And, we’re off!
You probably didn’t even notice, but the very first qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia was played on Thursday, as Bhutan, the 209th-ranked team by FIFA (out of 209), shocked the world — or the handful of people who knew the game was taking place — by beating Sri Lanka, 1-0.
Bhutan, a South Asian country of roughly 750,000 people, last won a game in 2008 when they defeated Afghanistan, 3-1. Tshering Dorji scored the game’s only goal as Bhutan upset Sri Lanka, the 174th-ranked team in the world.
Following the famous victory, head coach Chokey Nima and his team went for a post-game meal at the KFC next to the team hotel. We are all Bhutan.
As previously discussed, the FIFA rankings are pretty much worthless and a waste of time, but any team that hasn’t won a game in seven years is very much in the conversation for “world’s worst national team,” so the world governing body may have actually got this one right.
The U.S. national team kicks off its 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign this November, as the Yanks — along with Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago — enter during the fourth round of qualifying, while Canada enters during the second round this June. | FULL CONCACAF QUALIFYING DATES HERE