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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Open Thread For Euro, World Cup Qualifying and a Few Friendlies

Written by on November 11, 2011 | 39 Comments »
Posted in International

The international schedule makes for strange weeks for fans. There is a logic behind Friday and Tuesday fixtures but it doesn’t make it any easier to like.

Here are a few of the major matches today, on Saturday there is the England vs. Spain friendly at Wembley.

Euro 2012 Play-offs

Bosnia- Herzégovina v Portugal

  • Repeat of WC 2010 play-off – Portugal won both legs 1-0
  • Portugal with bizarre defensive performances – allowed 5 goals in final 2 matches (Iceland 3 and Denmark 2) and 4 in a draw against Cyprus earlier in qualifying. 
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina only allowed 8 goals in 10 qualifying game but will be missing three  defenders – Boris Pandza and Sasa Papac are suspended & Mensur Mujdza is injured.

Estonia vs. Republic of Ireland

  • Sixth time the Republic has been involved in a playoff to qualify for a major tournament and they have lost all but one of the previous five.
  • This tie the first time that they will play the second leg at home.
  • Only allowed 1 goal against in last 5 qualifying matches
  • Estonia finished behind Italy but above Serbia and Slovenia in group C but this is the first time they had even finished group qualifying with a positive goal difference
  • Estonians failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their 10 qualifying matches
  • Won their last three matches to qualify  including 2 against N. Ireland

Czech Republic v Montenegro

  • Petr Cech still a doubt – suffered a broken nose – if Cech does not play then Jaroslav Drobny will start
  • Montenegro finished with a 2-0 loss to Switzerland in their final game.
  • Montenegro won first three in Euro group stage but then three draws and two losses in other 5 games
  • No team in play offs scored fewer goals (7) nor conceded fewer (equal with Ireland and Croatia 7)

Turkey vs Croatia

  • At home Turkey have a good record – 4 of 5 wins came at home – the loss was to Germany
  • Midfield and attacking strength in Arda Turan of Atletico Madrid and Mehmet Topal of Valencia
  • Hiddink looking to become the second coach to reach three Euro finals, and first to do it with three different countries
  • Croatia finished second behind Greece
  • Bolton Wanderers forward Ivan Klasnic dropped by Croatia manager Slaven Bilic


France v USA

  • France also plays Belgium on Tuesday
  • In his five games, the United States have one win under Jurgen Klinsmann and have lost three games and drawn one – only scoring two goals.
  • Positive side is the team has yet to concede more than a goal in each of the 5 games
  • Klinsmann has developed a pattern of using players developed in Germany – Timmy Chandler, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson, Alfredo Morales, Jermaine Jones
  • No Landon Donovan
  • USA plays Slovenia on Tuesday

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying

St Kitts and Nevis V Canada

  • Canada (3-0-1) plays in St. Kitts (1-0-3) on Friday and then plays the return game on Tuesday in Toronto.
  • Canada needs only one point to advance to the next round – St. Kitts and Nevis needs to win both.

Other Groups

  • Group A – El Salvador set to move on – will join Mexico and Costa Rica and winner group B
  • Group B – Guyana leads T&T by a point and a head to head game series Friday (in Guyana) and Tuesday
  • Group C – Panama has qualified – joins Honduras and Cuba
  • Group D – Canada set to progress and will join Panama
  • Group E – Guatemala has qualified – joins Jamaica and USA + winner Group F
  • Group F – Antigua and Barbuda two points ahead of Haiti – and a head to head game series Friday (A&B at home) and Tuesday

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying

Argentina v Bolivia

  • Argentina started with a  4-1 victory over Chile but then lost 1-0 in Venezuela.
  • Bolivia with two defeats and only team without a point.
  • They lost to Uruguay 4-2 score line and a 2-1 home defeat to Colombia

Uruguay v Chile

  • Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez without Diego Forlan,  Abel Hernandez, Alvaro Fernandez, Walter Gargano, Jorge Fucile &  Maxi Pereira.
  • Uruguay with four points from their first two games.
  • Chile at home to Paraguay on Tuesday
  • Arturo Vidal, Jorge Valdivia, Jean Beausejour, Gonzalo Jara and Carlos Carmona all sent home by Chile manager Claudio Borghi

Colombia vs. Venezuela

Paraguay vs Ecuador

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39 responses to “Open Thread For Euro, World Cup Qualifying and a Few Friendlies”

  1. Boris says:

    Same story with Croatia….

    Pletikosa is the keeper again (big mistake).

    The defense is battered but I question Bilic’s decison to play a central defender (Vida) as a right back. Vida has clearly failed in that position for Dinamo so why experiment?
    Croatia’s midfield is relatively strong (one of the best in the world in my opinion) with Modric being the key in unlocking Turkey’s defense. I am not sure why Perisic is not starting.
    The forwards are firing on all cylinders so I am not too surprised that Klasnic has being dropped (Eduardo is not even starting) but I would have called him up anyway.
    I think Croatia was the better team at the Euro’s in 2008 and still are the better team but I fear for them simply because I do not think that Bilic is the right man for the job.
    I am hoping for the best.

