A World Cup With No Messi Could Have Been Sadly Bereft

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Media have taken offence and picked up on the comments. Since touching down in San Pedro Sula, the Australian contingent have been forced to set out on a place of grovelling, with Cahill delivered before the media to state that "as gamers, we respect the nation and people, which is most important". This respect didn't extend to stopping to talk to reporters who'd waited at the airport to further infuriate the media. Australia are ensured an reception with pride injured and passions inflamed. A task has been made by some remarks on a late night TV series. So much for banter.

He then left and had a joyless and brief stint in club management before returning to what he does inspire a group. Morocco was qualified by him where they removed Ivory Coast. With a view to inflicting pain Renard will take his team back to his old stomping ground on Saturday. A draw in Abidjan will be sufficient for Morocco to accomplish that, whereas success is needed by Ivory Coast, which means that they might need to become the first team to score against Morocco. sbobet online

Two things clear with a game in hand at the top of the group, they will book their ticket if Burkina Faso failed to conquer Cape Verde or if they win in South Africa on Saturday. If Aliou Cissé's side doesn't get the results they want this weekend week when South Africa see Dakar, they could complete the job. Keita Baldé Diao in form and with Sadio Mané and Diafra Sakho fit, the probability is that Senegal will do the weekend. Then Cissé's phone will light up with the message of congratulations ... and possibly pleas, from Liverpool fans particularly, to not risk Mané from the redundant match.

Few outside (and maybe inside) New Zealand speed the Oceania side's chances of overturning Peru at a playoff pitting the 10th rated national group in the world against the 122nd. Having finished fifth in South American qualifying to secure their place Peru are favourites. With the first leg occurring in Wellington New Zealand need to make home advantage count to give any expectation before going to Lima to themselves. 1-0 defeat or even a draw would leave a sporting chance in front of a leg against a Peru side that could buckle beneath the crippling weight of expectation back home to them. New Zealand lost all three of the group games at June's Confederations Cup, where Anthony Hudson, their supervisor, used a press which will be grist to the mill of side. Using similar tactics in the Westpac Stadium might finish this tie and will be ill-advised.

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A World Cup with no Messi could have been sadly bereft -- but what about one missing Luka Modric? The Real Madrid playmaker is 32 and, when you think about the Croatia team-mates' gifts he works with, it beggars belief that his place in Russia 2018 hangs in the balance. The supporters of Croatia can be furious even though the appointment of Zlatko Dalic in time for the win in Ukraine last month seems to have come in the nick of time. Dalic -- unless, eligibility is procured and will work with no contract before, and who replaced the Ante Cacic -- must hope Croatia find their verve. As Argentina discovered to their cost, talent is just part of the narrative; a Croatia creation have made weather of items but desire for the sort of ending. For a lot of the cornerstones of Dalic, this is a shot at the prize of all.

They can see the Croats remains to be seen off, but their manager has made them tough to beat. Nothing or defensively strong and offering little moving ahead, they're a throwback to the Greece team that floor three wins at the knockout stages out under another Otto Rehhagel: grueling to watch and hideously dull at Euro 2004. It should go without saying that their fans could be more pleased after enduring the traumas of recent decades.

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