Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 11th 2016 Contents A49
Friday, November 11, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In a remarkable coincidence, the United States
has beaten Mexico 2-0 in all four of their World
Cup qualifiers in Columbus, Ohio. In 2001, 2005,
2009, and 2013.
Today, they meet in the same place, in another
qualifier, and it will be chilly again.
Enough is enough, say Mexico.
"It is a spectacular opportunity to end this statistic
(in Columbus)," coach Juan Carlos Osorio said.
For the qualifiers in the US and Panama, Osorio
sought out experienced players, including 14 who
Notable, was the recall of Carlos Vela from Spain s
Real Sociedad. He hasn t played for Mexico since
2015. Also back were brothers Jonathan and Giovani
dos Santos, who did not play in the Copa America
Veteran Rafael Marquez tasted several defeats in
Columbus, but had a good feeling this time. "This
is a different time, with different players that will
leave the past behind," Marquez said.
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann has drawn on 15
players from the 2014 World Cup. But Clint
Dempsey was not available because of cardiac
"This match against Mexico is filled with emo-
tions," said US goalkeeper Tim Howard, who has
blanked Mexico twice in Columbus.
Honduras and young blood
Honduras is seeking its third consecutive trip
to a World Cup, and coach Jorge Luis Pinto has
picked youngsters who played at the Rio de Janeiro
Olympics and reached the semifinals.
Honduras plays visiting Panama today, and two
home players to watch are midfielder Romel Quioto
and striker Alberth Elis.
"Coach Pinto s experience will be key for our
future," Elis said.
In 2013 qualifying, Panama beat Honduras 2-
0 and drew away 2-2.
Costa Rica excited for Keylor Navas
Costa Rica s morale has been boosted by the
availability of goalkeeper Keylor Navas for the
qualifiers at Trinidad and Tobago and against the
US on Tuesday.
Injuries and club commitments have kept Navas,
the Real Madrid keeper, from previous rounds of
"It is always tough to return after injury, but
now I am painless and happy," Navas said as he
was welcomed by fans at Costa Rica airport.
In the second rotation of World Cup qualifiers
on Tuesday, Honduras hosts Trinidad and Tobago,
Costa Rica welcomes the United States, and Panama
plays against Mexico.
MADRID---Sergio Ramos only
contribution to Spain in a World
Cup qualifier this weekend will
be a pep talk to his teammates.
Ramos visited the team s train-
ing camp this week ahead of Sat-
urday s match against Macedonia,
but the captain won t be on the
field in the southern city of
Granada because of an injury ---
one of the many players missing
as Spain tries to defend its Group
G lead in European qualifying.
Spain coach Julen Lopetegui
also won t be able to count on
playmaker Andres Iniesta, striker
Diego Costa, defender Gerard
Pique, left back Jordi Alba and
defensive midfielder Javi Mar-
Costa was the latest to be
dropped from the squad yesterday,
being released because of a thigh
injury that had kept him from
practicing with the rest of the
squad during the week. Celta Vigo
forward Iago Aspas was named as
his replacement, joining the
national team for the first time.
"We are going to try to turn
difficulties into opportunities,"
Lopetegui said. "We can t lament
anything. I m happy with the
players that we called up, and they
are going to help us achieve vic-
tory in both matches."
Three days after hosting Macedo-
nia, Spain will play a friendly against
England at Wembley Stadium.
Lopetegui will have to work
extra hard to set up his defense,
which is not used to being without
veteran central defenders Ramos
and Pique at the same time.
Ramos is nursing a left knee
injury, while Pique is recovering
from sprained ligaments in his
"We ve had to restructure the
defense the best way possible,"
Lopetegui said, not dismissing the
possibility of having to improvise
with right back Cesar Azpilicueta
at center back.
The Chelsea player has played
in the position in the past.
Other options for Lopetegui
include Real Madrid s Nacho Fer-
nandez, Real Sociedad s Inigo
Martinez, Sevilla s Sergio Escudero
and Borussia Dortmund s Marc
With Costa not playing up
front, Alvaro Morata and Aritz
Aduriz should get a chance to per-
form alongside each other in the
lineup. Other forwards in the
squad include Lucas Vazquez,
Manuel "Nolito" Agudo, Jose
Callejon and Victor "Vitolo"
At midfield, it will be difficult
to substitute for Iniesta, who has
been sidelined because of right
knee injury. Among the options
available for Lopetegui are Juan
Mata, Thiago Alcantara and Jorge
Spain and Italy have seven
points each after three games in
Group G, with the Spaniards
ahead on goal difference. Albania
and Israel are one point behind,
while Macedonia and Liechten-
stein have yet to earn points.
Italy plays at Lichtenstein the
same day that Spain hosts Mace-
tart for France
ARIS---Despite helping France
h the European Championship
, striker Olivier Giroud finds
self once again fighting for his
e in the national side.
s position has come under
ous threat from Kevin Gameiro,
coach Didier Deschamps must
ose between them to play
gside Antoine Griezmann in
ay's World Cup qualifier against
ameiro appears to be the
urite to start, but Giroud's
sicality and heading ability could
e useful against a robust
den side level with France in
livier and Kevin have different
es. Olivier is more of a link player,
n is more about speed and
ing runs," Deschamps said. "Both
very effective. I can use one at
start and one can come on
ng the match, depending on the
Giroud scored three goals at Euro
2016, forging a decent partnership
with Griezmann, the competition's
top scorer with six. But he has lost
his place in the Arsenal side to Chile
striker Alexis Sanchez, while
Gameiro is thriving at club level
alongside Griezmann at Atletico
Although Giroud started France's
first match in qualifying for the 2018
World Cup, he missed two clear
chances in a 0-0 draw at Belarus.
Gameiro replaced him in a 4-1 win
at home against Bulgaria and a 1-0
win at the Netherlands. He scored
twice against Bulgaria, with his
second goal set up by Griezmann.
Their partnership is progressing well
at Atletico, where they have 13 goals
between them this season.
However, Giroud also has found
some form recently for Arsenal.
He came off the bench to score
twice in quick succession in a 4-1 win
at Sunderland and followed that up
with a goal in the Champions League.
But he was back on the bench again
for the match against Tottenham
THE HAGUE---The Netherlands'
injury list has lengthened ahead of
its World Cup qualifier against
Luxembourg on Sunday, with three
more players pulling out of the
Striker Vincent Janssen, winger
Jeremain Lens and midfielder Stijn
Schaars were all injured Wednesday
as the Netherlands drew 1-1 in a
friendly against Belgium.
Netherlands coach Danny Blind
called up midfielders Leroy Fer of
Swansea and Marten de Roon of
Middlesbrough, who will make his
Blind already was missing winger
Quincy Promes, midfielder Davy
Proepper and defenders Terence
Kongolo and Rick Karsdorp.
Netherlands captain Arjen Robben
is expected to be fit to play his first
international in a year in Sunday's
qualifier in Luxembourg.
Spain defends lead with depleted squad
Mexico's Giovani Dos Santos, left, moves the ball as US goalkeeper Tim
Howard defends during the second half of the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer
final in Pasadena, California. Howard will be back in the goal tonight when the
US plays Mexico in a final-round qualifier for the 2018 World Cup. AP PHOTO
Mexico out to
CONCACAF World Cup
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