the ball but his leg was hit from behind.

Luis left the field on a stretcher and tests Friday in Madrid confirmed the fracture in his lower leg.

Atletico advanced 8-1 on aggregate after the victory in Russia.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: