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Chile hires Flamengo coach Rueda in wake of World Cup miss

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The Brazilian Serie A season begins in six weeks, but Flamengo is now looking for a new head coach after the club announced Reinaldo Rueda has resigned to take the head coach position with the Chilean national team.

Chile shockingly missed qualification for the 2018 World Cup, leading to the resignation of Juan Antonio Pizzi after just 18 months in charge. They were third in the CONMEBOL qualification table heading into the last matchday, but fell 3-0 to Brazil and dropped out of the qualification spots.

Rueda has plenty of experience in CONMEBOL play. The 60-year-old Colombian has previously taken charge of Colombia, Honduras, and Ecuador between 2004 and 2014 all before moving to the club side with Colombian club Atletico Nacional and then Flamengo. He won the 2016 Copa Libertadores with Atletico before moving to Flamengo in August where he reached (and lost) a pair of finals in the Brazilian domestic cup and the Copa Sudamericana.

The Colombian has plenty of work to do. Not only did the Chilean senior team flop after reaching such incredible heights the last few years, but the youth side has also performed below standards in recent years, missing both the 2015 and 2017 U-20 World Cups.

Flamengo confirmed the move, while nothing official has come from the Chilean national team yet. The announcement came on the first day of Flamengo’s pre-season. The club has not won a Serie A title since 2009, and while they finished third two seasons ago, they have not finished higher than 6th in any other campaign since 2011.

Ranking the worst failures in World Cup qualifying

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So many high expectation nations missed the 2018 World Cup that a second-tier tournament is being bandied about, enough so that people are legitimately intrigued at the idea.

That begs the question: How did we get here? In some cases, sides missed the big dance due to wonky qualifying schedules. Others had tough draws and couldn’t rebound in a playoff. Another group just flat out flopped in red, white, and blue.

[ USMNT-PORTUGAL: Match recap | Player ratings ]

Who’s failure was most heinous? Let us count the ways, er, teams.

7) Netherlands — This is a nation that, like England, has overachieved so many times that neutrals expect more from them that, perhaps, is rational. Their domestic league is not what it once was, but finishing behind Sweden is a tough pill to swallow for a side which has been on the proverbial podium the past two World Cups and four times in its history.

6) Ivory Coast — Africa’s qualifying is brutal, but Les Elephants lost two of three home qualifiers and managed two scoreless draws away from home. In fact, the team was blanked thrice despite a unit with Gervinho, Salomon Kalou, Jonathan Kodija, and Wilfried Zaha. Yes, the nation is on a downswing, but still were the favorites to advance past Morocco.

5) Bosnia and Herzegovina — Perched atop the group for a decent period of qualifying, a loaded BNH side drew Greece home and away, lost in Cyprus, and lost at home to Belgium in a cycle which could’ve seen them make a deep run powered by Edin Dzeko, Sead Kolasinac, Asmir Begovic, and Miralem Pjanic.

4) Italy — The highest-ranked ELO team to miss the tournament, Italy had the misfortune of being drawn with Spain (and vice versa). Second-place there was no shame, but being unable to finish over two legs against Sweden may be understandable — Blågult only allowed nine goals in qualifying — but Gian Piero Ventura’s keeping Lorenzo Insigne out of the starting lineup will be questioned for a long, long time.

[ MORE: Arena’s baffling pregame comment ]

3) Chile — CONMEBOL qualifying is as difficult as any confederation, and probably the toughest. Still, La Roja was shutout in six of its nine away qualifiers, including losses to eighth place Ecuador and ninth place Bolivia. For a side with Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal to be blanked that many times? Brutal.

2) Ghana – At least the Ivory Coast finished second in its group! Ghana drew all three of its home matches, managing its only win at the Republic of Congo. That means Apparently the Black Stars couldn’t imagine a World Cup without the USMNT.

*1b) United States — With respect to the improving nature of CONCACAF, the confederation’s relative weakness and wildly forgiving Hex means the Bruce Arena’s men did as poorly as any decent nation in the world. To not even make a playoff is embarrassing, and the first leg of Honduras versus Australia lets you know all that’s needed about the quality of the lesser friends of CONCACAF.

*1a) Australia — The asterisks is important because the Socceroos dominated Honduras in the first leg only to not find a goal, and can still advance to the World Cup with a win at 4 a.m. ET in Sydney. But losing to Honduras after finishing behind Saudi Arabia on the weakness of handing Thailand one of its only two points of qualifying? Wooooof.

US Soccer looking into tourney for non-World Cup teams

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The U.S. Soccer Federation is looking into the possibility of an event next year involving nations that did not qualify for the World Cup.

The idea of an exhibition tournament has been floated for soccer teams such as the United States, Italy, Chile and Ghana that won’t be playing in Russia.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

The USSF confirmed it was exploring the idea after a report Tuesday by Fox. The United States was eliminated from World Cup contention when it lost 2-1 at Trinidad and Tobago last month.

The tournament idea, first suggested on social media, gained traction Monday when Italy was eliminated by Sweden, which advanced with a 1-0 aggregate playoff win. The Italians will miss soccer’s premier event for the first time in six decades.

It is not clear whether FIFA would allow exhibition games during the World Cup, which runs from June 14 to July 15.

Pro Soccer Talk’s second-chance World Cup tournament

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In the wake of Italy’s failure to reach World Cup 2018, Pro Soccer Talk thought it would be fun to come up with an “NIT”-like tournament that FIFA could potentially present next summer for those that missed out on the world’s most prominent football competition.

[ MORE: Italy misses the World Cup for first time since 1958 ]

For those that aren’t familiar, the NIT is the “other” college basketball tournament held each March for college teams that failed to be selected for the NCAA tournament.

To make USMNT supporters and fans of Chile, Italy, Ghana, Holland and others feel better, PST created a mock 18-team competition for next summer.


Here’s a look at the teams that could potentially be included in the tournament and how the bracket would stack up.

UEFA — Italy, Scotland, Wales, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Greece

CONMEBOL — Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador

CONCACAF — USMNT

AFC — Syria, Uzbekistan

CAF — Ghana, DR Congo, Ivory Coast, Uganda

Play-in games — Honduras-Australia loser & Peru-New Zealand loser

For hypothetic purposes, we’ll say that Honduras and Peru advance to the World Cup, leaving Australia and New Zealand eligible for the second-chance tournament.

From there, the teams are seeded 1-18 based on the latest FIFA rankings, with the top seeds (Chile and Wales) awaiting the winner two play-in matches.

What do you think of the concept of this sort of competition? Where would it be hosted? Which nations should be included?

Watch Live: Final group stage matches at U-17 World Cup

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The final knockout round spots remain up for grabs on Saturday, the last day of group stage play at the U-17 World Cup.

[ LIVE: Watch U-17 World Cup, here ] 

France, England, and Iraq have qualified already, while the remaining five nations all have a chance to advance depending on the day’s results.

Crucially, Mexico and Chile tangle at 10:30 a.m. ET in the hopes of avoiding the group’s cellar.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s schedule. You can live stream every game through Telemundo Deportes.


Group E

Japan vs. New Caledonia — 7:30 a.m. ET
France vs. Honduras — 7:30 a.m. ET

Group F

Mexico vs. Chile — 10:30 a.m. ET
England vs. Iraq — 10:30 a.m. ET