  2. Soccerlogical says:

    Both Kranjcar and Rakitic are coming off injuries and still haven’t been influential this season for their domestic clubs. IMO this midfield is not one of the best in the world (at least not at the moment)…. sorry!

    Bilic vs Gus… I take Hiddink any day of the week.

  3. Gus Keri says:


    It’s Guus.

    I have nothing to do with it.

  4. In Canada there is cavalcade of games on TV today. Cyprus/Scotland; Bosnia/Portugal; Turkey/Croatia; France/USA; Netherlands/Switzerland and Sportsnet is carrying the Canada at St Kitts and Nevis game on their website. Tomorrow there is England/Spain (tape delayed I believe)
    Only thing missing is CONMEBOL qualifiers.

  5. NY Dark Blue says:

    What no writeup for the oh so important Cyprus v Scotland match… ?

    C’Mon the Dee.

  6. Boris says:


    Kranjcar hasn’t been called up by due to his injury. They’ve got a lot quality in the Bundesliga and Perisic is becoming influential for Borussia. There is a lot of young up and coming talent in the midfield area. However, you are entitled to your opinion, same as me.
    Croatia are up 2:0 in Istanbul. So far so good.

  7. Boris says:

    3:0. I am impressed. Srna has been fantastic.

  8. Boris says:

    A fantastic result. Bobby, I am looking forward to your analysis of the Croatia game tonight.
    Bosnia are going to have it tough and Montenegro are probably out. I feel bad. I wanted our neighbors to qualify as well.

  9. Soccerligical says:

    Boris – Great result, Cestitke!

    Gus – Nice one! 🙂

  10. Boris says:


  11. Just watched the France – USA friendly. If someone writes a “five things we learned” column from that match I will gag.

    Can’t decide whether the defence of Turkey was carved or stuffed. Either way it was definetly “foul”.

  12. Bolivia do it to Argentina again 1-1 FT.
    Suarez with a hat trick – Uruguay leads Chile 3-0 with 10 minutes left

  13. Make that Suarez 4-0 Chile.

  14. Nominations for today’s biggest Winners and Whingers (Fans edition)

    Winners – Croatia, Ireland, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia, Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Bolivia

    Whingers – Turkey, Chile, USA, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Colombia, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago

    Split decision – Canada moves on to the next stage but many of the faithful are not happy at consecutive 0-0 draws.

  15. Boris says:

    I was looking forward to Bobby’s analysis tonight and what? No Bobby?…..No bueno.

  16. Ed Gomes says:

    I watched the Bosnia vs Portugal match and the Bosnian FA has to be fined by the UEFA.
    There was a ton of talk about horrible turf, so much so that I began to think it was overblown. Well it wasn’t. The weather a=was cold, and there were divots all over the field even before the players tore it up further. Shocked nobody turned an ankle or worse.
    We’ve all heard of the grass not getting cut and left high on purpose. Even over watering the field. But this went way overboard.
    It basically destroyed the game. Glad nobody scored on a fluke goal. Actually more than one chance was lost due to the turf.
    I hope that Portugal can get it done at home.

    Impressive wins by Croatia on the the road in Turkey, and Republic of Ireland.

    The Klinsmann era already in trouble?
    Was the US on the brink of being a powerhouse and I missed it?
    The fact is that the US should qualify for the WC with ease. Once there, the draw will have a lot to do with advancement.
    There’s a lot of work left to do. As the sport grows in the US, and hopefully the MLS will do more so it does, kids will stay with it longer.

  17. gabemar says:

    The who is in trouble, believe it or not, is Sabella. Drawing with Bolivia at home after losing to Venezuela is not only not good enough, but it does not bode well for their qualifying campaign.

  18. Boris – usually Friday and Monday’s but we moved Friday to Thursday in order to preview. Review will be Monday on FSR and on the weekly podcast.

  19. ED Gomes – ironically the field conditions hurt Bosnia just as much as it did Portugal.

  20. Harry Redknapp to have his day in court on tax charge

  21. Gus Keri says:

    The false raised expectation of the American fans comes from stupid comments like the one given by Alexi Lalas at the half time section.

    He criticized Klinsmann for not goin after the French team. He called the French players as “young inexperienced players”.

    I know all about the “Euro-snobs” in the world of soccer, but I haven’t heard of the “Ame-snobs” yet.

  22. Soccerligical says:

    It’s blowhards like Lalas and Wynalda who don’t bring an iota of positivity to soccer in terms of appealing to America’s diverse soccer community and adding any sort of insight.

    That entire generation is just bitter that it had no talent or personality whatsoever. Unfortunately, the idiots from that generation will be the face of USA media soccer for a long time, while intelligent ex players like Reyna and Ramos work behind the scenes developing USA youth soccer and actually contributing.

    Having said that, Twellman and Harkes (to a much lesser extent) seem somewhat astute in game analysis and overall demeanor. And the likes of Cherendulo, Lando, Boca, Freidel (once retired) and Keller will hopefully outshine the idiocy of Lalas and Wynalda.

