Updates After Round 1 of Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey

Team: Games Played; Wins-Overtime Wins-Overtime Losses-Losses; Goals For-Goals Against; Goal Differential; Points

Group A:

  1. USA: 1; 1-0-0-0; 8-0; +8; 3
  2. Canada: 1; 1-0-0-0; 5-1; +4; 3
  3. Germany: 1; 0-0-0-1; 1-5; -4; 0
  4. PR China: 1; 0-0-0-1; 0-8; -8; 0

Games:

USA 8 PR China 0

Canada 5 Germany 1

Next:

Canada verse USA

Germany verse PR China

Group B:

  1. Denmark: 1; 1-0-0-0; 2-1; +1; 3
  2. Russian Olympic Committee: 1; 1-0-0-0; 1-0; +1; 3
  3. Czech Republic: 1; 0-0-0-1; 1-2; -1; 0
  4. Switzerland: 1; 0-0-0-1; 0-1; -1; 0

Games:

Russian Olympic Committee 1 Switzerland 0

Czech Republic 1 Denmark 2

Next:

Denmark verse Russian Olympic Committee

Czech Republic verse Switzerland

Group C:

  1. Finland: 1; 1-0-0-0; 6-2; +4; 3
  2. Sweden: 1; 1-0-0-0; 3-2; +1; 3
  3. Latvia: 1; 0-0-0-1; 2-3; -1; 0
  4. Slovakia: 1; 0-0-0-1; 2-6; -4; 0

Games:

Sweden 3 Latvia 2

Finland 6 Slovakia 2

Next:

Sweden verse Slovakia

Latvia verse Finland

Analysis:

Group A:

USA: The USA did not win by as much as they should have against PR China if this was the USA’s regular team and PR China’s regular team, but given the context of both nations’ 2022 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey teams, this was a good, but not great display by Team USA. USA scored a lot, but should have had more goals as they only went 2 for 4 from the power play against what might be the weakest team in this year’s Olympics. Furthermore, Team USA did not control enough of the puck nor did Team USA defend well enough. PR China should have had some goals, but there were a lot of misses and great saves by USA’s goalie. Still, a team with many college players beat a team with all KHL players, which is quite impressive.

Canada: Canada revenged their 2018 Olympic Semi-final loss against Germany by winning 5-1. Given that Germany is expected to do well due to no NHL players present, this was an impressive win. Canada was expected to win, but not by 4 goals. But, even with the win, it is tough to tell which Canada this is, as well as which USA, Germany, and PR China this is. With the lack of NHL players and with USA’s and Canada’s decision to go with many collegiate players, these two nations are vastly different than their usual team. And, Germany, while they should do well given the limitations that do not as much apply to them, Germany has the ability to be a Gold Medal contender, and has the ability to not finish Top 10! And then, PR China is the odd puck out given that they have many naturalized players and are new to playing at this level. This group is hard to tell where each team is at. This could either be the best group by far or the worst group by far, or something in between. And this makes Canada unexpected too, even after playing once.

Germany: Germany played bad for what they expected from their national team. Had this been usual circumstances, than this result would be expected, but without NHL players, a 4 goal loss to Canada is unacceptable. Germany needs to reevaluate so they can put up good performances against the USA and PR China. With PR China in the Group, Germany could win by enough that if they win their next 2 games, Germany could get the bye as the best 2nd place team.

PR China: PR China played more competitively than many expected, and even though they lost 0-8, it was not as bad as the scoreboard suggested. There are a lot of things this PR China team can work on. It is just unfortunate their first game had to be against the USA, even if it is a much depleted USA. PR China is expected to be the worst national team at the Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament this year. But they don’t look too out of place.

Group B:

Denmark: Denmark is so far the surprise of the tournament. Their defense looks good. Their attack does not look good enough yet. But, they also are playing in the toughest defensive group. Denmark got their first win after Round 1, but still look to be outside of medal contention as the Czech Republic has been struggling a lot lately, and now the Czechs do not even get to use their NHL players. Denmark looks to be the #6 team overall and the #3 team in the Group.

Russian Olympic Committee: The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) had a less than inspiring win over Switzerland, but still won. Switzerland could be really good this year, or may just be middle of the pack. Either way, Switzerland is talented, and the ROC looks to be just getting their feet wet. A 1-0 win means the ROC has great defense, but might struggle with the attack. By the time the knockout rounds come around, I am sure the ROC will know how to score more. The ROC looks to be the #1 team in the group and the #1 team overall.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic continues to disappoint in ice hockey like they have done recently. Usually, the Czechs are very good, but last World Championship, and now so far at this Olympics, there appears to be something majorly wrong with this national team. The Czech Republic looks to be struggling a lot on the attack, and probably a lot on defense as 2 goals given up against Denmark does not suggest great defense, but does not suggest bad defense necessarily either. The Czechs look like the #10 team overall and the #4 team in this group, not due to their talent, but due to their play.

Switzerland: Switzerland might be the #2 team at the tournament because the ROC is supposed to be quite amazing. But, until Switzerland scores a goal, it is too soon to rank them too high. Switzerland looks to have an elite defense, but not a great attack. Switzerland is playing like the #2 team in the Group, and the #5 team overall.

Group C:

Finland: Finland are the favorites coming out of Round 1 of the group stage for Group C. Finland beat the third best team in this group, most likely, by 4 goals cementing their place as not only Group Favorties, but the #2 favorite here at the Olympics. Finland possesses better attacking ability right now than any national team at the Olympics, which may make it the favorites with another superior performance like they had against Slovakia. Yes, the Americans scored the most, but the Finish did it against better competition, as least that we know of.

Sweden: Sweden struggled to beat Latvia, but still did. This is a good result given that Olympic Hockey, especially without NHL players, is very unpredictable and very difficult. Sweden does not look as good as Finland or Canada or the Russian Olympic Committee, but still looks like they may be that good, and possibly Latvia is much better than we think. To clarify, the win over Latvia was impressive, just not as impressive as Finland’s and Canada’s +4 goal wins over what appears to be superior national teams, as well as not as impressive as the Russian Olympic Committee’s 1-0 win over a potentially very good Switzerland.

Latvia: If Sweden is as good as they should be this Olympics, then Latvia should be able to compete against all teams if they can put up a similar performance. Latvia may not be the best nation, but they have a lot of good players and if they are used to playing together, they can use this familiarity to get some wins here. Latvia is looking like the #3 team in the Group and a Top 8 team at the Olympics after this first result.

Slovakia: Slovakia started well, but Finland took over. Slovakia should be the #3 team in Group C, but after Round 1, looks like the #4 team in the Group and the #9 team at the Olympics. They do look better than Germany for now, but only because Finland is expected to be better than Canada at this Olympics. If not, Slovakia will fall below their expected position on the overall table which is #9.

Overall Rankings after Round 1:

  1. USA
  2. Finland
  3. Canada
  4. Sweden
  5. Denmark
  6. Russian Olympic Committee
  7. Latvia
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Switzerland
  10. Slovakia
  11. Germany
  12. PR China

Power Rankings After Round 1:

  1. Russian Olympic Committee
  2. Finland
  3. Canada
  4. Sweden
  5. Switzerland
  6. USA
  7. Denmark
  8. Latvia
  9. Slovakia
  10. Czech Republic
  11. Germany
  12. PR China

Knockout Round Seeds So Far:

  1. USA
  2. Finland
  3. Denmark
  4. Canada
  5. Sweden
  6. Russian Olympic Committee
  7. Latvia
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Switzerland
  10. Slovakia
  11. Germany
  12. PR China

3 Stars of Round 1:

Sean Farrell (USA): 3 Goals and 2 Assists in USA’s win over PR China.

Ivan Fedotov (Russia): 33 saves in shutout victory for Russia over Switzerland.

Mikko Lehtonen (Finland): second highest +/- ratio (+3) and key defender for Finland’s victory.

Pope Francis needs to keep the Republic of China’s recognition

The Holy See officially recognizes the Republic of China (Taiwan/Chinese Taipei) as the representative of China. The Holy See has a chancery/embassy there (called an apostolic nunciature), the Holy See has assigned ambassadors there (called apostolic nuncios), and the Republic of China returns the favor with a chancery/embassy and diplomats in Rome (most embassies accredited to the Holy See are in Rome).

However, the Holy See has only sent chargé d’affaires to the Republic of China since the 1970s, which in other words is like an interim head of the diplomatic mission or second in command after the ambassador, or apostolic nuncio in the Holy See’s case.

Recently, the Holy See has moved their chargé d’affaires for the Republic of China to become the apostolic nuncio for Rwanda.

Unlike with other movements, this announcement came without much press, buried away in many other stories.

This has sent concerns around the Catholic Church that the Holy See might be moving to recognizing the People’s Republic of China.

But, the Holy See must not!

Why?

One, the Holy See represents the Catholic Church abroad. The Catholic Church has been plagued with corruption and a lack of action at the top for years now. The Church is supposed to be guided by the Holy Spirit, but with countless errors by many of its officials, it is becoming less and less respected by Catholics and especially non-Catholics alike. The Church can alleviate these scandals by doing more right things. One right thing would be to recognize the Republic of China, the China that is not censoring your religion, is not locking up your believers, is allowing religious freedom, and is not extending persecution greatly to other groups as well. As a faith-based organization, it seems apparent that recognizing the good China would be unequivocally the way to go. Unfortunately with this Pope and many in the Church today, doing the right thing is always something we do not expect to be done.

Two, the Holy See is about faith and not money. By recognizing the People’s Republic of China, the Holy See is succumbing to money and being dependent on another anti-religious nation for the protection of its Catholics, which creates a power imbalance whereby the Church does not work against the evils of the country in which it is receiving money from. This has happened many times. Look at the Land O’ Lakes Statement with regards to Catholic Higher Education in the USA. The Catholic Schools sought greater funding and prestige, and now, are so dependent on US federal funds that they are no longer really Catholic. It is so bad that you have people promoting sin on campuses as professors or as student groups. No matter your views on the issues, the fact is that Catholic Higher Education has abandoned its Catholicism for the quest of worldly pleasures, and has ended up with no truly Catholic education. For the Catholic Church to stay Catholic, it must seek to do the right thing, not the thing that makes the most money or earns the most prestige.

Three, the Church is about defending the weak, protecting the poor, helping out the less fortunate, and in international relations, the Republic of China is really all of these things. And they are good! Currently, only 13 other nations recognize the Republic of China, as the Communist Party of China (CCP) in all in tense and purposes forces countries to choose one nation or the other to recognize, and the CCP’s coercive power has meant a steady decline in the Republic of China’s recognition. For the World as a whole, it is mightily important that the spiritual leader for over 1 Billion people continues to recognize the Republic of China, because it signals that the debate is not over, giving the Republic of China strength and balancing powers. The Church’s goal should be to stop CCP domination around the globe as it subverts God into a cloud of nothingness in favor of their one-party state control, and by recognizing the Republic of China, it proves that the CCP does not even control its own region, and thus will have a tougher time controlling regions outside of East Asia.

Four, making deals with these Chinese is never a good idea. Yes, Chinese people constitute the most people out of any nationality, but the de facto leaders of the Chinese who live on the mainland are not exactly the most trustworthy when it comes to making deals. With Hong Kong, they promised to leave them alone until 2047. However, that has quickly changed and now Hong Kong does not have many of their freedoms in tact, either in law or in practice. With regards to many companies, the CCP promised or rather it was implied, that no one would steal the companies’ intellectual property, but that has turned out to be a lie and many companies have had their intellectual property stolen by CCP-aligned spies and tons of information have ended up with CCP-aligned companies that have put the companies who went into the People’s Republic of China at a severe disadvantage. And, closest to home, are the reports that the People’s Republic of China’s deal with the Holy See to allow the Pope to have final say on the appointment of bishops, in order to make the Catholic Church not underground in the People’s Republic of China anymore, is now being reneged upon as the CCP appears to be picking these bishops instead.

As the Catholic Church is reminded more and more just how important it is to have leaders who actually espouse Catholicism, the worst choice for the Holy See would be to try and erode even more of the independence and faithfulness the Catholic Church posseses.

When we look at the German Catholic Church or Catholic Higher Education across the USA, or the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China, we are constantly reminded of why it is important to put Faith and the Doing of Good in front of profits and worldly prestige. The Catholic Church that does not value its own beliefs is not only not Catholic, and a disgrace to Jesus Christ, but it is also not as powerful either because all it becomes is another Country, NGO, Business, or whatever entity it hopes to model itself after with no morals and one that can never compete with the likes of other secular organizations much more powerful. The Catholic Church is powerful now because it is about belief and there is no way to regulate the internal beliefs of humans, thus connecting humans with a strong Catholic belief with its Church. Getting rid of this belief in favor of worldly pleasures quashes this soft power the Holy See possesses more than any other sovereign-state. Thus, Pope Francis needs to do more to keep this belief alive, not less.

Favorites to Win 2022 Winter Olympics in Men’s Ice Hockey

  1. Russian Olympic Committee (ROC): The ROC’s ice hockey team is made up of all KHL players, the second best league in the world, with many teams as good or better than NHL teams. ROC should repeat as Olympic Gold Medalists as the NHL is not allowing their players to compete meaning that the USA, Canada, Sweden, and Finland, as well as Russia will be without their best players, but Russia has more elite players in leagues other than the NHL, than any other nation.
  2. Finland: Finland has a very good mixture of players in all of the top leagues. In 2021, Finland lost in the World Championship Final to Canada in overtime. Given that Finland does not have as big of a drop-off and given that Finland won the 2019 World Championship and will be upset about that 2021 Final loss, Finland will probably be more focused than anyone else at the tournament and will have the skill and recent historical success and thus confidence to win the Olympic Gold! Finland has won two silvers and four bronze so this will be major for the Finnish people and nation if 3x World Champions Finland can pull through and win it all.
  3. Sweden: Sweden is very good and has a lot of their key players at the Olympics. However, Sweden boasts the third most amount of NHL players meaning that Sweden’s current team may not even be one of their top 3 versions. Sweden has been struggling as of late, having not gotten out of their 2021 World Championship Group Stage.
  4. Canada: Canada will be missing their NHL players, but will still be a favorite to win the Olympic Gold Medal, as a lot of good teams around the world have a Canadian on their team. But, Canada’s choice of players includes more collegiate players than needed which will hinder Canada’s chances against national teams with more professional level players. Canada are the defending World Champions (2021) and Olympic Bronze Medalists (2018).
  5. Switzerland: Switzerland features one of the best leagues, arguably #3 in the world, and all of Switzerland’s team plays in the Swiss League. The only issue is that Switzerland will be missing some key NHL players. This dependency on the skill set of their NHL players may make Switzerland very bad this Olympics.
  6. Germany: Germany are the defending Silver Medalists (2018) and are almost all German League players, another top league. Germany does very well when NHL players cannot play. Germany got 4th at the 2021 World Championship.
  7. USA: USA has put together a team with too many collegiate players. However, USA are the defending World Championship Third Place team (2021), and thus the Gold Medal is not out of the question. The drop-off to this team from their regular #1 team is tremendous.
  8. Czech Republic: Czech Republic did not do well last World Championship (for them), and that was with a team highly dependent on their NHL players. Czech Republic is usually really good, but does not look to be as close to their strongest as the others on this list.
  9. Slovakia: Slovakia is a really good ice hockey country and every now and then, they are the best. However, this year does not look like it will be their year. Their team would be #8 with Germany behind them if NHL players were allowed, but Slovakia does not have enough elite players given their size to truly compete without their best players like the USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, and Russia do.
  10. Latvia: Latvia has a talented national team, but will be without some players. If the NHL players could play, Latvia would still be #10. Latvia should be competitive, but probably will finish in 10th.
  11. Denmark: Denmark keeps getting better and better. However, the likelihood of Denmark winning the Gold Medal seems much less likely than it going to any of the other nations ahead of itself. Denmark is clearly the #10 or #11 national team, but could prove to be higher if they play well.
  12. PR China: Technically, all of PR China’s players play in the KHL for the Beijing/Shenzhen side in the KHL, but realistically most of the PR Chinese players do not play, or are naturalized per IIHF rules which allow players who have lived in a country for two years to play for them. PR China is currently #32 in the world. Last place is very expected. 

Nation: Olympic Gold, Silver, Bronze.

  • Canada: 9, 4, 3.
  • USA: 2, 8, 1.
  • Sweden 2, 3, 4.
  • Russia: 1, 1, 1.
  • Czech Republic: 1, 0, 1.
  • Finland: 0, 2, 4.
  • Germany: 0, 1, 1.
  • Switzerland: 0, 0, 2.
  • Soviet Union: 7, 1, 1.
  • Czechoslovakia: 0, 4, 4.
  • West Germany: 0, 0, 1.

Nation: World Championship Gold, Silver, Bronze.

  • Canada: 27, 15, 9
  • Sweden: 11, 19, 17
  • Czech Republic: 6, 1, 5
  • Russia: 5, 3, 5
  • USA: 2, 9, 9
  • Slovakia: 1, 2, 1
  • Switzerland: 0, 3, 8
  • Germany: 0, 1, 2
  • Soviet Union: 22, 7, 5
  • Czechoslovakia: 6, 12, 16
  • West Germany: 0, 1, 0

Groups: Every Nation makes it to the knockout rounds. Group winners and Best 2nd Place team get byes to the Quarter-finals.

Group A:

#1 Canada

#4 USA

#5 Germany

#32 PR China

Group B:

#3 ROC

#6 Czech Republic

#8 Switzerland

#12 Denmark

Group C:

#2 Finland

#7 Sweden

#9 Slovakia

#10 Latvia

2022 FIFA World Cup Updates after January-February 2022 Window

North America (CONCACAF):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Third Round/Octagonal Phase: The Top Three nations in the Group Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Fourth Place team advances to the Inter-Confederation Playoffs to play the Oceanian First Place nation in a one-leg playoff in Qatar for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee
  1. Canada: 11; 7-4-0; +14; 19-5; 25 (Assured of at least an Inter-Confederation Playoffs spot)
  2. USA: 11; 6-3-2; +9; 16-7; 21
  3. Mexico: 11; 6-3-2; +6; 14-8; 21
  4. Panama: 11: 5-2-4; +1; 14-13; 17
  5. Costa Rica: 11; 4-4-3; +1; 8-7; 16
  6. El Salvador: 11; 2-3-6; -7; 6-13; 9 (Can only earn an Inter-Condederation Playoff at most)
  7. Jamaica: 1-4-6; -7; 9-16; 7 (Eliminated)
  8. Honduras: 0-3-8; -17; 5-22; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

USA 1 El Salvador 0

Jamaica 1 Mexico 2

Honduras 0 Canada 2

Costa Rica 1 Panama 0

Canada 2 USA 0

Panama 3 Jamaica 2

Mexico 0 Costa Rica 0

Honduras 0 El Salvador 2

Jamaica 0 Costa Rica 1

USA 3 Honduras 0

El Salvador 0 Canada 2

Mexico 1 Panama 0

Analysis:

Canada: Canada has been improving a lot. But, it was not until the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup that this became realized. Canada finished sixth at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and fifth at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League. Finally, at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Canada broke through into North America’s Top 4, finishing fourth. It was from there that Canada knew they could Qualify for the World Cup. Since then, Canada have not lost a competitive match. Canada is on a six match winning streak. Canada is dominating North America and many see them as the best nation in North America right now. But, Canada needs to come back down to Earth. Canada has earned at the very least, a spot in the Inter-Confederation Playoffs. Plus, Canada is two points away from earning an automatic Qualification spot at the 2022 FIFA World Cup! This would be Canada’s second World Cup Qualification ever. Thus, Canada still has some work to do. Canada finishes with Costa Rica away, Jamaica at home, and Panama away. Canada’s best bet is to win against Jamaica at home. Their other matches will be extremely difficult to get a point in. Canada must also remember that the goal is not merely to Qualify. Canada has the talent to be a knockout round team, and given that Canada is a co-host for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the more momentum Canada can have going into it, the more likely Canada will be able to compete at the highest level come 2026. It may have been a long time ago, but Canada did once win Olympic Gold in this sport for the Men’s in 1904. Canada needs to keep reaching higher to fulfill their potential.

