World Cup qualifying for the 2018 tournament in Russia dominated most of the major soccer action of the last week.
It started a seven days ago on Thursday, when Argentina defeated Chile 1-0, via a Lionel Messi penalty kick in a clash of troubled South American giants. Meanwhile, Brazil closed in on early qualification by beating Uruguay four goals to one.
That Friday, qualifying continued on the European continent. My personal highlight of the afternoon was Croatia’s 1-0 victory over the Ukraine though a Nikola Kalinić goal. It meant that the team from the Balkans solidified its lead in Group I for the time being.
Friday evening brought action from the CONCACAF region, which covers North and Central America as well as the Caribbean.
There, Trinidad and Tobago celebrated an unlikely 1-0 win over Panama before Mexico defeated Costa Rica 2-0 and the United States achieved its first victory of the round by hammering Honduras 6-0.
On Saturday, Bosnia and Herzegovina defeated Gibraltar 5-0, while Belgium drew Greece 1-1. That means that the Bosnians remain third in Group H, but now with only one point behind Greece and three behind Belgium.
But the result that sent shockwaves through the soccer world that day was the Netherlands’2-0 defeat to Bulgaria. It puts them into fourth place in Europe’s Group A and in danger of missing the World Cup.
On Sunday, I watched Germany overcome Azerbaijan 4-1 and I saw Poland win 2-1 in Montenegro.
On Tuesday, Iran solidified its place on top of Asian Group A with a win against China. Brazil did the same in South America with a win vs. Paraguay, while Argentina took a big step backwards by losing to Bolivia.
North of the equator, the US drew 1-1 at Panama.
The week continued with the second legs UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinals.
Bayern Munich could not defend its first leg lead and lost 4-0 to Paris Saint Germain Meanwhile, VfL Wolfsburg defeated Lyon 1-0, but it was not enough to advance, since they had lost the first leg 2-0.
The semifinals will be Barcelona vs. Paris and Manchester City Ladies vs. Lyon.