    *Not that I’m surprised that blowhard idiots with no substance are the talking heads media of American soccer… I mean just look at Rick Perry! 🙂

  23. Ed Gomes says:

    Bobby, I couldn’t agree more. If any club manager saw the field conditions, they would have pulled their players off it. The players didn’t run at full speed once in this match.
    And yes, it did cost the Bosnians as much as Portugal. But for Portugal it was devastating since they just became a “punted away” team. No tactics at all.

    Gus, I’m shocked that you haven’t heard Alexi make foolish comments before. The funniest thing is when you hear a pundit speak about a squad/player/game and make a completely wrong observation. And when it becomes obvious, he goes and makes a different assertion and ignores first point of view.
    At the World Cup it was embarassing. As for example I agree that the England squad was overhyped and short on answers, the way those thoughts were protraid by American pundits was embarassing at times. It really made it hard for a football fan to take any of them serious. In my opinion they actually due a great disservice to growth of the sport in thsi country.
    Do people realize that just like in club football that there’s Tourney’s/Silverware that doesn’t mean that much? The worst thing the US team did was beat Spain. People have gone off the rails since then. I will admit that we will become much more like the rest of the world should we fire Klinsmann right away. I’m sure the replacement won’t last long either. That way at least off the pitch we’ll be in line with the world.

  24. Gus – You picked up on something that I was going to address on the podcast with Eoin. Someone started this ridiculous notion of Blanc fielding an inexperienced side and failed to put it in context. From the write ups on websites and comments made you could easily conclude that France was throwing an under 21 side out there.

    These players are all battle hardened Ligue Un players and I am hard pushed to think of any who have not played in some level of European competition.

    Just because a player is inexperienced at international level does not make them ripe for plucking.

  25. Soccerligical says:

    Bobby – We are still waiting on that picture of you in the 70’s with your moustache and Members Only jacket!

    ENG 1 – 0 Spain…. ENG to reach Euro 2012 Final EASY!!!!!!! 🙂

  26. SL – they have been destroyed. Let the hype begin….again.

  27. J Rob says:

    Cracking up at the BBC’s description of England’s performance as sensational!

  28. Gus Keri says:

    What is happening now with France and Blanc reminds me of what France went through under Aime Jacquet after the debacle of the 1994 WC qualification.
    He built a new and young team around Zinedine Zidane at the expense of stars like Cantona, Ginola and Papin.
    Initially, he was criticized a lot, but eventually he took the team to the semifinals of the Euro 1996 and the WC title in 1998.

  29. Gus Keri says:

    And just like how Scotland pronounced themselves the world champions after beating the world cup holder England in 1967, we are going to hear about how England became the world champions after beating the current world cup holder Spain.
    At least until the next world cup takes place.

  30. J Rob says:

    Gus – the thread for who are now the unofficial world champions starts with Argentina who beat Spain in a friendly in September of last year. The next team to beat Argentina was Japan a few weeks later…

    So as of October last year it was Japan.

    No time to add to the thread now unfortunately.

  31. J Rob says:

    Japan have successfully defended the title for over a year. Amazing!

  32. Gus Keri says:

    J Rob:

    Give people a computer and a free time and you will be amazed what they come up with.

    The USA held the title for 13 days? Where is Lalas when you need his comments?

    Worse, the Netherlands Antilles held it for 4 days?

    Thanks for the link

  33. Rhywun says:

    “Cracking up at the BBC’s description of England’s performance as sensational!”

    Heh, I guess they couldn’t bring themselves to call it “dumb luck”.

  34. RobN says:

    Here you are Bobby … just what you were hoping for (my apologies to your digestive system).

  35. Robn – time to throw up.
    “The US team needs to go out in Ljubljana and carry a consistent level of energy through the 90 minutes, pressing high up the pitch to win the ball and moving into attack with pace. When they have the ball, the young players need to play with tempo but maintain their composure to retain control of the play. And most of all the attacking players need work together to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts which can produce chances and goals.” Do you think?
    The problem is execution the problem is not the plan.

    I think it was Barney Ronay that mentioned he finds that when playing against his 6 year old that the boy has trouble handling a high pressure defense.

    That summation seems a bit like that – no comment as to whether or not the players have the ability to actually execute. What’s more doing it against Slovenia is very different than doing it against France.

  36. RobN says:

    Agreed. The article was only slightly better than a list of strung together cliches. Reminded me a bit of this piece by Steve Martin:
    … except without the tongue-in-cheek stance. Brilliant stuff by Steve.
    On another note, I appreciated your reference to the book “You Are Not So Smart” (which I picked up, and have read a few that are similar). I can see many of the lessons in that book being applied in your commentary and have always appreciated that. Cheers.

  37. Gus Keri says:

    J Rob:

    You’ve got your wish.

    Today, Japan surrendered its title.

    The new “unofficial” world champion is North Korea which beat Japan 1-0.

  38. J Rob says:

    LOL at Gus Keri..

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