USA: USA had a disappointing 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup finishing second place, but has since won the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League and the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup to become the best North American team. However, their 1-0 win over El Salvador and 0-2 loss to Canada signaled a decline and change in #1 status in the region. Many people became worried about the lack of attacking ability of the USA. Luckily, the USA won 3-0 over Honduras to keep a healthy 4 point gap between them and fourth place Panama. The USA closes out with Mexico away, Panama at home, and Costa Rica away. Yet, as one can tell here, the USA is far from being safe for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification. All three matches are against nations that will still need to win, or feel like they need to win, in order to keep their 2022 FIFA World Cup dreams alive. The USA historically loses in Mexico and Costa Rica, but historically wins against Panama at home. USA should only need 3 points for automatic Qualification, and a win over Panama or Costa Rica would guarantee the USA a spot in the Inter-Confederation Playoffs at the very least. But, the USA does have the hardest schedule of any nation left. The USA will need to stay laser focused to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Furthermore, the USA like Mexico, needs to remember the importance of Qualifiers and that is to Qualify! Sure, Canada winning the series in Qualification may hurt USA’s pride, but in the end, all that matters is how well you do at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Plus, the USA beat Canada to trophies in North America. Canada is still without a trophy since the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The USA needs to focus on the bigger picture, which they did against Honduras. Still, the USA should try to win all their matches to receive a high ranking to possibly be the top team in a Group for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Mexico: Mexico won the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, but were still not satisfied as it seemed business as usual. Mexico had just been knocked out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 for the seventh time in a row! So, was Mexico improving, or simply staying stagnant? Well, Mexico would finish second place at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League and at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, losing in both finals to their archival, USA. Yet, all still seemed fine given that Mexico had beaten Canada. Usually, the Gold Cup switches hands every other time since the 2000s. It is just that an extra trophy was added into the mix. However, during the Qualification cycle, Canada has since won a series against Mexico, putting Mexican pride on the line. While Mexico is in a better position to Qualify than in 2014, Mexicans will not be happy to see the USA and Canada get the best of them. However, Mexico must remember that a World Cup spot is most important. Mexico has the historical series lead over every nation in CONCACAF by a mile. So, Mexico should be focusing more on what they have not been able to do and that is success in the knockout stages at the World Cup. As Mexico is playing right now, they need to improve their attacking to do so. Other than that, Mexico still would be a favorite in most groups to advance to the Round of 16. But, Mexico needs to Qualify first. Mexico plays the USA at home, Honduras away, and El Salvador at home to finish their Octagonal Round qualifiers. Mexico should be able to earn enough points for direct Qualification into the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

Panama: Panama has had a major set back this window losing twice and only winning once. Panama’s two losses came from 0-1 losses. That is not good. Panama needs to be scoring to be competitive at the highest levels as Panama’s defense is not known for being good. Panama’s remaining matches are Honduras at home, USA away, and Canada at home. Panama’s schedule is slightly easier than Costa Rica’s, but Costa Rica is peeking at the right time, while Panama is not. Panama will need to swing the momentum their way. Panama’s thirty-second place finish at their first World Cup in 2018 showed that any injuries to their squad would decimate their competitiveness. So far, Panama has shown a deeper lineup, but only in the Qualifications for the World Cup. In the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Panama finished seventh and ninth in 2019 and 2021 respectively, while finishing eighth at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League. Panama, however, is deceptively good because they have tied quality opposition like Serbia and Peru as of the last two years. Panama has the talent, but needs to put it altogether in these final three matches.

Costa Rica: Costa Rica had a successful January-February window winning two matches and drawing once. Their two wins were great as the Costa Ricans defeated Panama, the team currently ahead of them by 1 point, and Jamaica, the nation who many suspected would surpass them if they ever got their team playing up to their highest level. Costa Rica also drew away in Mexico, a very tough match for them indeed. Costa Rica’s last three matches will be tough though. Costa Rica plays Canada at home, El Salvador away, and USA at home. Costa Rica is coming off of a disappointing fourth place 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League finish and fifth place 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup finish. This is also following a 2018 FIFA World Cup Group Stage elimination. And even in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Costa Rica could only finish fifth. Thus, it had appeared that Costa Rica was going to get worse and worse as their players got older and less athletic, and therefore less able to keep up. Yes, that has been true for a lot of this Qualification cycle, but recently, Costa Rica has started to show experience and a right amount of youthful energy. If Costa Rica can finish fourth in the Octagonal, especially with their hard schedule left, this will clearly put Costa Rica as a favorite to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and to potentially get to the knockout rounds. The 2014 FIFA World Cup Quarter-finalists still have one of the best goalkeepers in the world to make this run, Keylor Navas.

El Salvador: El Salvador had a mixed bag January-Febuary Window. El Salvador has waited too long to start winning, but still has a very small chance to Qualify if El Salvador can win their last three matches and Panama and Costa Rica do not get to 19 points. El Salvador got a much needed win over Honduras, but lost to USA and Canada. El Salvador needed to win most likely two matches to keep within a realistic shot to Qualify, but now, will only have a very unrealistic shot to get an Inter-Confederation Playoff spot. Hugo Pérez’s coaching style is not attacking enough. El Salvador is not scoring at a high enough rate. In tournament play, his style can work as all you need to do is win once, and essentially tie the rest and you are good. But, in this Qualification phase which is practically a league format, you need three points. It would be better to win and lose than tie twice. Furthermore, El Salvador has only won once at home. That is abysmal given their rigorous home field advantage. El Salvador is doing well though to be Top 6. This is an improvement to earlier on in these past four years when El Salvador was knocked out of the Group Stage of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Where they stand currently will be enough to Qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, when the USA, Canada, and Mexico should already be automatically qualified, leaving three potential spots for North America. El Salvador will be expected to be this third team. El Salvador is coming off of a sixth place 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup finish and a 2019-2020 Division B CONCACAF Nations League Group first place finish to earn promotion to Division A. El Salvador can continue to improve, but needs to try to score more in the future in order to put up Qualification level performances, and in order to improve. El Salvador plays Jamaica away, Costa Rica at home, and Mexico away to finish their Octagonal qualifiers. Even if Qualification proves to be impossible, it will be extremely important for building a future for El Salvador to finish Top 6. It will give El Salvador an ability to dream to Qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

Jamaica: Jamaica’s scoring improved through this window until their last defeat at home to Costa Rica. Jamaica still lost all three matches, each by one goal. Jamaica has the talent to reach the World Cup and be competitive there, but Jamaica seems to not be able to do well in any competition that is not for CONCACAF. Jamaica is coming off of a Quarter-final 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and won their 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League Division B Group to earn promotion to Division A. Jamaica is a team in shambles having not been to a World Cup since 1998, despite getting to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final in 2015 and 2017. Jamaica is now eliminated. Jamaica plays El Salvador at home, Canada away, and Honduras at home to close out their Qualifiers.

Honduras: Honduras was outscored 0-7 in three matches this past window. Honduras lost by at least two goals to Canada, El Salvador, and the USA. Two of these losses were at home. Honduras must be ashamed of their team’s performance this past window as Honduras showed no ability to win. Honduras is a very capable team, but have been on a downhill streak ever since the last match of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group Stage. Now, Honduras has not won a competitive match since, going 0-3-10. Honduras was considered by many to be the #3 team of CONCACAF in June 2021, but now has pitfalled into the worst of the Top 8. Honduras is still coming off of a third place finish at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League and a Quarter-final 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup finish. However, Honduras also failed to advance out of their Group in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which should have been seen as a sign of things to come, instead of an anomaly. Honduras last made the 2014 World Cup, having been eliminated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Inter-Confederation Playoff with Australia, and having been eliminated in the Octagonal Final Round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Honduras needs to regroup to try to get one of three potential North American Qualification spots for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, not reserved for USA, Canada, and Mexico. Honduras will play away to Panama, home to Mexico, and away to Jamaica to close out their Qualifiers. Honduras was first to be eliminated from the Octagonal in this window.

South America (CONMEBOL):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Final Round: The Top Four nations in the Group Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Fifth Place team advances to the Inter-Confederation Playoffs, to play the Asian Fifth Place nation in a one-leg playoff in Qatar for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
Overall Goal Difference
Overal Goals For
Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

  1. Brazil: 15; 12-3-0; +27; 32-5; 39 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Argentina: 15; 10-5-0; +16; 23-7; 35 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  3. Ecuador: 16; 7-4-5; +10; 25-15; 25 (Assured of at a least an Inter-Confederation Playoff spot)
  4. Uruguay: 16: 6-4-6; -3; 19-22; 22
  5. Peru: 16; 6-3-7; -4; 19-23; 21
  6. Chile: 16; 5-4-7; -1; 19-20; 19
  7. Colombia: 16; 3-8-5; 16-19; 17
  8. Bolivia: 16; 4-3-9; -12; 23-35; 15 (Can only earn an Inter-Confederation Playoff spot at most)
  9. Paraguay: 16; 2-7-7; -14; 9-23; 13 (Eliminated)
  10. Venezuela: 16; 3-1-12; -16; 14-30; 10 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Ecuador 1 Brazil 1

Paraguay 0 Uruguay 1

Chile 1 Argentina 2

Colombia 0 Peru 1

Venezuela 4 Bolivia 1

Bolivia 2 Chile 3

Uruguay 4 Venezuela 1

Argentina 1 Colombia 0

Brazil 4 Paraguay 0

Peru 1 Ecuador 1

Analysis:

Brazil: Brazil has been the best South American national team since 2018. But, their performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and that of their South American compatriots saw a World Cup with no South American representatives in the semi-finals! This was considered a huge disappointment. In 2019, the Brazilians responded by winning the CONMEBOL Copa America, and then in 2021, the Brazilians would dominate only to lose the Final of the CONMEBOL Copa America. This brilliance of form has continued into 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers as Brazil Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, last window, and continued their lead at the top, drawing Ecuador away, and defeating Paraguay at home, this window. Brazil looks poised to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar with this form. Brazil plays home to Chile and away to Bolivia next. Brazil will look to keep their momentum and stay undefeated and at the top of CONMEBOL. But, Brazil must be careful not to hurt any of their players in their last match in Bolivia, especially if Bolivia still has an Inter-Confederation spot to play for.

Argentina: Argentina finished their 2018 FIFA World Cup as the sixteenth best team, a major disappointment for a side expected to reach the Final by many pundits. Argentina followed that up by an uninspiring third place finish at the 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America. However, since this, Argentina has been dominating, winning the 2021 CONMEBOL Copa America and having been Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup since last window. Argentina continued their dominance defeating Chile and Colombia, showing the depth Argentina now possesses. Argentina will play at home to Venezuela and away to Ecuador next. Like Brazil, they will want to stay undefeated and win this mega group. However, it is important for Argentina to continue to do more rotation, especially against Ecuador who may be playing for a Qualifying spot if Ecuador has not yet Qualified.

Ecuador: Ecuador did well enough to draw twice. Ecuador also has kept a relatively safe distance, with an assurance of achieving the Inter-Confederation playoffs at the very least. Ecuador plays away in Paraguay and home to Argentina next. It will not be easy, but a win for Ecuador should guarantee Ecuador an automatic Qualification spot. Ecuador has been doing a good job winning a lot, instead of drawing all the time. Ecuador should Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ecuador went through a rough patch, finishing eleventh and eighth in the 2019 and 2021 CONMEBOL Copa America, and not having qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This a chance for Ecuador to be on the world stage for the first time since 2014.

Uruguay: Uruguay was a favorite to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup following their Group Stage results and their brilliant display in the past two World Cups. But, the 2x World Cup Champions and 4x World Champions were not able to defeat the mighty French in the Quarter-finals. The Uruguayans have since been mediocre. Uruguay were knocked out of the 2019 and 2021 CONMEBOL Copa America in the Quarter-finals, and after last window, were on the outside looking in for Qualifiers. But, this past January-February window saw Uruguay win twice outscoring opposition 5-1. Uruguay closes out with Peru at home and Chile away. These two teams are still playing for a World Cup berth so these will not be easy matches. Uruguay really needs to win at least one of these two matches to keep their World Cup dreams alive. A win over Peru would guarantee Uruguay is at the very least, in the Inter-Confederation Playoffs.

Peru: Peru went through the Inter-Confederation Playoffs in 2018 Qualifiers to Qualify for their first World Cup since 1982. It seemed to be a fairytale, but once there, Peru was very competitive winning once and losing twice, in a group which featured France, Denmark, and Australia. Peru followed that performance up with losing in the 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America Final and finishing fourth in the 2021 edition. Peru has been performing well enough to make it to another FIFA World Cup in 2022, but will need to close out strong. Peru plays Uruguay away and Paraguay at home. 3 points should not be too difficult to get from these matches, but Peru may need more depending on how Chile does.

Chile: Two CONMEBOL Copa America Championships, two back to back Top 10 finishes at the FIFA World Cup, and finishing as the FIFA Confederations Cup runners-up in 2017 signaled that Chile was a top nation around the world, a favorite to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. But, on the last day of Qualifiers, Chile were eliminated! Chile had to sit out while their Golden Generation pondered how good they could have done. Now, Chile is trying to rebuild. Chile finished fourth place in 2019 and seventh place in 2021 at the CONMEBOL Copa America. Chile has since been very mediocre in Qualifiers, but a huge away win in Bolivia made Chile once again believe they could sneak into the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately for Chile though, they sit 2 points behind an Inter-Confederation Playoff spot, and Chile plays away to Brazil and home to Uruguay next. Chile has the hardest schedule remaining, and Chile will most likely need to win both matches to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Colombia: Colombia won their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group and then lost in penalty shootouts to England in the Round of 16. Colombia had a difficult 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America, finishing fifth place, but would finish third place in the 2021 edition. Colombia looked to be cementing their place as the fourth best South American side, and looked to be a shoe in to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, until this Qualifying window. Colombia lost twice, once at home and once away. This puts Colombia’s chances of Qualifying as very slim. They need either Uruguay or Peru, to not garner more than 23 points, which means that only one of them can win next window. Furthermore, Colombia needs two victories. Luckily for Colombia, their next two matches are Bolivia at home, and Venezuela away. It is extremely likely Colombia will win both of these two matches. But, it may not be enough if they do not get help from some others.

Bolivia: Bolivia had a really good opportunity to Qualify for the World Cup. They had Venezuela away and Chile at home, both very winnable matches. Bolivia squandered these matches, and now needs 6 points, plus Peru, Chile, and Colombia not to exceed 21 points. Peru is already at 21 points. Bolivia does play Colombia next, so if Bolivia wins that match, they will not have to worry about Colombia anymore. But, Bolivia’s other match is home to Brazil, meaning that Bolivia will have to be rooting for their own nation and against Peru, as there are basically 12 points needed just for Bolivia to be tied on points with Peru to make it to the Inter-Confederation Playoffs. However, it is even harder than that, because Chile is at 19 points, meaning that Chile cannot win a match either this next window for Bolivia to keep their chances alive. Thus, not only are 12 points on the line, but it is more like 16 points, because Chile may only draw at most, their next two matches. Still, this is significant improvement for Bolivia, considering that Bolivia finished last place in the 2019 and 2021 CONMEBOL Copa America. Bolivia is improving and to carry this momentum, it will be really good for Bolivia to win their next two matches, regardless of if they still have a chance to Qualify.

Paraguay: Paraguay is eliminated once again for the World Cup, this time in 2022. Paraguay has not Qualified for the World Cup since 2010 where Paraguay made it to the Quarter-finals. Paraguay did well in successive CONMEBOL Copa Americas finishing second in 2011 and fourth in 2015, but outside of this, Paraguay has been consistently toward the bottom of South America since their 2010 World Cup Quarter-final trip. Paraguay is coming off of two Quarter-final finishes in the 2019 and 2021 CONMEBOL Copa America and has already been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Paraguay needs to reevaluate their program or risk getting worse with time.

Venezuela: Venezuela has been playing like the worst nation in South America these whole Qualifiers, and were the first to be eliminated last window. But, Venezuela is still playing and got a big win over Bolivia at home. Venezuela does not see themselves as South America’s worst team, and most people do not. Venezuela finished seventh place and ninth place in the 2019 and 2021 CONMEBOL Copa America respectively. Venezuela had been improving a lot over the years. But, this Qualifying blunder has set back Venezuela many years. Venezuela is still the only CONMEBOL member to have never Qualified for the World Cup.

Teams Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Brazil
  • Argentina

Asia (AFC):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Third Round: The Group Winners and Group Runners-Ups qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Group Third Place teams advance to play each other in a two-leg home and away playoff in the Fourth Round, with the winner advancing to the Inter-Confederation Playoff, to play the South American Fifth Place nation in a one-leg playoff in Qatar for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. IR Iran: 8; 7-1-0; +11; 13-2; 22 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. South Korea: 8; 6-2-0; +9; 11-2; 20 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  3. UAE: 8; 2-2-3; 0; 6-6; 9 (Can only Advance to the Fourth Round at most)
  4. Lebanon: 8; 1-3-4; -3; 5-8; 6 (Can only Advance to the Fourth Round at most)
  5. Iraq: 8; 0-5-3; -7; 4-11; 5 (Can only Advance to the Fourth Round at most)
  6. Syria: 8; 0-2-6; -10; 5-15; 2 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Lebanon 0 South Korea 1

IR Iran 1 Iraq 0

UAE 2 Syria 0

Lebanon 1 Iraq 1

Syria 0 South Korea 2

IR Iran 1 UAE 0

Analysis:

IR Iran: IR Iran Qualified for their third World Cup in a row, and so far, each time, IR Iran has gotten better. In 2014, IR Iran went 0-1-2 and finished last in their Group. In 2018, IR Iran went 1-1-1 finishing in third place in their Group, 1 point away from being tied for first place. IR Iran has looked better this World Cup Qualifiers as they are still defending very well, but are now scoring a lot. IR Iran had a good AFC Asia Cup finishing in third place in 2019. IR Iran looks well equipped to be a side that can reach the knockout rounds in 2022. IR Iran will play South Korea away next, followed by Lebanon at home.

South Korea: South Korea has Qualified for their tenth World Cup in a row! South Korea did not have a good start to these last 4 years, as South Korea finished fifth in the AFC Asia Cup and were not doing very well in Qualifiers. But, South Korea turned that around. South Korea is currently on a 13 match unbeaten run. South Korea finishes with IR Iran at home and UAE away. South Korea finished with an impressive win over Germany in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and will look to get out of the Group Stage for 2022.

UAE: The UAE had a good AFC Asia Cup, earning fourth place. But, they were dominated by Qatar in the semi-finals. In the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, UAE made it to the Quarter-finals, only to be destroyed by Qatar 0-5. The UAE has been doing well in tournaments, outside of playing Qatar. But, the UAE is not doing well against good teams in Qualifiers. The UAE is not winning as much. The UAE revamped their team with new naturalized players for the first time, which helped their attack. But, it still has only produced against teams below them. UAE had a good win over Syria, but followed that up with a shutout defeat against IR Iran. The UAE finishes with Iraq away and South Korea at home. These two matches will not be easy. The UAE is only 3 points ahead of Lebanon for the third place spot in the Group. Most likely, the UAE will need at least 3 points, and a no defeats more than 1 goal, to stay in third place.

Lebanon: Lebanon finished seventeenth in the 2019 AFC Asia Cup and finished tenth in the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Lebanon has not been good enough, but they have stayed in contention for the third place spot. Lebanon is still searching for their first World Cup Qualification. Lebanon finishes with Syria at home, and IR Iran away. Lebanon should be able to get at least 3 points from these last two matches, but anything more than 4 points would be unexpected.

Iraq: Iraq finished eleventh at the 2019 AFC Asia Cup, and finished in third place in their Group at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Iraq does not look particularly strong, but are hanging onto a little hope at Qualifying for the World Cup. While Iraq is 4 points back from third place in the Group, Iraq still has a good chance, probably even better than Lebanon. Iraq plays home to the UAE, and away against Syria. Both of these matches are manageable to win. If Iraq wins both of these, most likely, they will finish third place in this Group, as the UAE has a very difficult match at home against South Korea. While the South Koreans may already be Qualified, there is no knowing which South Korea will show up, but FIFA rankings are still on the line, as is pride, and a spot on the 2022 World Cup roster.

Syria: Syria has been eliminated. It has not been good Qualifiers for Syria, especially after advancing to the Fourth Round in the 2018 Qualifiers. Syria has gotten worse, which is not good for what had appeared to be steady improvement. Syria finishes with a home match against Lebanon and an away match against Iraq. Both of these opposition are rivals. Syria had a bad 2019 AFC Asia Cup finishing last in their Group and finished their 2021 FIFA Arab Cup in third place in their Group.

Group B:

  1. Saudi Arabia: 8; 6-1-1; +5; 10-5; 19 (Assured of at least a Fourth Round advancement)
  2. Japan: 8; 6-0-2; +6; 9-3; 18 (Assured of at least a Fourth Round advancement)
  3. Australia: 8; 4-3-1; +9; 15-6; 15 (Assured of at least a Fourth Round advancement)
  4. Oman: 8; 2-2-4; -2; 8-10; 8 (Eliminated)
  5. PR China: 8; 1-2-5; -8; 8-16; 5 (Eliminated)
  6. Vietnam: 8; 1-0-7; -10; 7-17; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Australia 4 Vietnam 0

Japan 2 PR China 0

Saudi Arabia 1 Oman 0

Japan 2 Saudi Arabia 0

Vietnam 3 PR China 1

Oman 2 Australia 2

Analysis:

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia may be the best nation in Asia right now. Saudi Arabia is leading the toughest Group at the top. However, Saudi Arabia lost their first match of this round last match, losing 0-2 away in Japan. Saudi Arabia needs 3 points to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Their final two matches are away against PR China and at home against Australia. Neither of these two will be easy, but regardless, Saudi Arabia is guaranteed at least a third place finish in their Group. Saudi Arabia is coming off of a twenty-sixth place 2018 FIFA World Cup, a twelfth place 2019 AFC Asia Cup, and a Group Stage knockout in the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Saudi Arabia had not been great in other competitions, except the Qualifiers. Saudi Arabia is expected to get at the very least, two points from their last two matches. A point against Australia will ensure Saudi Arabia Qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Japan: Japan had a bad start to this round, but have come back strong. Japan is assured a spot in the Fourth Round at the very least, and is currently in a spot to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, 3 points ahead of the third place team. Japan had a great January-February window, and is now a favorite to Qualify. Japan plays Australia next in Australia, followed by a home match against Vietnam. Japan’s victory over Saudi Arabia suggests that Japan can close out with a win over both of these nations. The 2019 AFC Asia Cup runners-up only need one point each, from these next two matches to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. A win over Australia would also secure this Qualification.

Australia: The Socceroos are assured of at least a third place finish in this Group, meaning they will not have worry about elimination. However, given that the Fourth Round winner in Asia will have to play the Fifth best South American side in the Inter-Confederation Playoffs, Australia will seek to Qualify directly. To do this, Australia has a very good chance. Australia will most likely need to win their next two matches, and if they do, goal difference should secure their spot at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Australia has not been the most impressive over the last four years, but has stayed toward the top of Asia, finishing in the Quarter-finals of the 2019 AFC Asia Cup. Australia plays Japan at home and Saudi Arabia away to close out their Third Round.

Oman: Oman did not play well enough these past two windows, and thus have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Still, Oman has been building into a better national team over the last four years, and can use these last two Qualifiers for momentum into the 2023 AFC Asia Cup. Oman plays in Vietnam and home to PR China next. Oman is coming off of a Round of 16 2019 AFC Asia Cup appearance and a Quarter-final 2021 FIFA Arab Cup appearance.

PR China: PR China closed out their 2018 World Cup Qualifiers on a very good note. But, PR China have stagnated in these Qualifiers. PR China finished sixth at the 2019 AFC Asia Cup, but besides that, PR China will feel like they have gotten worse. However, PR China can still close out well to achieve a better ranking. PR China plays Saudi Arabia at home and Oman away next.

Vietnam: Vietnam had a big win over PR China to give Vietnam their first win in this Round this Qualifiers. Vietnam looks to be improving, but maybe not quite as fast as their fans would hope. Vietnam made it to the 2019 AFC Asia Cup Quarter-finals. Vietnam closes out with a home match against Oman and an away match against Japan.

Host Nation Update:

Qatar: Qatar did not play any friendlies this window. Their latest competition was in the FIFA Arab Cup where they finished third place. Qatar did not play as well as they should have given that Algeria beat them and was not using their main team. Qatar has been staying competitive, but have not improved this past year much, at least not since the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup where they finished third. They finished tenth at the 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America and won the 2019 AFC Asia Cup.

Teams Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Qatar (Host Nation)
  • IR Iran
  • South Korea

Rest of Continental Confederations did not have Qualifying Windows between January and February 2022:

Europe (UEFA):

Second Round:

The Second Round will feature twelve nations divided into three paths. Each path will feature one-leg semi-finals and a one-leg Final. The winners of each Final will Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The venues are already pre-determined.

Home Team Away Team:

Path A:

Wales verse Austria

Scotland verse Ukraine

Final to be played at the winner of the Wales verse Austria match.

Path B:

Russia verse Poland

Sweden verse the Czech Repulic

Final to be played at the winner of the Russia verse Poland match.

Path C:

Portugal verse Turkey

Italy verse North Macedonia

Final to be played at the winner of the Portugal verse Turkey match

Teams Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Spain
  • Serbia
  • England
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands

Africa (CAF):

Third Round:

The Third Round will feature each team paired with one other team in a two-leg home and away tie. The winners of these ties will Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Second Home Team First Home Team:

Senegal verse Egypt

Algeria verse Cameroon

Nigeria verse Ghana

Morocco verse DR Congo

Tunisia verse Mali

Oceania (OFC):

Final Round:

The Final Round will feature eight nations that have not pulled out of the World Cup Qualifiers yet and are FIFA and OFC members. All matches will be played in Qatar. These eight nations will be divided between two groups of four teams each. Each team will play the other teams in their Group once. The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout round. Each Group winner will play the other Group’s second place team in the one-leg semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals will meet in the one-leg Final. The winner of the Final will advance to the Inter-Confederation Playoffs to play the North American fourth place nation in a one-leg playoff in Qatar for one of the last two spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. Soloman Islands
  2. Tahiti (French Polynesia)
  3. Vanuatu
  4. Cook Islands

Group B:

  1. New Zealand
  2. New Caledonia
  3. Fiji
  4. Papua New Guinea

Crisis Averted?

Sovereign Knights of Malta (SMOM) Grand Chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager, has confirmed in a letter that the Holy See’s representative cardinal, Cardinal Tomasi, has met both himself and the Order’s nominated leader for the new constitutional reform committee, Marwan Sehnaoui, on Friday 28 January.

Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager and the leadership of SMOM have agreed to revisions of a draft constitution, which should mean that SMOM has preserved their sovereignty.

According to Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager, the leadership was able to communicate to the top levels of the Holy See this past week, and were able to discuss the misunderstandings and have received assurances that the Holy See in no way wishes to usurp or take away the Order’s sovereignty or internal self-governance. These assurances, or at least some assurances, came from Pope Francis himself.

The Order’s new constitution will deal mainly with the structure of the religious component of the Order, in addition to changing the internal government structure and position eligibility and responsibilities. However, it will not take away from the Order’s ability to self-govern and be sovereign in the temporal sphere.

The important thing to note is that SMOM must agree to these changes, and that the Holy See has merely been devolved to settle internal disputes within the Order, at least that is the way it is being put forth now, as well as the way it was meant to be completed.

The next dates for the next two day meeting on the Order’s new constitution will be 22 and 23 February 2022, later next month.

Marwan Sehnaoui has been confirmed as the Order’s representative for next month’s meetings. He was not allowed in the meetings earlier this week by Cardinal Tomasi.

It is still yet to be seen if these developments will prove true, but for now, crisis has definitely been averted, as least the major crisis anyway dealing with the sovereignty of SMOM.

Furthermore, Cardinal Tomasi has given an interview himself. He has confirmed in this meeting that the sovereignty and self-governance is in no way up to debate with this new constitution and that the questionable wording of the leaked draft has been removed.

As for Cardinal Tomasi, the changes will mainly have to do with a few things: opening up the Order’s top levels to Americans, non-nobility, and the non-religious, combating the push by some to make SMOM a more secular order, and to make the Holy See representatives and clergy members more influential in guiding each member’s and the Order’s religious journey.

Some of the top levels, like Grand Master (Head of State), will no longer need to be from six generations of nobility opening the door for more Americans and others who often lack noble background to lead the Order. The top levels lack of a religious component means a lack of someone who has taken religious vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. They will need to be Catholic, but will just not need to have taken religious vows. The Grand Master and Grand Commander will need to stay members who have taken religious vows however. It is yet to be determined which positions will need to stay by those who take religious vows, and which will be open up to all members regardless of religious vows status. Cardinal Tomasi refers to this as opening up the leaders of SMOM to more competency, or in other words, to members with expertise in a given relevant field.

Many in the German Association have been pushing for the Order to be more secular like a NGO. Cardinal Tomasi viewed this as absolutely wrong and contrary to the Catholic Tradition and humility of the Order. The Order’s new constitution will address this and make the Order even more Catholic.

With so much internal debates about how to properly administer aid in the most Catholic way, and in other topics with regards to how best to govern SMOM according to the Catholic Church’s teachings, the clergy in the Order, as well as the Holy See’s representative will need to guide the Order more to solve these disputes and make these never happen again, at least not to the extent that it did. For Cardinal Tomasi, it is quite simple, the Order just needs to follow what the Pope says and the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith states, when it comes to its religious policies.

As for the topic surrounding the Associations and how they handle their own internal governance and property, Cardinal Tomasi stated how he agreed with the decentralization of the Order and that each association should handle their property and their members as they wish, so long as they are doing so following the Catholic Faith. In order to accomplish this feat of decentralization while staying Catholic, the Order’s central leadership will need to have oversight over these associations to prove they are operating within their Catholic Faith.

It is difficult to know how genuine these confirmations are. Time will tell of course. But, as things stand, this is a victory for the Holy See and SMOM, and furthermore, the Holy See now looks good to Catholics with this knowledge.

The Holy See and SMOM are victorious because SMOM will preserve its sovereignty, at the very least for now. The Holy See’s sovereignty status thus remains intact via precedents with SMOM’s sovereignty staying intact. Both are landless and sovereign (effectively landless sovereign-states).

The Holy See looks good now too as Cardinal Tomasi denied many of these accusations of him trying to usurp SMOM’s sovereignty, as well as him creating hostile relations with certain high ranking officials of SMOM. While Cardinal Tomasi did acknowledge that the draft that seemed to make SMOM not sovereign any longer was real at one point, he clearly articulated it no longer is in circulation and has been removed for a long time.

Furthermore, by making it known that the impetus, or a main impetus for removing noble prerequisites for the Order has to do with opening up the leadership more for Americans, it will make the more traditional nobles content, as they want to see traditional conservative Catholics at the top, and American Catholics are more conservative on Catholic stances on average than a lot of their counterparts in Europe, most notably the German Catholics. This shows that the SMOM wishes to have noble-like people in their actions and beliefs, rather than noble people who do not display these attributes of nobility like many of the German Knights.

The Holy See also appeared more religious by displaying that they really seek to make SMOM more formally religiously Catholic and seek to stop any attempts at secularizing or not following Church teachings. While religious vows for some high positions may no longer be mandatory, this is portrayed not as a loss of religiosity of the Order, rather an opening to more regular lay members who are strong in their faith, making members who are married with kids living a regular life from a regular upbringing, but who possess noble traits and strong Catholic conviction eligible for high positions. This is also supposed to allow various experts in topics SMOM focuses on to be in charge of different divisions of SMOM concerning these topics.

But, the Mission Accomplished Banners cannot be put up yet for the Crusader State as SMOM still has to go through the 22 and 23 February meetings, as well as future endeavors.

Cardinal Tomasi, if genuine, outlines that it was really scare tactics, pettiness, and dishonest leakings by SMOM that has led to this point, with pettiness being in reference to the internal squabbling of the Order. Cardinal Tomasi also outlines that he seeks to solidify even more, the Catholic identity and guidance within the Order.

However, if not genuine, which I do believe is the case with Cardinal Tomasi for his minimization of his previous draft constitution, Cardinal Tomasi could simply just be playing into what SMOM wants to hear. After all, Cardinal Tomasi completely downplayed how he and Pope Francis would have led SMOM to lose their sovereignty if it were not for unapproved leaks that caused the backlash forcing these plans to no longer be promoted.

SMOM Knights need to be prepared like any other sovereign-state to defend their sovereignty because the battle is not yet over, nor will it ever truly be. If the Holy See is not trying to take away the Knights’ sovereignty, surely someone else will. While these battles may take place on the diplomatic front instead of in a physical war, it is still nonetheless a battle this ancient Catholic Order must be ready to fight for.

For now, Pope Francis has done what is best for the Holy See, the Church, and Catholics, while the leaders of SMOM have done what is best for SMOM, the Church, and Catholics too. And, what is best for SMOM is to remain sovereign which enables the Holy See’s claim to a separate sovereignty from the Vatican City State more legitimate, as well as the Vatican City State’s claim to sovereignty.

Crisis has been averted for now. This is a good start to a better foreign policy stance by Pope Francis with regards to SMOM and the betterment of the Church and its Members.

Pope Francis, Please Listen to your Most Faithful on the Sovereign Knights of Malta

It was 20 September 1870 when the Papal States fell to the Kingdom of Italy in Rome, cementing the end to territorial rule of the Pope until 1929.


Since that moment, that very event has been met with sourness from many Catholics who continue to seek more land under the Church to defend against the onslaught of regimes who have fought against the right to life, have diminished the meaning of God in their societal structures, and oftentimes, whenever their population so desires, have tried to dismantle the religious freedom of the Church. 


While all of this is deeply troubling indeed, there is, in fact, one such thing the Fall of the Papal States has positively provided the Catholic Church with, and that is permanent sovereign legitimacy. 


During the Prisoner of the Vatican, the Holy See would continue to act as a sovereign entity sending diplomats all over the world, with control over its internal governance, and with the understanding that regardless of territorial possession, the Holy See would remain distinctively sovereign forever, securing the ultimate religious liberty needed in an increasingly secular world. 


Thus, the Catholic Church had found their ultimate power in international law, and that is to distinguish any territory the Pope rules over from the Holy See.


Therefore, since the 1929 Lateran Treaty, the Pope has been sovereign over two distinctively sovereign entities: the Holy See and the Vatican City State. The Vatican City State provides the Pope, as Sovereign of the Vatican City State, with territorial sovereignty, while the Holy See provides the Pope with the guarantee that no matter what happens to the Vatican City State, the Pope will remain sovereign.


This same freedom the Holy See possesses is a freedom the Sovereign Knights of Malta possesses, and that is the ability of these knights to have sovereignty without land. They, too, lost their territorial sovereignty, in 1798, but so far, they have kept their sovereignty. And, given this very fact, they have been able to preserve the freedoms of their order, much akin to the Holy See. 


Yet, increasingly, many anti-Catholic organizations have been seeking to erode the Holy See’s distinctive sovereignty as well as the Sovereign Knights of Malta’s due to this landless nature.


And this is exactly why the Holy See needs to preserve the Sovereign Knights of Malta’s sovereignty for religious freedom. 


By having three sovereign entities, it means the Catholic Church has their sovereignty held up in three entities instead of one. These three entities are able to promote the Catholic Church and humanitarian diplomacy in all countries, in many organizations like the United Nations and INTERPOL, and now, sports too! 

If the Catholic Church were to ever become illegal in a country, or if their faithful ever needed help, one of these three entities could use their embassies (apostolic nuncios), immunity, and citizenship to provide protection under international law.


It is a lot less risky for the Catholic Church to have three sovereign entities as the likelihood of the three losing sovereignty is already low, let alone all three. It is akin to putting your money in multiple banks instead of just one. And thus, by having three, you preserve a greater ability to extend your reach around the world.


And that is why for the Holy See’s self-interest, preserving the Sovereign Knights of Malta’s sovereignty should be unquestionably a foreign policy directive of Pope Francis. 
Now, the internal governance of the order is another topic. I personally would prefer for the status quo of the Sovereign Knights of Malta to continue, but as long as this historic order remains sovereign, it will be a win for the Catholic Church. If the Pope really wants to take it over, he should seek to make it a personal union with the Holy See where he is Sovereign of the Knights of Malta too, similar to his ex officio role with the Vatican City State, that way it can remain distinctively independent. Another interesting ploy would be to have the Grand Master and the Pope be co-monarchs, similar to Andorra’s co-principality status. There are many ways the Pope can centralize control of the order without taking away its sovereignty. However, part of the Order’s allure and its sovereign ability to diplomatically go into many nations is tied to its apolitical nature and independence, so it really is best if they keep a separate Head of State elected internally.


Whether the Pope listens to those who care about the Catholic Church the most is up to him. If I were the Sovereign Knights of Malta, I would be prepared to use my treaties with the Italian Republic to force the Holy See to stop meddling in their own internal affairs, as the Holy See’s guaranteed territory of the Vatican City State is predicated on the Holy See staying politically neutral. While it is important for the Sovereign Knights of Malta to have their religious part subject to the Pope as spiritual sovereign, and thus the Holy See to preserve its religious obedience to the Catholic Church, it should never subject their temporal sovereignty to the Holy See or any other entity.

Proponents of a Stronger European Union should Explore an EU National Cricket Team!

The European Union (EU) is a confederation of independent sovereign states that for a long time has been edging ever closer to a federation like the United States of America. This is especially true post 2009 Lisbon Treaty!

Flag of the European Union
Map of the European Union by S. Solberg J.

While EU Federalism is not something I personally am necessarily for, it is something that many of the main leaders of the EU are for. And, many of the main leaders who are not for an EU Federal State are still for greater EU unification or a “stronger Europe”, such that there is more EU security forces, like a larger, more united military apparatus, and a potential EU Army. In fact, this is what the EU Commission President exactly wants!

Now, what does any of this have to do with cricket?

Well, cricket is a sport that is very unique. See, in most sports, national teams are reserved for sovereign states like the USA, India, and Australia, dependencies like Puerto Rico, Anguilla, and Bermuda, and other administrative integral divisions of states, like Hong Kong and Scotland. The British Isles are usually the one exception to the rule, as often times, Ireland competes as a combined national team, as both the Republic of Ireland’s and Northern Ireland’s representative. Once in while, you may see a representative of two split nations compete like a unified Korea team, in addition to the Irish phenomenon. But, outside of the confusing national teams of the British Isles and the once in a while, unified team of a South and North Korea, or of a place like East and West Germany back in the day, the convention generally follows above, except in cricket!

In international cricket, one of the best and most historical national teams does not fall into any of these categories! This national team is the West Indies, often referred to as a multination national team, became one national team in the 1880s, and then would become part of the ICC in 1926. While the West Indies did not exist as an actual entity yet, the name became synonymous with the British dependencies in the Americas with exception to Canada, who were all located in or on the Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico, besides Bermuda. But, eventually, it did become an actual entity as The West Indies Federation from 1958-1962. The West Indies Federation was a British Dependency that united all the British West Indian/Caribbean/American (besides Canada) dependencies into a federated dependency, however The Bahamas, Bermuda, Belize, Guyana, and the British Virgin Islands did not join for various political reasons. The UK created it so that this federation could become an independent sovereign state, but this federation would crumble within 4 years. After this, many of these previously separate colonies would become separate again under the UK, until they either gained their independence, or stayed dependencies. Some dependencies actual split from the colony they were a part of to stay a UK dependency instead of becoming independent like the other part of their colony.

But, with this division, the West Indies National Cricket Team continued to play, and other efforts to make the West Indies united pursued. Currently, the successor to this united West Indies entity would be the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a confederation or political union of many independent sovereign states and dependencies in the Caribbean, not just unique to the former and current British dependencies either. However, this West Indies National Cricket Team does not represent CARICOM, but is considered an institution of CARICOM. And, part of the reason this is, is not only does the national team not share the same name as the political union, but it also does not include all its members like The Bahamas, and includes some that are not members like the US Virgin Islands.

CARICOM Flag; Based on image at caricom.org/symbols-of-regional-integration/
CARICOM Map: Carport – File:BlankMap-World-Microstates.svg data from en:Caribbean Community (Dark Green = Full Members, Kelly Green = Associate Member, and Army Green = Observers)

The West Indies National Cricket Team represents Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten , St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US Virgin Islands.

Map of Member Nations of the West Indies National Cricket Team (credit: Mapeh – Own work. Based on: The English Wikipedia’s “West Indies cricket team” article (revision 1000955049). Mapa del Caribe (límites marinos).svg by Milenioscuro (CC-BY-SA-3.0).)

Usually, these nations all have their own separate national teams, but not in cricket. However, to their credit, they do sometimes compete independently in cricket competitions, such as the Commonwealth Games, and lower levels of the sport like Twenty20 matches. Nonetheless, in the major competitions, you will see the West Indies playing under a special flag for the West Indies:

Flag of Cricket West Indies (credit: Cricket West Indies)

And, the West Indies used to not be alone either! There used to be an East Africa National Cricket Team from 1966-1989 representing Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia, which was replaced by the East and Central Africa National Cricket Team until 2003. This latter multinational national team included Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The West Africa National Cricket Team also existed from 1976-2003 representing Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.

So, it appears that Cricket has formalized the idea of a regional multinational national team!

And henceforth, this brings about an interesting idea for the European Union to support, and for the International Cricket Council to approve, which is an EU National Cricket Team.

The European Union consists of 27 members states, 2 of which are very high level cricket playing nations, The Netherlands and Ireland (via the Irish combined team). There are other good nations in the membership as well, such as Germany and Italy, but these nations and especially the others do not really have that good of a shot to compete at the highest levels.

Here are the rankings for context: https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/womens/overview and https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/mens/overview.

Thus, from a competition perspective, it would be a really good idea for the European Union to compete under one national team so the member states could experience more victories in cricket.

And, when we look at the benefits for strengthening the European Union, and uniting it more into a more federal-like state, having a united national team in a sport would do wonders to gain popular support, especially in cricket, as cricket is one of the world’s most popular and richest sports, meaning that winning in cricket would be considered a major success across the world and in the EU!

A quick look at South Africa would suffice to show how national teams can bring about unity. At the end of apartheid, whether recognized or not, there existed in effect, 8 different entities: South Africa for White South Africans, Transkei for Black Xhosa South Africans, Ciskei also for Black Xhosa South Africans, Bophuthatswana for Black Tswana South Africans, and Venda for Black Venda South Africans were all considered separate independent sovereign states by South Africa, while KwaZulu for Black Zulu South Africans, Lebowa for Northern Sotho speaking Black South Africans, and QwaQwa for Black Sesotho South Africans were considered autonomous areas under South Africa. Whether recognized or not, these entities effectively were a division of South Africa until 1994. While these can in no way act as a comparison to the European Union in terms of the heavy amount of human rights violations committed during Apartheid South Africa, nonetheless, it does compare to the extent that like the EU, South Africa had been divided between many ethnic groups. Yet, in order to bring the country together, once all these separate divisions seized to exist after 1994, the newly elected President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, decided to embrace sport for uniting South Africa together. In fact, it was the prospects of having a South Africa at the World Cup in Rugby Union that brought many White South Africans who were pro-Apartheid to embrace this new era. And thus, President Nelson Mandela would support the Springboks, South Africa’s Rugby Union Football National Team which brought all the Black and White South Africans together to root for a common team. This feeling of togetherness has come about a lot in South Africa via sports, especially when the country does well in a sport or hosts a major tournament like the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Yet, this story of uniting a nation through national teams is not unique to South Africa by any means! In fact, you can find many more stories here: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/02/north-and-south-korea-have-shown-us-the-unifying-power-of-sport/.

And, they have even done studies on this from Sub-Saharan African association football national teams at the African Cup of Nations and how it has the ability to reduce ethnic tensions and separate identity identification, to many others including the Caribbean itself. In fact, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has noticed that not only does the West Indies National Cricket Team bring about more unity among the community, and thus greater integration, but it also helps with the psyche of what it means to be a West Indian. For the Caribbean population, the game of cricket and the West Indies’ success has made all ethnic groups closer as they see that together, they can have pride from their successes that other nations often cannot match.

While this latter point may not make too much of a difference to the European Union members, because their individual national teams in other sports are already winning World Championships and Olympic Gold Medals across many sports, and their member nations are often among the richest, most successful, and historically great countries of all-time, thus rendering greater European morale something trivial, the former point is very important, which is that for CARICOM, the West Indies National Cricket Team has encouraged integration.

The European Union has divisions among the East and the West of the union, among the people pushing for less centralization and more centralization, among those who want it to be a federation and those who want it to not exist any more, among those who want to increase Christian religiosity and those who seek a very secular union, and many more divisions such as the divisions within each member state like the French and Flemish communities in Belgium and Catalonia in Spain.

But, if the leaders of the EU want to push for a more centralized EU state and/or a more federalized EU state, then these leaders should really embrace something that can unite the union, and that might just be to have a unified national cricket team.

It is true, that most likely, in other sporting federations like FIFA, FIBA, or even in the Olympics, the thought of a combined EU National Team would be met with much uproar and would almost certainly not be approved, unless the EU itself would become a federation first. And, furthermore, in sports like association football and basketball, or most others like team handball, ice hockey, volleyball, etcetera, these national teams carry such history and so much pride of their nations that the thought of these nations losing their treasured basketball or football national teams to an EU National Team that included their fierce rivals would undoubtedly be met with swift opposition and disapproval, and their leaders would most likely stop this from happening.

But, in cricket, outside of Ireland and The Netherlands, would really any other nations be that upset to unite into an EU super team? I highly doubt it! And would the ICC allow it? Well the truth is, we do not know, but the fact is that the ICC would be the sporting federation most likely to allow this, and if precedent means anything, the ICC would most likely allow this.

And this is what I would suggest for this to happen.

First, the European Union should have a combined professional league, in which each member nation can have a team within the league system, like County Cricket in England and Wales, or like how each cricket board in the Caribbean is represented in the Caribbean Premier League and other West Indian competitions. Yes, there will most likely have to be promotion and relegation between a two or three tiered league system, but this could work. What is great about this too, is that it will show how uniting leagues could create a super cricket league in Europe, something as individual nations, no members could do, not even mighty Ireland and The Netherlands. The good news for this, is that it has already been created, in a different way! The European Cricket League exists since 2019 as a UEFA Champions League or Euroleague like tournament for European club cricket teams. Now, to be clear, this European league represents the continent and not the union and also is not in the format I would suggest. Instead, I would create an additional league for European Union members, in which each member nation can combine resources to create a domestic league with tiers. There can be qualification into this league like in many of the regional basketball leagues in Europe like the Adriatic Basketball Association, thus ensuring existing clubs can compete in this. Or it could be all new teams in a franchise system like the Indian Premier League. I think this latter one makes more sense, and it can be in Twenty20 format. The traditional clubs would continue to play in their other competitions.

Then, I would keep the separate member nations competing as separate national teams in the European Cricket Championships, which would allow more competitions and would allow each nation to continue to compete on their own in at least one competition. The EU National Cricket Team would then compete outside of this in Worldwide competitions and Qualifiers.

Just like with the West Indies National Cricket Team, nations should be able to opt out of the EU national team. We have seen this with the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as the fact that The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, and others do not compete under the West Indies. This setup would be similar to many of the groups EU members can choose or choose not to be a part of (at least temporarily) from the Schengen Area to the Eurozone to name two. This will ensure that nations that wish to play as their own national cricket teams will be able to, thus fighting the prospects that some nations could be so against this idea that their Eurosceptic politicians could use this as a fear tactic to basically say, “they want to erase your national sovereignty starting with sports”. This means really good nations like Ireland and The Netherlands can keep their team, as surely they will want to. All the EU National Cricket Team will be is an opportunity for EU member nations to join and compete together if they want to.

And, maybe, what could be done is that different levels of the sport the EU could compete together and separately. Like, maybe, the EU competes in ODI, but not in Twenty20 Internationals for example.

The opportunities are endless for European Union Integrationists to use cricket to their advantage and increase EU integration by developing their own national team.

And, if the EU becomes really good, this would increase not only the popularity of cricket, but also the money in cricket. With the USA becoming better in cricket and bigger in cricket, this means that the EU becoming better and bigger in cricket too would mean that the world’s two largest economies would be big cricket nations (or multinations for the EU), something that has not happened for a long time, if ever. Given that cricket is in a unique spot that could actually embrace an EU National Team, this would be a highly successful venture for cricket. The EU on average is rich too, which means that the more individuals that are drawn to cricket, on a median basis, would actually equal lots of money into cricket. Imagine if 447 million people that are very wealthy tune into and buy merchandise for the Cricket World Cup! That is good for ICC overall. In fact, the European Union could host a cricket world cup sometime, which would do wonders for the sport.

Thus, as you can see, there is a huge advantage for cricket if they can bring in the European Union, and the best way to do that might be to make the European Union into a national cricket team, thus able to compete with full members better so that they can draw in more EU viewership into tournaments due to their participation in various events. And, for the European Union Integrationists who wish to see a closer and more united EU, and possibly even a federated EU, having a cricket national team will bring all member nations closer and help create EU solidarity and an EU identity. If the EU does well, it can help solidify the idea that the EU is stronger together.

Whether this happens or not will not bring about a demise of the EU Integrationists’ hopes, or the ICC, or cricket in Europe, but bringing about an EU National Cricket Team might make the EU Integrationists’ dreams come true, bring about a lot more revenue and popularity for the ICC, and could spur significant growth into cricket across Europe! Therefore, people that strive for more EU integration should explore these possibilities and try to establish an EU National Cricket Team!

*** This article is not advocating for the EU to be a federation or one national cricket team, rather it is only stating that for people who seek a more united, centralized, stronger, and potentially federalized EU, that they should support the creation of an EU National Cricket Team. Furthermore, it is also stating that an EU National Cricket Team would most likely bring in more money and more popularity into cricket, hence why the ICC would be smart to approve for monetary and popularity reasons. But, it must be stated this could be a can of worms, and in fact, I believe that super regional and confederation national teams can be an abuse on the system, as a national team should have to represent a sovereign state, dependency, or administrative division of a sovereign state or dependency, and maybe, a region within a country, if not done for pure competitive gain. A national team should represent something that exists without the national team competing. Nonetheless, given that the ICC already opened these can of worms with the West Indies being a member, the European Union would actually be much less of a can of worms and thus would not change the status quo much and open another can of worms.

USA 🇺🇸 Cricket 🏏 is on the Rise!

The USA Men’s National Cricket Team may have had their last 3 matches of a 5 match series with Ireland canceled, but nonetheless, the USA Men’s National Cricket Team made great strides this past Ireland series that they can take with them into the future.

The USA finished the Ireland series with a 188/6 (20) to 162/6 (20) victory, and a 141/7 (20) to 150/10 (18.5) loss for a split trophy in their series, and a tiebreaker edge if you include net run rate.

This is a huge accomplishment for USA Cricket, just in time for their launch of Major League Cricket (MLC) in 2023 and their co-hosting of the 2024 ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, which will be hosted with the West Indies, a national cricket federation, or rather almost an effective confederation, that includes the nations of Anguilla (British Overseas Territory), Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands (British Overseas Territory), Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat (British Overseas Territory), St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten (Constituent Country part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands), St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US Virgin Islands (USA unincorporated and unorganized territory). The USA is expected to host one-third of the matches, while member nations of the West Indies will host the other two-thirds of the matches.

Prior to the USA defeating Ireland on 22 December 2021, the USA had never defeated a full member of the ICC in any version of cricket. So, this was USA’s first win in any cricketing format over an ICC Full Member Test Playing nation. And, this is quite startling given the fact that the USA and Canada are the two oldest national team cricket playing nations.

Not only that, but prior to the USA hosting Ireland in this series, the USA had never played an ICC Full Member Test Playing nation on home soil in the USA! So, this was the first time the USA would play an ICC Full Member Test Playing nation in the USA.

So it truly was a series of firsts!

A full member of the ICC is one of the twelve nations that play Test Cricket officially, the highest form of cricket that can sometimes take up to five days long. Test Cricket nations include England (England and Wales play together), Ireland (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland play together), Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. These are the nations where cricket is fully developed, and are generally the best cricket playing nations, where the sport is most popular as well.

Test Cricket features two innings at bat for each team, and its world championship is the newly created ICC World Test Championship. This World Championship features a combination of tournaments and matches designated to be a part of this, which can last up to three years, such that the current World Championship is taking place, having started in 2021, and lasting until 2023. The USA does not compete in Test Cricket at the moment, following the ending of the second level ICC Intercontinental Cup, a developmental second level world championship for associate members of the ICC with a chance at potential promotion into the Full Member Test Cricket ranks. To become a full member, the ICC invites you in, but this was often after good displays in the Intercontinental Cup, or other tournaments or matches of cricket. For example, Afghanistan and Ireland were invited and became Test Cricket Playing nations and ICC Full Members in 2017. Test Cricket is called First-Class Cricket at the domestic level, and again, is only played by the 12 Full Members at the domestic level, each having their own league. In places such as England, the County Championship is very popular and in each of these 12 nations, the first-class cricket is very prestigious.

Associate Members are the other members of the ICC, as well as the previous term of affiliate members. There are 94 Associate Members, who are considered the nations where cricket is a sport, but where it is not fully developed.

Associate Members and Full Members of the ICC are able to play One Day Internationals (ODI) officially, the form of cricket played at the ICC Cricket World Cup, which is generally completed in a day, and features either 10 outs, 1 inning, or 50 overs at bat each, and generally lasts up to nine hours. All ICC nations are eligible to qualify for the once every four years Cricket World Cup, with the next edition happening in 2023 in India. This form of cricket can stay the same or be slightly modified in terms of their amounts of limited overs at the domestic level, and is referred to as List A Cricket when played domestically. Some List A Cricket leagues have been highly popular, but usually, popularity is reserved for its international variant, which features the most popular competition, the ICC Cricket World Cup. Furthermore, all ICC nations are able to play Twenty20 Cricket officially, and are thus able to compete in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, which happens once every two years, with the next edition being held in 2022 in Australia. Twenty20 Cricket features either 10 outs, 1 inning, or 20 overs at bat each, and generally lats up to three hours. This is the form of cricket that is most popular domestically, and is the variant seen in many of the major leagues like the Indian Premier League, Caribbean Premier League, and the Big Bash League. Twenty20 is merely just called a Twenty20 International or T20I when described for international play. There are other forms, but these three are the main forms at the international level. Ten10 Cricket is becoming popular domestically and uses a 10 out, 1 inning, or 10 overs at bat each format for a total duration of around 90 minutes. This is done most popularly in the Abu Dhabi T10 League.

For the USA, right now, their focus is on both ODI and Twenty20 Cricket. As mentioned previously, the USA is starting up a professional cricket league called Major League Cricket (MLC), which will feature around six teams in a single-entity franchise league. Already, their development league of 27 teams across 4 geographical regions of the US, Minor League Cricket (MiLC) started in 2021, won by the Silicon Valley Strikers of the Bay Area. The MiLC is a privately owned franchise model, whereby there was a $250,000 (USD) purse in the inaugural 2021 season, the highest ever in US cricket. The MLC is expected to be even more money! Previously, the only professional cricket that successfully had a season was Pro Cricket, which had one season in 2004. But, with a $1 Billion (USD) partnership between the American Cricket Enterprise (ACE), the ICC, and USA Cricket, the developing cricket nation of the USA is now experiencing not one, but two professional cricket leagues in the plans for 2023! Already, one, the MiLC, is off and started with year two coming up in 2022! These two leagues will be played in the Twenty20 format to ensure peak viewership!

USA Cricket has also received big news that the heavily South Asian populated Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area will be adding in a brand new 15,000 seat cricket stadium in the summer of 2023, called AirHogs Stadium in the suburb of Grand Prairie, Texas. Currently, the USA features one ICC approved stadium for major international competition, Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium, a 20,000 seat stadium located in the Miami Metropolitan Area, in the suburb of Lauderhill, Florida. However, a few more ovals exist for ICC level play including Leo Magnus Cricket Complex in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, California (a group of four cricket grounds), soon to be ICC approved privately owned, 2,000 seat Smart Choice Moosa Stadium, in the Houston Metropolitan area suburb of Pearland, Texas, newly created and privately owned 15,000 seat Prairie View Cricket Complex in another Houston Suburb called Prairie View, Texas, 2,000 seat Brian Piccolo Park in the Miami suburb of Cooper City, Florida, BPL Cricket Stadium in the Chicago Metropolitan suburb of Bolingbrook, Indianapolis Worlds Sports Park in a rural area of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Church Street Park in the Research Triangle/Raleigh Metropolitan area suburb of Morrisville, North Carolina.

With these recent stadium developments in Texas, there does appear to be healthy competition for claims to being the home of cricket in the USA, but currently, Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium is truly USA’s home, having hosted this USA-Ireland series, and being the stadium to host many Caribbean Premier League matches and the expected main stadium in the USA to host the 2024 Twenty20 Cricket World Cup. It is the USA’s only ICC approved stadium for all matches, and is the stadium that hosted the USA’s first ODI home series matches and USA’s first ODI victory. However, the Bay Area seems to be the place with the highest level of play, whereas New York City still has the best high school league.

Aside from this administrative news, the important news is still this Irish surprise! In the two match series, the USA played in Twenty20. The USA finished with 1 win, a good win for a nation with a struggling 30th Twenty20 ranking going into this series. Whereas, in ODI, the USA ranks 18th.

The USA’s current form in their prospects for the 2023 ODI World Cup Qualifiers started back in 2018 when the USA finished second in ICC World Cricket League Division Three. From there, the USA earned promotion to the 2019 ICC World Cricket League Division Two, where they finished third. Now, the USA is in the 2019-2023 ICC Cricket World Cup League 2, with Nepal, Scotland, the UAE, Namibia, Oman, and Papua New Guinea. The USA needs to finish top 3, to advance to the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, or have to try for this via the Qualifier Play-off. The top 2 teams from the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier qualify for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. Currently, the USA is third in their League 2 Group, but they have played 7 more matches than the fourth placed team, rendering their position to one of only temporary achievement, at a 7 win 9 loss record. Still, by playing in League 2, the USA gets to play ODI status matches, a special designation to put it into the top 20 of ODI national teams. And, the USA currently has Temporary ODI Status until the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in 2023, when Temporary ODI Status is reassessed.

A diagram that explains the qualification structure for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup

For the 2022 Twenty20 World Cup, the USA is coming off of a very disappointing failure to Qualify for the 2020 Twenty20 World Cup (which became the 2021 version due to COVID-19 delays), but have started the 2022 Qualifications off perfectly winning the ICC Americas Qualifier by going 6 wins from 6 matches in the final qualifying group, the stage they had automatically qualified for. By finishing top two, the USA secured a position in one of two global qualifying groups, whereby the top 2 teams from each group Qualify for the 2022 Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, in addition to the other 12 already qualified. In the 2024 and after editions, there will be 20 nations that Qualify. The USA are in Group B of the Global Qualifiers and will have to play Hong Kong, Jersey, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. This will be stiff competition for the USA, but their recent results in the Americas Regional Qualifier shows a new determined American team. And, with their win over Ireland, they show they have the potential to defeat any team in this group, including group favorites Zimbabwe. These Qualifiers will take place between 8 and 18 July, 2021. The good news for USA Twenty20 Cricket is that they are already Qualified for the 2024 Twenty20 Cricket World Cup!

The USA has a lot of money going into it for cricket. Part of the reason for this is the influx of a sizable South Asian diaspora, especially in Texas and the Bay Area of California, as well as a continual flow of Caribbean diaspora communities into places like New York City. The USA’s tech industry, as well as its medical industry features lots of South Asian influence, and thus the richest sectors of the USA are heavily interested in cricket, making cricket a very rich and niche sport in the USA. A lot like ice hockey, there seems to be a large amount of dedicated fans to the sport, relative to its amount of regular fans. And, with ICC money also coming into the USA, there is a lot of positives to be seen from the US and their cricket community. This Irish series has only added to the hype around USA Cricket. For Americans, Bowl Season became Bowling Season for a while as they watched their national team perform the best they maybe ever have. And, for the South Asian community and the wider American community as a whole, cricket has really provided a sport in which the South Asian Americans dominate, proving their athletic worth, that is often overlooked as their demographics are not see as much in sports like football, basketball, and baseball. This is great for the economic prospects of the US, as more inclusion often increases more investment at home.

While it is extremely disappointed that the USA Men’s National ODI Team did not get to test out their skills against Ireland, given that the USA has been struggling and it would be especially good for the USA to have gotten top level competition experience, nonetheless, the USA’s Twenty20 team did get this experience and this is what matters most, as their World Cup is more immediate, in 2022.

For American Cricket fans, the goal is really just to see the USA at a World Cup, not in any specific one yet. And, for the casual cricket fan in the USA, they would probably prefer to watch Twenty20 anyway. Plus, with being a co-host of the 2024 edition, the USA needs to be getting better with more and more competition by the day, in order to perform well in front of their home fans, gaining more popularity for the sport of cricket.

Why it is Important to Believe in God

Belief in God is so important for our lives as human beings for so many reasons.

For one, belief in God and following your Faith already makes you an unselfish person to the extent that you place God before yourself. This is a good start to any healthy life, because we need rules to keep us intact regardless of how much they make sense to us, and placing God’s rules, and thus God, above yourself, means that you have a guide to follow, and are practicing being selfless. Being selfless helps you become a better family member, a better coworker or boss, and really just a better person. Following rules gives you structure, and this structure you can use to be more productive.

For a second reason, belief in God means you are never alone. If God is everywhere and is always with you, that means you have God with you and you are never alone. You can always pray to God, meaning that His phone is always on for you. And, you can always visit a Church to go and pray, meaning His Home, both in Heaven, and on Earth, is always open for you, should you accept Him. And, because He is eternal, this means you can talk to him forever and at anytime. Furthermore, because belief in God means belief in Heaven, this means you are never without your loved ones. Even though they may be away from you on Earth, they are always watching over you, and chances are, they are trying to find ways to comfort you, while you are doing the same for them, by praying for each other. This means that our love through God is eternal for anyone we loved on Earth, and likewise, their love for you is Eternal too. And because God’s Home is always open for you, later on, you will get to say hello to them, and spend eternity with them in Heaven. And, what is amazing about all of this, is that you can help them through your time on Earth by your prayers for them.

For a third reason, belief in God means you are never down-and-out, never without hope. Belief in God means a belief in forgiveness, and forgiveness of the ultimate type. No matter what you have done, just like the Prodigal Son, we are always welcomed back into God’s House, Our Father’s Home. No matter how horrific, whether it be on our death beds, or many years prior to this, we can repent, and have eternal life in Heaven. Furthermore, this means that we are always able to have immense wealth! The most important resource in our world is our soul, because with it, we can achieve eternal life! In order to feed our soul, just like water and food is needed for the body, spiritual food and drink is needed for the soul. We find this spiritual food and drink in our Faith, in following God’s rules, in praying, and in good actions. We are not expected to be perfect either, which takes away from potentially undue pressure. Rather, we are called to listen to God, to speak with God, to believe in God, and to follow God through His example He has set on Earth through His Son, and the examples others have set through the Communion of Saints and Mary. We are called to follow His laws, to become Saints, whether recognized, or not through canonization on Earth. Being in Heaven means being a Saint, and the Saints can intercede for us, they can help us and guide us, they can pray for us! And, being that perfection is not needed, this means that we are all capable of such a feat. Especially with Purgatory, a continuation of of growth to get into Heaven for those that need extra time becoming holier before being accepted into God’s eternal Home. Thus, God wants to accept each and everyone of us, and will give us countless opportunities to accept Him and for Him to accept us. And, God does not mind if you do not take your opportunity until the final minute, or even after sometimes. What matters is that you do, or at the very least, as a whole person, exemplify most of what is needed.

Lastly, belief in God is real, is the Truth. This is the most important reason. God is the Truth, and it is important to be guided by Truth than by falsities. Knowing God is real and following Him means that you will not be on the wrong path. In our lives, there are many assignments, many paths we can take for Earthly endeavors. Is it best to learn to become a medical doctor, an accountant, or a lawyer? Is engineering or dentistry more safe? Is construction steady enough? Is entertainment too risky? These are endeavors we must ponder all the time. Yet, if we keep the main thing the main thing, the most important answer we have to What should I be doing, is following God, because that is a path with no ambiguity, no confusion, no stress, no worriedness. In order to achieve eternal life, We must follow God, and thus in order to achieve our most important goal, in order to cash in on our most important investment, we must choose the path that is most stable, most direct, and truthful, we must choose God’s path.

Life on Earth is not Eternal, but Life in Heaven is. Our souls are created in God’s image, and are called to return to Him. We must remember that because what we do with our bodies and with our actions can determine if we receive our future gift of Eternal Life. It may not be a figure that shows up on our income, that shows up on our collective gross domestic product, but it is a figure that is much more important and valuable. And, we should be encouraged to follow God by our desires to be with Him again!

Never underestimate how important belief in God is! It is of the utmost importance!

NYCFC’s MLS Cup Victory Is The CFG’s Most Important Trophy Yet, since 2012

December 11, 2021 marked the day that NYCFC would become MLS Cup Champions for the first time!

This was a joyous occasion, not just for NYCFC, but for all the City Football Group (CFG).

While it was not surprising how the City Football Group came together to root for and watch NYCFC play in the MLS Cup Final, and while it was of no surprise that after NYCFC won the MLS Cup, that other CFG members congratulated NYCFC, there was something very different about this win from Mumbai City‘s and Melbourne City‘s in 2021, and even Yokohama F. Marinos‘s in 2019.

See, unlike the other teams mentioned, it was the founding of NYCFC that spurred the vision of HH Sheikh Mansour, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, and the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG) to create a global football group based on spreading the sport worldwide, and increasing the popularity and the level of play in countries that have huge potential in soccer like the USA and India, and where tons of talent already exists like in France and Spain.

HH Sheikh Mansour’s vision already partly began in 2010 once he and his team at ADUG decided to use their money and connections via Manchester City and the UAE Embassy to the USA and UAE Consulates in the USA to build mini soccer pitches across the Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Miami areas, starting with P.S. 72 Lexington Academy in East Harlem and The Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles, in order to grow the sport and create more access to the game.

Furthermore, another goal of the CFG, has been to connect the most important areas of the world together into one group, a sort of football diplomacy that also makes lots of money, via this great group, which includes the major city of the USA (New York City), India (Mumbai), Australia (Melbourne), Uruguay (Montevideo), Bolivia (La Paz), Japan (Yokohama) and major cities of the People’s Republic of China (Chengdu) and the United Kingdom/England (Manchester), plus cities in main countries like France (Troyes), Belgium (Lommel), and Spain (Girona). The Group furthers its diplomatic weight with partnerships in many other countries and cities, such as Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Lviv (Ukraine), as well as ownership of Los Angeles Metropolitan Area (USA) based company, Goals Soccer Centers, for 5-a-side soccer, with City Football Group offices and other companies in places like SingaporeShanghai (People’s Republic of China), Tokyo (Japan), and Greater London (United Kingdom) to name some. As of 2021, Goals Soccer Centers has merged with Sofive Soccer Centers to extend this reach to the Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia areas, as well as the New York City Metro region which the CFG is already highly entrenched in, and the CFG continues to have 5-a-side pitches in the Chicago area. The City Football Group, via Manchester City, even has made its mark in Ron Burgundy’s Sunny San Diego Metro region, with its annual Manchester City Cup. And when you include sponsorship deals from Dubai, Hong Kong, Yangsun and Seoul (South Korea), amongst many others, you can fully tell just how influential the City Football Group really is, which becomes even more influential once you see connections these partners all have.

But, it was on 21 May 2013, that HH Sheikh Mansour’s vision became a reality, when he, through Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees Major League Baseball team, teamed up to create New York City Football Club as an expansion team part of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top tier league of the United States of America, and co-top tier league of Canada. NYCFC became the 20th MLS franchise with this announcement.

This marked the beginning of a new footballing empire, that would become a confederation of independent clubs under the guise and expertise of the Al Nahyan Abu Dhabi Royal Family member, HH Sheikh Mansour, and his trusted partner, Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

And it was exactly the type of forward thinking needed to spur this moment.

New York City is the World’s Capital and Most Important City.

The New York City Metropolitan Area is the 10th largest economy if it were its own country, and New York City itself would be the 12th largest economy. New York City is home to the two most important, largest, and richest stock exchanges. New York City is home to media giants like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and others, like cable networks NBC, Fox News, CBS, and ABC, and many of their affiliates, as well as News Corp. New York City is home to the most Fortune 500 companies and Wall Street itself. New York City is home to the most billionaires and is soon to be the world’s richest city, if Tokyo is considered a city (not really a city, really a prefecture). New York City’s Midtown Manhattan is home to the most expensive real estate and most office space. New York City is home to the most important modern art, theater (Broadway), and the most important sports leagues: the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and even the MLS. New York City has been such an important city over the years as can be seen by their amount of skyscrapers. And, by 1948, its world wide prowess was completed by becoming the home of the United Nations, thus truly becoming the capital of the World.

This is why HH Sheikh Mansour had his eyes set on New York City. While Manchester may have been a football capital, one ready to create the best football club in the world, New York City was the capital, period, and one ready to take the ADUG, HH Sheikh Mansour, and Khaldoon Al Mubarak to the top!

Initially, NYCFC existed as a sort of vassal of the New York Yankees and Manchester City. In fact, NYCFC did not even play a match until 2015, and the City Football Group was not created until 2014, although retroactively, the City Football Group is often stated to have started in 2013 due to Man City’s buying of NYCFC, showing just how important NYCFC is to the CFG experience.

In fact, NYCFC is still the most expensive purchase by Sheikh Mansour out of the CFG Clubs, outside of Manchester City. NYCFC cost 100 million US Dollars in 2013.

Since 2014 or 2015, NYCFC has been listed as 80% owned by the City Football Group, and 20% owned by Yankee Global Enterprises, the owners of the New York Yankees.

While it is true that HH Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon Al Mubarak started expanding Man City’s global reach back in 2010, it really was not until Barcelona-native, Ferran Soriano, became the CEO of Manchester City that this expansion took place. Ferran Soriano, who was at the MLS Cup Final in Portland, Oregon last Saturday, was the man who had the MLS contacts with League Commissioner, Don Garber, as he had sought to expand FC Barcelona into a global brand similar to the City Football Group while Economy Vice President and interim CEO there. Ferran Soriano became CEO of Manchester City in 2012, and so the process began, and in less than a year, Manchester City had teamed up with record holding 27 time World Series Champions, the New York Yankees, to create New York City FC.

As owners of New York City FC, the City Football Group has sought to make New York City more of a hub of footballing talent, by using their City Football Academy, their club, NYCFC, and their 50+ 5-a-side football pitch project across New York City started in 2016 to make New York City a power house in soccer. In fact, the ADUG under Manchester City and the UAE Embassy to the USA already started their NYC soccer transformation back in 2010, and continued to invest in the area before NYCFC was even a club.

Thus, the ADUG has been greatly focused on New York City since it bought Manchester City back in 2008. And, finally, through 11 years of partnership with the City of New York, and 8 years of owning New York City Football Club, and 7 seasons of NYCFC soccer, the City Football Group finally has reached the pinnacle of American and Canadian soccer that they promised New Yorkers they would accomplish.

This has what made this trophy so important! While the 2011 FA Cup victory was super important to ADUG’s story at Manchester City as it was the first trophy won under the ADUG, and while the 2012 Premier League title was even more superior to this accomplishment, especially given the way it was won, no other trophies have really come close to this in terms of an important first! The Centurion and Fourmadible Seasons by Manchester City, and the multiple Invincible seasons by the Melbourne City Women might have been the most impressive accomplishments by the City Football Group so far, but this NYCFC MLS Cup Trophy was its most important single trophy since that victory over QPR by Manchester City in the dying moments of the 2011-2012 Premier League season.

Why?

For many reasons.

One, out of the leagues City Football Group clubs have won, the MLS is the second best after the Premier League. And, given that this was a first, this meant that NYCFC’s 2021 MLS Cup Championship season is the second best first time League Championship season under this new ownership so far. Given that no club has won an Continental Championship or World Club Championship yet under this ownership, this relegates the most important trophies thus far to league championships.

Two, the MLS is arguably the most competitive league in the world. With a salary cap and playoffs to decide the Champion, this makes the MLS one of the most difficult leagues to win, if not the most difficult league to win as an ownership group. Unlike in England, Spain, Belgium, France, and other countries where the City Football Group has clubs, predicting the winner of the MLS can lead you to choose 14 different teams at the end of the season due to the playoffs, and at the start of the season, probably 24 teams if not all the teams can have a legitimate argument in favor of them winning it. Furthermore, the playoff matches are one-off, meaning that if you lose, there is no second-leg, and if you are the lower seed, you have no home match in that round. This led to NYCFC winning their last 3 matches of the MLS Cup Playoffs on the road!

Three, with the MLS’s salary cap, this means the City Football Group has cemented that their strategy works not just because of spending exuberant amounts of money like they do at Manchester City, rather, it is due to their scouting, developing, academies, and countless other organizational strategies, plus in match and training strategies, as to why their clubs are doing so well across the world. Melbourne City and Mumbai City who both won their Regular Season and Post-Season Championships in 2020-2021 both proved this too as the A-League (Australia) and Indian Super League (India) both have salary caps. However, the USA and Canada are much more trusted in making sure their clubs follow salary caps, and thus, having a City Football Group club win yet another salary cap league, and one in the country that brought FIFA to justice for financial crimes and who is highly credible in operating very low corrupted professional sports leagues, makes this claim by the City Football Group that they do well for these other qualities besides the money as very credible. Furthermore, NYCFC’s 2021 salary total was only #6 in the MLS, and NYCFC’s highest paid player was #9 on the highest paid players’ list. Thus, it really was not the money that won NYCFC the MLS Cup. This is something for minority owners Yankee Global Enterprises to also hang their hat on, as their New York Yankees are also often criticized for exuberant spending in order to win World Series. And, given the lavishness that the UAE presents itself in via Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it is often seen as a rich man’s paradise whereby the Royal Famalies do not have to play by the rules. In the MLS, they do, and this is why the City Football Group winning here is very good for optics and reputation.

Four, in NYCFC’s quest to develop elite home-grown and American talent, NYCFC’s MLS Cup Victory proved just how successful NYCFC has been at doing that. On the team this season, there featured 12 Americans and 5 home-grown players. From this, 2 of the home-grown players and 4 of the Americans started in the MLS Cup Final, with American Goalkeeper and NYCFC Captain, Sean Johnson, earning the MLS Cup Final MVP Award! This victory proved to the NYC Area and the greater United States that winning the MLS was for you, which is what the CFG has been trying to develop, a pathway for local talent to reach the pinnacle of football. The CFG proved with this win that while they desire to win trophies by bringing in great talents from overseas to all their clubs, like Luxembourger Maxime Chanot, they also desire to develop the local talent to win these trophies as well.

Five, winning the MLS Cup Final solidified the hard work of the club on the football pitch these past 7 seasons. The City Football Group has been routinely criticized by many for their failures with NYCFC, as NYCFC had been trophiless across all competitions. This was an especially difficult pill to swallow given that NYCFC’s bitter rivals, the New York Red Bulls, have won 3 Supporters’ Shields. Yet, the criticism was harsh because New York City FC had actually been the most successful and consistent team in the MLS since 2016 in total points earned. In 2019, NYCFC won the regular season Eastern Conference, barely missing out on the Supporters’ Shield to Los Angeles Football Club, the regular season Western Conference champions that year. And, for NYCFC, it had not been that the club did not have star power, as they had players like David Villa, Frank Lampard, and Andre Prilo, and it had not been that they were not good, rather, it was that NYCFC was terrible in the MLS Cup Playoffs, only having advanced to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals once (2018), before the 2021 season, and having been to the playoffs 5 of those 6 previous seasons! Furthermore, NYCFC had not fared much better in the US Open Cup, having only had one season so far, where they actually won a match in the tournament, and that was in 2019 when they won 2 matches and advanced to the Quarter-finals before being knocked out in a penalty shootout. NYCFC’s other competitions have fared equally disastrous with a Quarter-final birth in the CONCACAF Champions League (Advanced in the Round of 16) and a Quarter-final birth in the one-time MLS is Back Tournament (Advanced past the Group Stage and in the Round of 16). Thus, NYCFC was very bad in knockout situations, not just in the MLS Cup Playoffs. 2021 proved quite the opposite and NYCFC would advance and win all 4 matches to claim the MLS Championship, including 2 penalty shootout victories and 3 away victories! This was the moment NYCFC deserved!

Six, winning is a way to take away from the disastrous stadium situation for NYCFC. NYCFC has been promised their own stadium since they were founded, with Yankee Stadium serving as a temporary home. While Yankee Stadium gives NYCFC a huge home-field advantage, especially given its unusually small field size, the fact that NYCFC shares this stadium with the New York Yankees makes NYCFC sometimes homeless, having to play at various stadiums over the years from the New York Mets’s Citi Field, to UCONN’s Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in Connecticut, to Fordham’s Jack Coffey Field, and the last two seasons, much to the chagrin of the NYCFC supporters, Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, home of their rivals! Even at the MLS Cup Championship celebration at City Hall, fans were shouting “We want a stadium”! Yet, for the City Football Group, while many have accused them of dragging their feet, maybe after winning the MLS Cup, NYCFC fans will now look at The Bronx and New York City governments/boards/elected officials, or rather, more specifically, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, as the ones dragging their feet, especially after multiple reports suggesting as such. The Yankees and Major League Soccer have also been blamed for these failures, and possibly with this win, will also be less of the boogey man now.

Seven, NYCFC won the MLS Cup Final after having the official, referees, and VAR officials miss a foul against NYCFC in the final minute of stoppage time that led to a goal against NYCFC, who had been up 1-0, ready to claim the MLS Cup Championship! This seemed to suggest that NYCFC’s lack of a trophy was a curse like Manchester City’s lack of a UEFA Champions League trophy, as Manchester City has had a series of bad calls against them or no calls that led to their knockouts, plus bad play on their own accord and the away goal rule that never seemed to go their way. NYCFC, however, dispelled this and played through extra-time, getting to the penalty shootout, and NYCFC dominated winning 4-2 claiming the MLS Cup Championship after a thrilling display by club captain Sean Johnson! The way in which NYCFC won their MLS Cup Final is something that others in the CFG (hint hint Manchester City) should learn from and that is that if things do not go your way, you can still win it all.

Eight, NYCFC changed their style from one of getting star-studded players like the Frank Lampards of the world and having to settle for worse players elsewhere to balance wages, to getting really good and cheaper players instead like midfielder, Alfredo Morales, who played 5 seasons in the Bundesliga, as well as MLS Golden Boot winner, Valentín Castellanos, who came from City Football Group member, Montevideo City Torque (Uruguay), thus allowing a better median player level throughout the lineup. NYCFC has also focused on developing young talent in their match-day rosters, favoring coming up youths, rather than aging legends, like James Sands, Tayvon Gray, and Montevideo City Torque loanee, Santiago Rodríguez, to name a few. This change in style has showed that City Football Group clubs can be just as effective with smaller wage bills by ditching star players in favor of normal priced top level players. While NYCFC’s level of competition is much lower than their major counter-part at Manchester City, NYCFC’s triumph still shows that it is not about the price of the player, rather it is about how the player can benefit the team, which should preach greater use of resources by all clubs in the group. This could help with the habit of some of the clubs in the group to overspend when players already at their club may be better solutions and cheaper.

But, potentially the greatest reason this has been the most important trophy for the City Football Group clubs since 2012 is because of the shear popularity and significance of this feat! NYCFC had the whole town buzzing, as New York City has not had one of their metropolitan teams win a major professional championship since the New York Football Giants won the Super Bowl in 2012. While the MLS may not be even considered a major championship by some, as the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL are considered the “Big Four”, the MLS is often considered #5. And thus, NYCFC’s win caught the attention of all sorts of famous New Yorkers and famous New York sites, with many buildings including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center being lit up blue! Not only that, but NYCFC received recognition from the Mayor of New York City, the Governor of New York State, and the President of the United States of America! These are some of the most important politicians in the world, with the President of the USA probably being the most important. Even Sean Johnson got to ring the New York Stock Exchange bell, the world’s largest stock market, and former mayor and billionaire media magnet, Michael Bloomberg, was celebrating this victory. Shoutouts came from all over too, such as from the New York Yankees as expected, the second most expensive sports team.

These are accolades that could not be reciprocated at any other City Football Group club. NYCFC will have the unique chance to visit the White House later, and have already visited the iconic NYC City Hall for their celebration.

For a Group that is steeped in foreign diplomacy and soft power, having the world’s most important city by most metrics on your side where the home of foreign diplomacy is, is a major deal! The City Football Group can now be seen as the heroes who brought the New York City sports championship drought to an end, gaining the respect of all people connected to New York City, which are a lot of powerful and influential people and groups.

And yet, possibly the most impressive feat for the City Football Group with this win, is that the CFG have done this with arguably their most net profitable club. NYCFC is keeping big money, even more than their counter-parts at Manchester City, and is winning too.

For a Group whose first little brother had been without a trophy until this past Saturday, NYCFC’s victory makes it feel like the City Football Group’s experiment has gone full circle, a foreshadowing of even greater results to come for the Group.

The future for New York City is City Sky Blue. NYCFC will try to win more trophies in the future following their first trophy lift in 2021. Furthermore, NYCFC will be trying to develop more and more top players, such as those they already have like Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Joe Scally, Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna, and NYCFC homegrown players like James Sands. While the New York Red Bulls may have gotten to the trophies first in the NYC Metro Area, it was New York City FC who won this trophy race, by securing the most important trophy, the MLS Cup! Now ‘The Pigeons’ will be looking for new horizons to conquer.

Christmas Season Equals Football which Equals Bowl Games: The Story of how a Rose Parade transformed football forever.

It is the Christmas Season (and the other Holidays) and it is College Football Bowl Season! Wow, Santa Clause will be here any moment, and so will the New Year, and with that comes Bowl Games! What are they, and why does America have them?


First, if you are an American football fanatic, but do not love college football, you are like an American fanatic who does not love the Constitution! That is to say that you do not like the origins of the sport! Football started on American campuses and the game evolved thanks to Walter Camp at Yale University and of course President Teddy Roosevelt who organized the creation of the NCAA (college governing body) in 1906, as football had become too dangerous and was threatened to be outlawed, and thus needed a governing body to make the game safer.


The USA is such a large country and has a lot of universities, of which many sponsor sports teams, and in 1869, two, which would later become known as Princeton and Rutgers, started sponsoring a new sport that would eventually evolve into the American Gridiron Football we see today! However, the first games mostly resembled an alternative version of soccer with other football codes influence. While this was happening, many other universities had been playing their own versions of footballs that resembled mob rule or public school football like those seen in England. Eventually, Harvard would take their version and play McGill from Montreal, Quebec in one Harvard style football match and in one McGill style Rugby football match in 1874. Rugby style grew on Harvard, and many other institutions adopted an alternative form of rugby (not exactly rugby, but like rugby).


Eventually, Yale Head Football Coach, Walter Camp, would come around and like the great President George Washington, he decided to stamp out these heathenous British rules (versions of football) that were plaguing the nation and establish new rules that would become the basis for modern Gridiron football (American and Canadian), as well as some major rules in Rugby League and Union football. Walter Camp, in the 1880s, would invent the line of scrimmage, the down and distances, the yard markers, the number of players, many of the positions, and is credited with inventing the forward pass, however this would not become legal until the NCAA made it so in 1906. There is so much more he did as well, but it would be too much to list.


With these changes, Football grew to more universities until it expanded across the continent from the East Coast to the West Coast, just like the Transcontinental Railroad which Leland Stanford, Junior connected with the Golden Spike at Promontory Point in Utah in 1869, the same year of football’s first game!


So, not every team could play each other, but teams in the same state or region could, and they created their own mini-leagues, usually individually referred to as a conference, and collectively referred to as conferences. It is debatable who was the first conference because some Ivy League schools had their own conference first (not with all present-day Ivy League members and not under the Ivy League name), but really the Big Ten (or precursor to it) was the first conference. Thus, conferences sprang up and the winners of these conferences became Conference Champions. Yet, many desired to see not just who was the best team in each conference, but who was the best team in the whole nation.


Therefore, there became an increasing yearn to connect theses conference champions together into post-season games, whereby the American public could get a better sense of who was the best team in the whole nation.

Thus, Bowl games would come about. Although Chicago played Stanford in the first post-season matchup in 1894, the first bowl game is credited to be the 1902 Rose Bowl. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association (Tournament of Roses), which overseas the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California since 1890 on New Year’s Day, decided to hold a college football game between a team representing the East, Michigan, and a team representing the West, Stanford. Michigan won easily and would win a National Championship. The Rose Bowl Game, then, was called the Tournament East–West football game, a much less fun name for sure, and was played at Tournament Park in Pasadena, California.


The Rose Bowl would be played again in 1916, and has been held annually ever since. From 1916-1946, the winner of the precursor to the Pac-12 Conference would play a representative from the East. Since 1946, the Pac-12 Champion (or precursor to Pac-12) plays the Big Ten Champion (or precursor to Big Ten).

While these early Rose Bowl Games are important, they were not referred to as a bowl game until 1923 when the Rose Bowl Game officially became the Rose Bowl Game. This change happened because the Tournament of Roses decided that Tournament Park was not big enough to host these large crowds that were flocking to this game, and thus created the Rose Bowl, or Rose Bowl Stadium in 1922, which was named this as it was modeled after the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut, the first bowl stadium in the USA, built in 1913. And, with this new venue, the Tournament of Roses decided to change the name of the game to reflect this new venue, and thus the first game to be held at this stadium was the 1923 Rose Bowl Game. Also, with this new stadium, this meant that the Rose Bowl Game would have a nearly permanent home, as every Rose Bowl Game has been played at the Rose Bowl Stadium since 1923, except in 1942 due to the recent Pearl Harbor Attacks and the threat of large crowds on the West Coast (1942 Rose Bowl Game was played in Durham, North Carolina at Wallace Wade Stadium, home of the Duke Blue Devils), and 2021 due to California’s restrictive COVID-19 policies (2021 Rose Bowl Game was played in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys).

Henceforth, since 1923, this concept of a bowl game, whose etymology can be accredited to the concept of a bowl stadium, would become engrained into American Gridiron Football culture. While the Rose Bowl Game may have been the only bowl game early on, eventually, others would catch on.


During the 1940s, 4 more bowl games would be added. In the 1950s, 3 more were added. Since the 1980s, more have been added increasing the number to 40 Bowl games, plus 2 semi-finals, and a National Championship Game for the 2021-2022 FBS season.

Not only that, but bowl games have gone to the professional ranks, and around the world. For example, the NFL’s Super Bowl name derives from the college football bowl games. Other examples include Canada’s collegiate Canadian football Semi-finals, called the Uteck Bowl and the Mitchell Bowl, the NFL’s Pro Bowl all-star game, Japan’s Rice Bowl and Koshien Bowl, Germany’s German Bowl, and so many more championship games like the Eurobowl which has been the name of Europe’s club American football championship on many occasions. Some major games that are not Championships or post-season games, as well as some all-star games are also called bowl games like the Iron Bowl rivalry game played between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers, or the Senior Bowl played between the best Seniors from that previous season’s college football, as a showcase for the NFL.

Nonetheless, even with this universal usage of the bowl term, the collective bowl games term is meant almost exclusively to refer to the post-season of the highest level of college football in the USA, NCAA Division 1 FBS. FBS stands for Football Bowl Subdivision. Bowl games are so important, it is in the name of the highest division.

The Rose Bowl Game has continued to be the most important bowl game of all of them, outside of the new format where a National Championship Game or Semi-final Game exists. The Rose Bowl Game is also the only major bowl game left to actually take place in the stadium the bowl game is named after. The Rose Bowl Game is played at the Rose Bowl Stadium, while the Miami Orange Bowl no longer exists, and the Cotton Bowl Game is not played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium anymore. The other major bowls are not played at a stadium with the same name. And, looking at the minor bowl games, only a few have stayed this way, for example, with the Sun Bowl Game still being played at Sun Bowl Stadium and the Liberty Bowl still being played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The reason the Rose Bowl Game stayed the most important college football game is because the NCAA National Champion in FBS football does not exist and never has. However, random polls (newspapers, computer algorithms, people, etcetera) pick teams as their National Champion at the end of the season. Up until recently, this meant there was no attempt at a National Championship Game, thus placing the Rose Bowl Game as the aggregate most important bowl game because it was the oldest and had the tradition and popularity. Still, outside of the National Championship Game and Semi-finals for the College Football Playoff, the Rose Bowl Game is often ranked #1. Furthermore, the Rose Bowl Stadium used to be the largest stadium in the world, which increased the Rose Bowl Game’s fame, but lately, the Rose Bowl Stadium has been decreasing its capacity by adding in individual seating and covering seats with bad viewing.


Before some polls formalized a National Championship Game, major polls made their decisions on who was #1 after the post-season bowl games. And because bowl games were created after College Football, many polls had ranked their #1 team after the regular season, and for a while, this continued even with a post-season by some major polls, until most have chosen their National Champions after the post-season bowl games. But, the teams would continue to play in their conference tied bowl games, which meant that the #1 and #2 teams rarely played each other in a bowl game. This created a yearn by many to create a National Championship game between the top 2 teams. But, there were issues. First, there are so many polls, so which one would be used? Second, could this be possible with many bowl games being conference tied like the Pac-12 Big Ten Rose Bowl Game?


Well, luckily for the ranking systems, through the years, the NCAA has outlined 32 Nationally recognized polls, so at least their is a de facto limit, however there is no de jure limit on who can award National Champions. Furthermore, which one out of the 32? Popular opinion would have to decide that one.


Originally, there would be many different National Champions according to the major polls as the #1 candidates would not play each other. They tried to correct this in 1992 with the Bowl Coalition, and later the Bowl Alliance which forced the #1 and #2 AP ranked teams to play each other in a bowl game no matter their conference ties in bowl games. Well, the Pac-12 and Big Ten refused and played in the Rose Bowl instead.


Eventually, all major conference (Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, Big 12, ACC, and Big East) would agree to form the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) (1998), which would use 4 major bowl games (Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Sugar Bowl) and would pit the BCS ranked #1 and #2 team against each other. The National Championship would rotate around these bowls meaning that some years the Rose Bowl would feature a non Big Ten v.s. Pac-12 matchup, but on years the Rose Bowl did not host the National Championship, it would still be the classic Pac-12 Big Ten matchup. If a Big Ten and Pac-12 team were #1 or #2, the runners-up in their conference would go to the Rose Bowl on years when the Rose Bowl Game was not the National Championship, or a random team would. The BCS was a ranking system which included a combination of those 32 major polls, thus combining human and computerized polls to come up with the rankings.


Eventually, the BCS created an additional BCS National Championship Game that would rotate around the BCS bowl stadiums, making the 4 Bowl games just bowl games with their tied in teams, and one bowl game stadium would have to host an extra National Championship game once every four years.


Then, the BCS would eventually end, and the major conferences minus the Big East who was not a conference anymore for football, decided to create the College Football Playoff (2014). The CFP is a group of 13 random people who select the top 4 teams in the nation to play in a semi-final and final. There are a group of 6 bowl games tied into this (Peach Bowl and Cotton Bowl, plus the other 4 from the BCS era). The semi-finals rotate around these bowl games, but the National Championship is just played at a random stadium.


The rest of the bowl games, now a days, are for teams that win 6 games or more. Most teams play 12 regular season games, and you can only win or lose, so a 6-6 record should get you in. Occasionally, there are more 6 wins or more teams in the nation than bowl game spots available and thus some of those teams have to miss out if not invited to play. However, on the flip side, at different times, there have also been more bowl games than 6 wins or more teams, and thus 5-7 teams or others like the occasional 6-7 team have gotten in. Most bowl games invite 2 teams that are a certain ranking from that year’s conference standings. For example, the Las Vegas Bowl used to select the #1 team from the Mountain West and the #5 team from the Pac-12 to play each other. However, this was subject to change, because what if the #1 team from the Mountain West got invited to a bigger bowl game, or what if there were only 4 eligible Pac-12 teams, then maybe the #2 Mountain West team played the #8 Sun Belt team? Since 2021 though, this classic Las Vegas Bowl matchup has been changed and now, will feature a Pac-12 team against a Big Ten team on odd years, and a Pac-12 team against an SEC team on even years, while the Mountain West Champion will play in the newly created LA Bowl. These games are one off games, with the winner getting a trophy.

The bowl games make a lot of money and are nationally televised, and players receive really cool presents, sometimes as cool as Play Stations and/or Flat Screen TVs! And the best part about bowl games is not the actual game, but the experience, as you usually get to go to another city for about a week, while you practice, go to meetings, but also explore the new environment, and as a student-athlete, because the games are during the Winter Break, you are not crammed with studying on top of playing a division 1 sport, so there is free time to maybe check out some notable sights! Plus, you get to play in some of the world’s nicest stadiums from historic and classic ones like the Rose Bowl Stadium, to brand new ones like Allegiant Stadium where the Las Vegas Raiders play and SoFi Stadium, the most expensive stadium in the world to be built thus far, where the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams play.

The contradictions of college football still exits though, as the foundations of the country college football calls home to are based on completely separate ideals to that of college football. College football is essentially an aristocratic elitist society. The elite aristocrats are a group of 5 “major conferences”, the Pac-12, the SEC, the Big 12, the Big Ten, and the ACC, plus Notre Dame and maybe BYU who are the only conferences/teams represented by this selection committee, with 2 current lower conference representatives and 1 non Division 1 representative. While these 5 conferences are usually the top 5 conferences, they are not always. Furthermore, you can be the best team, and not be from the best conference, an idea somehow lost on the selection committee usually. There are 10 conferences in the top division, and 5 of them are basically not allowed to have a team in the playoffs. How can you call it a national championship, if half the teams cannot compete for it? That would be like having a World Cup, and not inviting Africa, Asia, North America, and Oceania!

The thing is that the NCAA has other sports that usually have tournaments where they crown an NCAA Champion in and in these tournaments every conference gets at least their Conference Champion in, which means that every team in the top division gets a chance to be the national champion. Right now, there are no pre-qualifiers for any team to be a national champion in the top division of football. Furthermore, the CFP is just another poll out of the infinitely many that can choose a National Champion, and out of the 32 nationally recognized polls of the NCAA. So, often times, there are schools in the other conferences that will go undefeated and not get invited to the CFP Playoffs, and then people will pretend that they do not have a legitimate claim to the National Championship because they did not win the CFP, even if they won another poll, especially another NCAA recognized poll. By NCAA definition they do have a legitimate claim if they win one of these other polls, and if a 32 Nationally recognized poll selects them as National Champion, they get recognized by the NCAA on their website, as long as that college claims their national championship, just as the CFP champion does. In 2017, the CFP did not invite undefeated UCF who ended up winning a National Championship in another one of the 32 nationally recognized polls, claimed it, and was the only undefeated team in the nation. Although the NCAA recognized them as a National Champion along with the CFP champion that season, many elites did not. This year in the 2021-2022 season marks the first time that the Bowl Coalition, the BCS, or the CFP has given a “lower conference” team a chance to compete for a National Championship, by inviting the undefeated University of Cincinnati Bearcats (13-0) to the playoffs. Cincinnati play in the AAC currently, the same conference as UCF, and will be joining the Big 12 in the future with UCF.


But, is this not what makes what makes America great? The fact that a governing body cannot tell Americans what to do! The NCAA cannot tell America who wins the College Football National Championship! Sure, this is a backwards excuse for a stupid, unorganized, corrupt, and wage stealing structure that is FBS college football under the “Power 5” cartel, but it is nonetheless a cool thing in a way too.


Either way, amidst all the corruption and scandals, bowl games unite the country’s attention during the Christmas season and every year on January 1st, you can count on watching the Rose Bowl Game, unless it is a Sunday, then it will be on January 2nd, due to Church reasons (take notes NFL).

With that, here is a list of each College Football FBS Bowl Game for the 2021-2022 season:

Dates and Times based on Pacific Time (Pasadena, Los Angeles, California); Rankings based on CFP Rankings; * means a CFP New Year’s Six Bowl Game; ** means a CFP Semifinal Game; *** means the CFP National Championship Game

Friday 17 December:

2021 Bahamas Bowl at Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, The Bahamas at 9:00 am

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (6-6) (C-USA) vs Toledo Rockets (7-5) (MAC)

2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida at 3:00 pm

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (10-2) (Sun Belt) vs Northern Illinois Huskies (9-4) (MAC)

Saturday 18 December:

2021 RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl at Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida at 8:00 am

Appalachian State Mountaineers (10-3) (Sun Belt) vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (8-5) (C-USA)

2021 PUBG Mobile New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 11:15 am

Fresno State Bulldogs (9-3) (Mountain West) vs UTEP Miners (7-5) (C-USA)

2021 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana at 12:30 pm

#13 BYU Cougars (10-2) (Independent) vs UAB Blazers (8-4) (C-USA)

2021 LendingTree Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama at 2:45 pm

Liberty Flames (7-5) (Independent) vs Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-5) (MAC)

2021 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California at 4:30 pm

Oregon State Beavers (7-5) (Pac-12) vs Utah State Aggies (10-3) (Mountain West)

2021 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisana at 6:15 pm

Marshall Thundering Herd (7-5) (C-USA) vs #23 Louisiana-Lafayette Rajun’ Cajuns (12-1) (Sun Belt)

Monday 20 December:

2021 Myrtle Beach Bowl at Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina at 11:30 am

Old Dominion Monarchs (6-6) (C-USA) vs Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6-6) (AAC)

Tuesday 21 December:

2021 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Albertson’s Stadium in Boise, Idaho at 12:30 pm

Kent State Golden Flashes (7-6) (MAC) vs Wyoming Cowboys (6-6) (Mountain West)

2021 Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 4:30 pm

UTSA Roadrunners (12-1) (C-USA) vs #24 San Diego State Aztecs (11-2) (Mountain West)

Wednesday 22 December:

2021 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas at 5:00 pm

Army Black Knights (8-4) (Independent) vs Missouri Tigers (6-6) (SEC)

Thursday 23 December:

2021 Frisco Football Classic at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 12:30 pm

Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (6-6) (MAC) vs North Texas Mean Greean (6-6) (C-USA)

2021 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida at 4:00 pm

Florida Gators (6-6) (SEC) vs UCF Golden Knights (8-4) (AAC)

Friday 24 December:

2021 EasyPost Hawaii Bowl at Clarence T. C. Ching Athletics Complex in Honolulu, Hawaii at 5:00 pm

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (6-7) (Mountain West) vs Memphis Tigers (6-6) (C-USA)

**** Cancelled due to COVID-19 Concerns (Edited from Original Version)

Saturday 25 December:

2021 TaxAct Camellia Bowl at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama at 2:30 pm

Ball State Cardinals (6-6) (MAC) vs Georgia State Panthers (7-5) (Sun Belt)

Monday 27 December:

2021 Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan at 8:00 am

Western Michigan Broncos (7-5) (MAC) vs Nevada Wolfpack (8-4) (Mountain West)

2021 Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Anapolis, Maryland at 11:30 am

East Carolina Pirates (7-5) (AAC) vs Boston College Eagles (6-6) (ACC)

Tuesday 28 December:

2021 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama at 9:00 am

#20 Houston Cougars (11-2) (AAC) vs Auburn Tigers (6-6) (SEC)

2021 Servpro First Responder Bowl at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas at 12:15 pm

Air Force (9-3) (Mountain West) vs Louisville (6-6) (ACC)

2021 AutoZone Liberty Bowl at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee at 3:45 pm

Texas Tech (6-6) (Big 12) vs Mississippi State (7-5) (SEC)

2021 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl at Petco Park in San Diego, California at 5:00 pm

UCLA Bruins (8-4) (Pac-12) vs #18 North Carolina State Wolf Pack (9-3) (ACC)

2021 Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona at 7:15 pm

West Virginia Mountaineers (6-6) (Big 12) vs Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4) (Big Ten)

Wednesday 29 December:

2021 Wasabi Fenway Bowl at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts at 8:00 am

Virginia Cavaliers (6-6) (ACC) vs SMU Mustangs (8-4) (AAC)

2021 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in (The Bronx) New York City, New York at 11:15 am

Virginia Tech Hookies (6-6) (ACC) vs Maryland Terrapins (6-6) (Big Ten)

2021 Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida at 2:45 pm

Iowa State Cyclones (7-5) (Big 12) vs #19 Clemson Tigers (9-3) (ACC)

2021 Valero Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas at 6:15 pm

#14 Oregon Ducks (10-3) (Pac-12) vs #16 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) (Big Ten)

Thursday 30 December:

2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina at 8:30 am

North Carolina Tar Heels (6-6) (ACC) vs South Carolina Gamecocks (6-6) (SEC)

2021 TransPerfect Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee at 12:00 pm

Purdue Boilermakers (8-4) (Big Ten) vs Tennessee Volunteers (7-5) (SEC)

2021 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia at 4:00 pm *

#10 Michigan State Spartans (10-2) (Big Ten) vs #12 Pittsburgh Panthers (11-2) (ACC)

2021 SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada at 7:30 pm

Wisconsin Badgers (8-4) (Big Ten) vs Arizona State Sun Devils (8-4) (Pac-12)

Friday 31 December:

2021 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida at 8:00 am

#17 Wake Forest Deamon Deacons (10-3) (ACC) vs #25 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4) (SEC)

*** Texas A&M Aggies have been replaced by the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-7) (Big Ten), as Texas A&M has COVID-19 Issues, and Rutgers is the highest Academic Progress Rated (APR) Team that is 5-7, and thus was first to Qualify. Unfortunately for the Memphis Tigers and Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, their bowl game was cancelled after Rutgers had already been named to replace Texas A&M, or else, most likely, Memphis, and then Hawaii would have been asked to compete in this bowl game. (Edited from Original Version)

2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas at 9:00 am

Miami Hurricanes (7-5) (ACC) vs Washington State Courgars (7-5) (Pac-12)

2021 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium in Tuscon, Arizona at 11:00 am

Boise State Broncos (7-5) (Mountain West) vs Central Michigan Chippewas (8-4) (MAC)

2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas at 12:30 pm **

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) (SEC) vs #4 Cincinnati Bearcats (13-0) (AAC)

2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida at 4:30 pm **

#3 Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) (SEC) vs #2 Michigan Wolverines (12-1) (Big Ten)

Saturday 1 January:

2022 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida at 9:00 am

#21 Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4) vs Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5) (Big Ten)

2022 Vrbo Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida at 10:00 am

#22 Kentucky Wildcats (9-3) (SEC) vs #15 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-3) (Big Ten)

2022 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona at 10:00 am *

#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-1) (Independent) vs #9 Oklahoma State (11-2) (Big 12)

2022 Rose Bowl presented by Capital One Venture X at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California at 2:00 pm *

#11 Utah Utes (10-3) (Pac-12) vs #6 Ohio State (10-2) (Big Ten)

2022 Allstate Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana at 5:45 pm *

#7 Baylor Bears (11-2) (Big 12) vs #8 Ole Miss Rebels (10-2) (SEC)

Tuesday 4 January:

2022 TaxAct Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas at 6:00 pm

LSU Tigers (6-6) (SEC) vs Kansas State (7-5) (Big 12)

Monday 10 January:

2022 College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, Indiana at 5:00 pm ***

Winner of the College Football Playoff Semifinals will play each other.

Thank you for reading and hopefully you learned something about Bowl Games and football.

Original version is from The Ultimate Football Group, a Facebook Group for all football codes.

NCAA FBS Top 25 Rankings Week 15:

  1. Alabama 12-1 SEC
  2. Cincinnati 13-0 AAC
  3. Michigan 12-1 Big Ten
  4. Georgia 12-1 SEC
  5. Notre Dame 11-1 Independents
  6. Baylor 11-2 Big 12
  7. Ole Miss 10-2 SEC
  8. Ohio State 10-2 Big Ten
  9. Michigan State 10-2 Big Ten
  10. Oklahoma State 11-2 Big 12
  11. BYU 10-2 Independents
  12. Pittsburgh 11-2 ACC
  13. Oklahoma 10-2 Big 12
  14. Louisiana-Lafayette 12-1 Sun Belt
  15. Utah 10-3 Pac-12
  16. Iowa 10-3 Big Ten
  17. Wake Forest 10-3 ACC
  18. NC State 9-3 ACC
  19. Clemson 9-3 ACC
  20. Kentucky 9-3 SEC
  21. Oregon 10-3 Pac-12
  22. Utah State 10-3 Mountain West
  23. San Diego State 11-2 Mountain West
  24. UTSA 12-1 C-USA
  25. Texas A&M 8-4 SEC

Next 10:

Applachain State 10-3 Sun Belt

Minnesota 8-4 Big Ten

Arkansas 8-4 SEC

Fresno State 9-3 Mountain West

Wisconsin 8-4 Big Ten

Army 8-3 Independents

Air Force 9-3 Mountain West

Purdue 8-4 Big Ten

Arizona State 8-4 Pac-12

UCLA 8-4 Pac-12

Conference Champions:

SEC: Alabama 12-1

Big Ten: Michigan 12-1

AAC: Cincinnati 13-0

Big 12: Baylor 11-2

Pac-12: Utah 10-3

ACC: Pittsburgh 11-2

Independent: Notre Dame 11-1

Mountain West: Utah State 10-3

Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette 12-1

C-USA: UTSA 12-1

MAC: Northern Illinois 9-4

Only Game of the Week:

Army (8-3) vs Navy (3-8) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at 12:00 PM Pacific Time

The Good and the Bad with Barbados leaving the Commonwealth realm:

Barbados has left the Commonwealth realm and is now a republic! There are many positives and negatives to the nature of this peaceful revolution, some of which are to be outlined here.

The positive effects are endless from the ability to have any Barbadian elected to their Head of State, to ridding their state of a system of government Barbados no longer approved of, and to benefiting more from one of the least corrupt governments on the planet.

Contrary to many beliefs, often steeped in racism due to the Black majority of Barbados, Barbados is very successful at keeping corruption out of their political system. Many critics will suggest that Barbados will be like a plethora of African nations, but those people should note that there are clear differences to the realities of African nations at the end of colonial rule there, and the prevailing ideals at the time gripping the Pan-African movement/Afro-Nationalism.

Many of those movements were steeped in support for Marxist-Leninist state-controlled and planned economies, and the African people had very few people with any sort of university degrees. Furthermore, this was right during the time that many of these nations would start receiving more funding than purely revenues being taken out, so starting off, many of these nations did not possess the means to have a successful nation, at least not to the extent they previously had. Henceforth, the yearn for complete state-control of economies and other things led to a very corrupt ruling class of many African nations that still rules today, and their implementation of atrocious policies made these realities way worse, often due to greed or lack of expertise, or worse, both. In Barbados, on the other hand, Barbados has experienced 55 years of independence already, thus making this republican revolution almost more symbolic than anything, has ran a very non-corrupted government, has many university graduates and a very skilled populace with a developed country, and has experienced many years now of redevelopment back into Barbados. Barbados is one of the most successful Caribbean nations.

Now, if this lack of corruption was due to the former Barbadian monarchy keeping in check the local politicians, then this is bad news for Barbados. But, assuming it was not, due to the fact that since 1966, all decisions on Barbados have almost universally been made by people within the elected government or within the people of Barbados, this suggests that Barbados will continue to thrive as an independent sovereign state, as generally speaking, corruption is what leads to the worst states, along with a lack of education/promotion of bad education and things like tribalism.

Furthermore, there is the symbolic effect of Barbados being able to elect a person that looks like a majority of them into the Head of State. Given that the Queen and now the President of Barbados is mainly a ceremonial and non-political role, it was important for Barbados to have an opportunity to have their country represented by a Black Barbadian at the top, for representative purposes.

This symbolism further shreds the legacy of slavery which many Barbadians were brought to Barbados because of. It also further shreds the legacy of White supremacy steeped in many of the ideals of British colonialism. Instead of a White person being inherently at the top literally, a Black Barbadian can earn their way to the top.

Plus, Barbados will also no longer have to have an Anglican as their Head of State, thus securing potentially more representation for religious minorities within Barbados.

And one more positive that must be noted, is that Barbados will now have a more efficient and closer to the people Head of State. Generally speaking, since 1966, Queen Elizabeth II has been away in London, Windsor, or somewhere else in the United Kingdom, far removed from her other states like Barbados. This means that neither the Barbadians nor the actual island was familiar with the person who legally ruled them, and she may not have been very familiar with the Barbadian people or the Island of Barbados either. While this role may have seemed very ceremonial, it had a lot of real life political and military implications. Sure, Barbados was independent and fully sovereign, according to international law, but like East Germany and other Soviet Bloc states, was it really independent if a group they were a part of made most of the decisions for their country while another country was the main player in this group? Was it really independent if the person who ruled them ruled a much powerful state that used to rule them? And, yes, Barbados was not getting into wars, but should they have to, would it be wise for the Queen to lead the military? And, would it be wise for the Queen to try to implement legislation by influencing and promoting various plans? Even though a lot of these jobs were never performed, and if they were or would have been, it most likely would have been done through the Governor-General, it is still worrying that someone so distant to Barbados could be deciding the future of Barbados legally. And in fact, when the Queen and her Royal Family commented on Barbados leaving the Commonwealth realm, they often stated “our two countries”, thus confirming the more cynical belief that the Commonwealth realm only exists to continue Britain’s rule over her empire, because the Queen and her Royal Family only spoke in representing the United Kingdom, instead of speaking in representing the other 14 Commonwealth realms. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles would have been much better to speak of all countries in the Commonwealth realm, especially since Barbados is so close to Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Belize, The Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis which are all Commonwealth realm members, as well as Caribbean Community (CARICOM) members (which Barbados is a part of). This would have placed the importance on them, but instead, without mentioning them, or the countless British Overseas Territories in the region, many in CARICOM as well, it appeared as if the House of Windsor merely neglected them, a greater symbolism for why Barbados was conducting their republican revolution in the first place. Which brings an intriguing point and that is that Barbados will never have their own King of Barbados (at least not in their modern-era, and assuming monarchy restoration does not happen), thus rendering the fact that Barbados is still without a male Head of State in their current independent and sovereign history since 1966.

Overall, it was positive to see the self-determination of the Barbadian people respected by both the Barbadian elected officials and by the now former monarchy of Barbados, as a peaceful revolution done through an election box is much more positive than a violent revolution that creates bloodshed. However, should the Barbadian people ever seek their former monarchy back, it will be interesting to see if the republic would allow this self-determination on the flip side.

And another interesting thing to see, will be if Barbados grows even closer to the USA compared to the UK, given that both Barbados and the UK no longer share the same Head of State, and given that both Barbados and the USA are republics, are both in the Americas and North America at that, are both part of the Organization of American States, USA’s territory, Puerto Rico, is an observer of CARICOM, the USA has multiple territories in the Caribbean, and share other similarities, such that Barbados’s most important sport is becoming more closely tied to the USA with both countries in deep cooperation for all sorts of events, most notably the co-hosting of the 2024 Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, and given that Barbados’s most important export, Rihanna, has made her fame in the USA? These questions will hopefully be answered soon, and they do not pose a net-negative or positive, because the USA and UK are so aligned on so many things, that this would not hurt either one too much, except that a successful Barbados-USA partnership could spur republican revolutions across the Caribbean and American Commonwealth realms, as others may see having a monarchy as more of a hinderance instead of a benefit. Yet, one must also remember that Barbados is staying a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and thus competing in the Commonwealth Games, and the UK has many territories in the Caribbean, one which is in CARICOM, and five that are associate members of CARICOM, with further Commonwealth realms in CARICOM and the Caribbean, and is itself an observer member of the Organization of American States. Still, one last question that must be asked is will the Barbados Royals change their name again for 2022 to the Barbados Presidents? The irony must have been recognized with the name change this past summer following these announcements last year of Barbados becoming a republic.

Yet, the negative effects of this peaceful republican revolution are very risky too, and a lot of it stems from the ideology that took the republican movement to the forefront of making Barbados a republican country.

During the global protest for Black Lives Matter, many in the African Diaspora and elsewhere have promoted Afro-nationalismoften with anti-White hatredmixed in with socialism to promote the ironic phrase of a more inclusive society.

We saw this with many of the speeches on 29 and 30 November 2021as well as with many interactions online and leading up to the day Barbados would become a republic.

There seems to be a double standard at play, whereby European countries are called out for their atrocities but no one else is. In Barbados, this can be seen with the slavery history of this island, and because the White population is solely blamed and this is taught in both education and popular culture, especially in the republican movement in Barbados, this has the potential to lead to disastrous policies and actions.

Barbados was originally inhabited by Amerindians, the Arawaks and Kalingo (Caribs) people more specifically. Barbados would not become part of any European country until the late 15th Century when Spanish sailors claimed Barbados for the Crown of Castille, which would become the Kingdom of Spain. The Portuguese Empire would take a try with Barbados from 1532-1620, but it was the English, and later the British, that made Barbados their’s. In 1625, it would be claimed by England, and in 1627, the first permanent English residents would arrive.

The Spanish had done many slave raids, thus rendering the Native American population of Barbados down to around 0, as many were captured or left. And, by the time the Portuguese departed, which was really by 1536, Barbados was probably uninhabited. This made it easy for Barbados to be conquered by England.

Barbados would be originally worked on by Enlgish indentured servants and Irish captured into slavery. And Barbados and the West Indies were the region of English rule gaining the most settlers in the Americas at the time. Barbados originally had mostly White settlers, but in 1640, many Sephardic Jews and Dutch were expelled from Recife and Bahia in Brazil, and with them they brought the idea of growing sugar cane in Barbados. Due to the cost of White workers, the Dutch and Sephardic Jews convinced the English to bring in West African laborers instead, who were mainly enslaved by the Asante, Ewe, Fon and Fante peoples of present-day Ghana, and the Yoruba, Efik, Igbo and Ibibio peoples of Nigeria. These African peoples would sell their local slaves to the English who then made Barbados into a plantationocracy.

In 1629, 97% of Barbados was White. In 1643, 86% of Barbados was White, 14% was Black. However, by 1660, there were 51% Blacks and 49% Whites. The reason for this change is not only due to the enslaved Africans being brought into Barbados, but a lot of White small landholders were being bought out by larger land holders, and these larger land holders were replacing this White population with enslaved Blacks. In fact, in 1666, 12,000 White small land holders had either been bought out, moved, or died and by 1684, there were 34% Whites and 66% Blacks. This number would continue to increase with more Blacks as they went up to 75% in 1784. In the present-day, Blacks constitute around 91% of Barbados’s population versus the around 5% White population. And in fact, this difference can be seen way back as 1661 when the Slave Code was created in Barbados, the first of its kind in the English Americas, which legalized chattel slavery, relegating African slaves to property. This form of slavery began in 1636 in Mexico. It was very abusive and degrading and can be classified as a genocide under many definitions of the word. Barbados would truly become England’s first and then Britain’s first “profitable slave society”, that other colonies would follow such as both Carolinas in the USA, Jamaica, etceterra.

Thus, many slave rebellions pursued. Blacks were also able to give birth at much higher rates meaning that Barbadian Blacks created their own families and culture that was more independent of other British colonies. This allowed the Black population to soar into higher and higher percentages. Plus, via admixture, much of the mixed Barbadians would become so Black that by present-day standards, this has led to the 91% figure often cited for their Black population. The importance of these slave revolts was expressed by Prince Charles who stated that, “Emancipation, self-government, and independence were your waypoints. Freedom, justice, and self-determination have been your guides. Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon.” This culture of self-determination has led Barbadians to fight for their own freedom through many periods of time, as slaves, as second class citizens, as abused workers, and as citizens under a non-meritocratic and seemingly foreign Crown.

Eventually, the British Empire would outlaw the slave trade in 1807, and in 1833, would outlaw slavery altogether, and would even go to war with slave trading kingdoms and other nations mostly in Africa to free the slaves. While this did a lot for Blacks in Barbados, they were still relegated to poverty and a lack of rights. Also, people of mixed White and Black background were often treated in the middle ground, making their experience not as nice either. The majority Blacks pushed for rights to have their own unions, better working conditions, and to have more property and voting rights, as when voting rights were first allowed, it was only for property holders, men, and the wealthy, most of whom were White. Furthermore, Blacks pushed for a more liveable wage and more social services as the White plantation owners held so much power that it created poor working conditions and living conditions for the mainly Black Barbadians. Eventually, by 1950, universal franchise would come to be recognized in Barbados. Between 1958 and 1962, Barbados would be ruled by the UK, under the West Indies Federation. By 1961, Barbados got their right to self-government, and by 1966, Barbados had become an independent nation. In 2005, they stopped devolvong their judicial system to the UK and had it go to the Caribbean Court of Justice instead.

However, this history seems to be lost on the many ignorant and populist ideals of the large Black majority present on Barbados. Furthermore, the lack of economic historical knowledge mixed in with this revisionist racial history has created a microcosm seen before in other anti-Colonial nations whereby Barbados could strive to almost be completely opposite of everything their former colonists have given them, which would ruin their financial industries, their infrastructure, their academics, etcetera.

Of course, freedom, an island, cricket, the English language, their Christian faith, and their system of government will be things Barbadians do not wish to rid their nation of, nor will they wish to rid their nation of the largely White tourists who bring in the biggest boost to their economy, but reparations will be the next thing to be called for by those in Barbadian politics, and thus, it will be crucial for this next step in the Barbadian chapter to be one focused on Barbadian policies and not one based on Afro-nationalist dog whistles and calling cards in order to distract people from the realities on the ground. Given that almost all Afro-nationalists states, outside of those who have kept the Queen as their Head of State, and those with non-Black majorities like Guyana, have led to no minority rule, and oftentimes to little to no minority rights, either in law, in practice, or both, it will be interesting to see how the minority White population copes with the rising tide of “anti-Colonialism” discourse that really can turn into anti-White hatred as seen in USA’s Wisconsin or Zimbabwe, South Africa, and many institutions across the Western World real quickly.

Luckily for Barbados, while socialism might be mixed within this ideology, it mainly does not take the form of state controlled command economies, so really, in other words, it is generally capitalism with more government intervention or social democracy. This can be seen in the Barbados Labour Party, the main political party in Barbados right now, who went from socialism to social democracy, but still has a youth wing called the League of Young Socialists and is a former observer of Socialist International. For Barbados and most of the Caribbean today, they are far removed from the Black Power Marxism rebellions that happened in the Caribbean in the past, such as in Trinidad and Tobago. And the Caribbean is further removed from other forms of Black supremacy that was prevalent in Jamaica, as well as Marxism that has been prevalent in GrenadaGuyana, and is still ruling Cuba, and now Venezuela. And so far, Barbadian Afro-nationalism has not reached some of the loonacy seen in their former colonial masters, the UK, which has their Black Lives Matter calling for Christmas shoppers to divest from White owned businesses and only to shop at Black owned businesses. This type of segregation will be crucial to avoid if Barbados wants to have a great future. And thus, this could be a negative if Black nationalism is embraced to an extreme.

Still, it is important to note that socialism is often a popular term for people in the region to attach themselves too, but it does not always signal a turn toward state-control, command economies, or one party states. Even in Grenada’s four year stint with Marxist-Leninism, Grenada largely chose a market economy for at least three of those years, thus bypassing the disastrous economic policies of many Marxist and Socialist states, and furthermore, diversified much of their economy, and lowered taxes, even abolishing them for the lowest 30% of paid workers. Similarly, the Barbados Labour Party may have been socialist early on, but it advocated for democratic elections, the right to unionize, and universal adult suffrage, all of these not very characteristic of one party socialist states (private unions were/have been non-existent in most of them), but was characteristic of early socialism. And in Guyana, two Marxist parties sprung up after the Guyanese achieved independence, one being the PPP (Indo-Guyanese) and the other being the PNC (Afro-Guyanese). These two were divided on racial lines. Today, both parties are social democratic to democratic socialist, and are still competitive, although the PNC has entered into a coalition and added an extra letter as well.

However, regardless of how it comes into reality, both Afro-nationalism and socialism are still prevalent in discourse, and as evident in this peaceful revolution, can have huge results. Pan-African Socialists still have a big voice across the Caribbean as evidenced by Black Lives Matter’s popularity and with the Clement Payne Movement led by David Comissiong, who is also Barbados’s ambassador to CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States. The Clement Payne Movement has called for the recognition of Namibia’s independence and a new government of South Africa in the past, while also embracing getting rid of the Queen as Barbados’s Head of State, changing street names from European heroes to Black Barbadian heroes, making the reading of Marcus Garvey compulsory in schools, teaching Black Studies, embracing Rastafarianism, and alien land holding legislation to limit the amount of land non-Barbadians can own. Furthermore, it has embraced the Cuban revolution and Fidel Castro, as well as the Socialists in power in Venezuela. In fact, CARICOM, is now supporting a free trade agreement with Cuba, signaling a turn in rhetoric from a dangerous Cuban state, to one of a misunderstanding of the internal workings of a socialist state that has been misrepresented by US hegemony, thus appealing to the Black and lower class strugglesomething the Organization of American States has been appealing to, due to their newfound acceptance of Cuba too. David Comissiong stated that their goal, with the Prime Minister of Barbados’s support, is to get the Western European Nations to pay for reparations: “Look, this is the history. This is what you did. You systematically underdeveloped us. You siphoned off our resources for generations. The fruits of the labor of our ancestors, you siphoned off to the capitals of Europe. We are saying to you that you can’t simply walk away with your ill-gotten gains. You must come back to the scene of the crime, sit down with us, and let us discuss how you can help to repair some of the damage you have done.” But, directing these crimes merely at Europeans can have disastrous causes for the White minority if Black nationalists cannot achieve reparations via these nations, and instead look to their own White Barbadian population, which many socialists seem to have no problem with. This is already happening with the Clement Payne Movement and others in Barbados going after the Drax family whose current head is Sir Richard Drax, the richest man in the British House of Commons. This is under the National Reparations Task Force in Barbados, which will be looking into families, to target them for reparations. This is serious because families spread out so much that it is completely reasonable that all sorts of people, including Black Barbadians, could be targeted. White Barbadians will be on the lookout if they are asked or coerced to sell their property, or worse, have it taken from them. Already, they are targeting private industry from banks to insurance companies, as well as universities. The University of Glasgow has already started paying the University of the West Indies for reparations, but who exactly is footing the bill? It would not seem as anti-White if these same groups were targeting the wealth of those in Nigeria and Ghana who profited from the slave trade as well, and if these groups subtracted from the bill the British and other Western European powers are to pay, due to their role in ending legal slavery worldwide, and fighting those in Africa who did not. As in most laws, it is up to the prosecutors to prosecute, and if the bureaucracy of Barbados starts to target private wealth, and those in their bureaucracies are Black nationalists and Marxists, they will likely ignore their Black Barbadians, and only seek to prosecute those who are White, regardless of how much money they have, or how tied they are to any historical “atrocities” committed on Barbadians. Similarly, an encouragement of anti-White or anti-British sentiment, under the guise of anti-Colonialism, Pan-Africanism, or Pan-Caribbean, can lead to extrajudicial, mob, or individual crimes against Whites in Barbados, and this time, it may be up to the Barbadian authorities to uphold the law, provide security, prosecute those who committed the crime, and judge the constitution in the correct manner, that would keep Barbadians equal under the law, both de jure and de facto, and protected from criminals. The likelihood of this happening is not high if the Barbadian bureaucracy becomes more extremist. The biggest worry has to be though, with the fact that Barbados is seeking to change a lot of its laws and its Constitution, and with much of the current leadership taking cues from the progressive movements coming out of the USA, it is worrying that Barbados could adopt certain disastrous laws that states, counties, cities, and other institutions have in the USA for things like shoplifting to over-taxing to even defunding these authorities altogether. These could set forth an exodus of many industries from Barbados, especially in finances. And if White Barbadians, or other people are targeted unfairly, and the rule of law breaks down, this could signal the end for Barbados’s dominance as a successful Caribbean nation, one that is least corrupt.

Still, the bigger story has to be about the realities on the ground thus far. While some countries still in the Commonwealth realm may be a worry for anti-White hatred such as in Jamaica, Barbados does not seem to be at this level, even if they are attacking the histories of families associated with Barbados. Most Barbadians are indifferent to this movement, and look favorably toward the monarchy, even if a majority did favor Barbados to become a republic. Yet, as in all countries, it is the bureaucracy such as a David Comissiong, who may not have the support of most Barbadians, but has the expertise to garnish support among the government to become an ambassador to the major confederations and international groups Barbados is a part of. Barbadians may even be persuaded by radical rhetoric that turns into discrimination and bad economic policies, which they actually do not really support.

Thus, it will be very important in the coming years for Barbados to pursue good politics and not risk becoming too radical, something that many before them have done.

Barbados becoming a republic is steeped in a historical struggle for freedom desired by a majority of their people for nearly 400 years. With their own Head of State, Barbados seeks to capitalize on this opportunity, but should stay clear of horrible policies and ideologies already tried in other countries. Barbados needs to promote freedom for all, or risk becoming another American republic to fall to the cycle of tribalism, authoritarianism, corruption, and a lack of economic opportunities and freedom via monopolistic state control.

It has been a glorious day for republicans

Barbados 🇧🇧 has become a republic! They join the over 150 UN Member States and Observers to be a republic and the over 160 states whether recognized or not by the UN to be a republic.

Previously, Barbados was an independent sovereign state like the USA, France, Nigeria, and South Korea, but had a Queen as their Head of State. Their former Queen was the Queen of Barbados, who happened to also be the Queen of the United Kingdom, the Queen of Canada, the Queen of Australia, and so on. Thus, Barbados was a part of the Commonwealth realm, a group of now 15 independent sovereign states all with the same Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II.

Thus, previously, Barbados was a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with a Prime Minister as the Head of Government and the effective day to day leader of the country, while the Queen was officially the Head of State, with a representative known as the Governor-General who acted for the Queen on the island nation. However, with the switch, Barbados is now classified as a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic.

What this means is that Barbados now has a non-monarchical Head of State, and given the democratic norms set by the previous constitutional monarch, Barbados has elected this new non-monarchical Head of State as well, albeit indirectly. This new Head of State will be called the President of Barbados.

Barbados will continue to have a parliament, which is equivalent to a congress that other countries have, most notably the USA.

Previously, Barbados operated a parliamentary bi-caramel legislature whereby the lower house called the House of Assembly was directly elected by the people, and the upper house called the Senate was appointed by the Governor-General on behalf of the Queen, with 12 being on the advice of the Prime Minister, 2 on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, and 7 on the sole discretion of the Governor-General.

Not much will change for both the 30 member House of Assembly and for the 21 member Senate. The only difference is that now, the President will take the role of the Governor-General who held this role via the Queen. The President gets to appoint 7 members solely on their discretion, with 12 members being selected on the advice of the Prime Minister and 2 on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, but technically, all Senators will be appointed by the President.

The President will not be elected in a direct election by the people, rather, the Parliament will elect the President. The President will be nominated by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition 90 days before the previous President’s term is over. If no members of Parliament (MPs) object, the new President is elected for 4 years. If an MP objects, then both the House of Assembly and Senate need to vote to either accept or reject this candidate, and to accept, a two-thirds majority is needed in the Senate, and a two-thirds majority is needed in the House of Assembly, to elect the President. If not accepted, 60 days before the end of the current President’s term, new candidates can emerge if nominated by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, or at least 10 members of the House of Assembly. A two-thirds majority vote is needed in both separate houses like the previous example in order to confirm presidents this way. This is meant to ensure that the President stays apolitical and is meant to represent the whole nation. This also means though, that vacancies happen, and in this case, the Prime Minister with consultation with the Leader of the Opposition selects a replacement temporarily, or the President of the Senate becomes the temporary president.

The President is also not the executive, rather the executive power is vested in the Prime Minister and their cabinet. The President does still possess some reserve powers, and officially, the President appoints the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and the Senate. The President is supposed to always act in consultation with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The President’s role mainly is to assent and sign bills into law. The President also gets to veto and pocket veto these bills, although their pocket veto power is merely implied. And the President gets to prorogue, dissolve, and summon the Parliament, as well as dropping the writs of a general election at the Government House whenever the President dissolves Parliament. The President also gets to appoint judges on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, as well as to pardon offenders of the law. The President is the Commander-In-Chief of the Military of Barbados.

The Prime Minister is a much simpler position to understand as they are appointed by the President, and are a member of the House of Assembly. Realistically though, the Prime Minister is often just the leader of the majority party/majority coalition in the House of Assembly, who has already been elected as a member of the House of Assembly. If no majority exists, then the President finds an MP who is at the very least, accepted by a majority of the House of Assembly. While the President appoints the Cabinet, it is really the Prime Minister who often does, as the President must do so on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet carry out the day to day functions of the executive branch of government. As a member of Parliament, the Prime Minister is selected for a 5 year term.

Barbados has thus chosen to become a republic, but also to keep almost an identical system of government to their previous constitutional monarchy. The President is almost the same as the Governor-General through their former power via the former Queen, except that the President is the Head of State, meaning that the Head of State can be any citizen of Barbados. Previously, the Head of State of Barbados had to be a member of the Church of England, part of the House of Windsor, and the next in the line of succession. This made it so that most likely, a person from Barbados could never serve as its Head of State. Furthermore, Barbadians saw this as an insult to their independence. To many Barbadians, having the House of Windsor as their rulers, even if it was via being the Queen or King of Barbados, seemed to inhibit the true independent nature of Barbados, making them an effective colony or dependency of the United Kingdom.

Currently, the President of Barbados was the previous Governor-General of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason, and the Prime Minister of Barbados is Mia Mottley, the same as before this silent and peaceful republican revolution.

The House of Assembly is chosen by the people in accordance with first past the post plurality in single-member constituencies. There are 30 constituencies and 1 elected House of Assembly representative for each of them, elected for 5 year terms. Their terms can end shortly if dissolved, but can be re-elected after this dissolution.

Barbados achieved independence 55 years ago on 30 November 1966, but as part of the Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II remaining as their Head of State, but no longer through her role as Queen of the United Kingdom, but through her role as Queen of Barbados. Now, 55 years later on 30 November 2021, Barbadians achieved a new type of independence, one whereby Barbados is no longer a Commonwealth realm, but a republic.

Thus, Barbadians wanted to have a Head of State that could be chosen from among those born in Barbados, and they did not want a monarch from a Barbadian family to act as their royal family and Head of State either, rather they sought to rid Barbados of any unequal titles and embrace a republican culture seen in many neighboring American states like the USA, Panama, Brazil, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Barbados has remained a unitary state via this transition, which means a state whose lower subdivisions of the country such as parishes and municipalities only exist in a devolved nature, that is that they only exist so long as the central government of Barbados wants them to exist, and can be abolished without changing the constitution. This is in contrast to a federated state like in the USA or Russia where constitutional amendments are needed to take away a state’s or federal subject’s government.

Barbados has also remained a part of the Commonwealth of Nations and many other international organizations like the Organization of American States. This Commonwealth is the one that includes all Commonwealth realms plus former members of the British Empire, as well as occasionally a few others. Some like the USA are not part of this however. This group is noticeable for their Commonwealth Games they put on once every four years like the Olympic Games.

The future of a Barbadian Republic is bright if they will let it be. Good luck to Barbados as a republic and welcome to the republican club!

NCAA FBS Week 14 Rankings:

  1. Georgia 12-0 SEC
  2. Cincinnati 12-0 AAC
  3. Michigan 11-1 Big Ten
  4. Alabama 11-1 SEC
  5. Notre Dame 11-1 Independent
  6. Oklahoma State 11-1 Big 12
  7. Ole Miss 10-2 SEC
  8. San Diego State 11-1 Mountain West
  9. Baylor 10-2 Big 12
  10. Oregon 10-2 Pac-12
  11. Ohio State 10-2 Big Ten
  12. Michigan State 10-2 Big Ten
  13. Pittsburgh 10-2 ACC
  14. BYU 10-2 Independent
  15. Iowa 10-2 Big Ten
  16. Wake Forest 10-2 ACC
  17. Houston 11-1 AAC
  18. Oklahoma 10-2 Big 12
  19. Louisiana-Lafayette 11-1 Sun Belt
  20. NC State 9-3 ACC
  21. Utah 9-3 Pac-12
  22. Clemson 9-3 ACC
  23. UTSA 11-1 C-USA
  24. Kentucky 9-3 SEC
  25. Appalachain State 10-2 Sun Belt

Next 10:

  • Arkansas 8-4 SEC
  • Wisconsin 8-4 Big Ten
  • Texas A&M 8-4 SEC
  • Fresno State 9-3 Mountain West
  • Utah State 9-3 Mountain West
  • Arizona State 8-4 Pac-12
  • UCLA 8-4 Pac-12
  • Coastal Carolina 10-2 Sun Belt
  • Air Force 9-3 Mountain West
  • Minnesota 8-4 Big Ten

Best Teams in Each Division/Conference:

Big Ten West: Michigan 11-1

Big Ten East: Iowa 10-2

SEC West: Alabama 11-1

SEC East: Georgia 12-0

AAC: Cincinnati 12-0

Big 12: Oklahoma State 11-1

Independents: Notre Dame 11-1

Pac-12 North: Oregon 10-2

Pac-12 South: Utah 9-3

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 10-2

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 10-2

Mountain West West: San Diego State 11-1

Mountain West Mountain: Utah State 9-3

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 11-1

Sun Belt East: Appalachain State 10-2

C-USA West: UTSA 11-1

C-USA East: Western Kentucky 8-4

MAC West: Northern Illinois 8-4

MAC East: Kent State 7-5

Best Matchups of the Week:

Big Ten Championship Game Saturday at 5 pm PT at Lucas Oil Field Indianapolis, Indiana:

#3 Michigan (11-1) versus #15 Iowa (10-2)

SEC Championship Game Saturday at 1 pm PT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, Georgia:

#1 Georgia (12-0) versus #4 Alabama (11-1)

AAC Championship Game Saturday at 1 pm PT at Nippert Stadium Cincinnati, Ohio:

#2 Cincinnati (12-0) versus #17 Houston (11-1)

Game played at Cincinnati’s home stadium

Big 12 Championship Game Saturday at 9 am PT at AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas:

#6 Oklahoma State (11-1) versus #9 Baylor (10-2)

Pac-12 Conference Championship Game Friday at 5 pm PT at Allegiant Stadium Paradise, Nevada:

#10 Oregon (10-2) versus #21 Utah (9-3)

ACC Championship Game Saturday at 5 pm PT at Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, North Carolina:

#13 Pittsburgh (10-2) versus #16 Wake Forest (10-2)

Mountain West Conference Championship Game Saturday at 12 pm PT at Dignity Health Sports Park Carson, California:

#8 San Diego State (11-1) versus Utah State (9-3)

Game played at San Diego State’s home stadium

Sun Belt Conference Championship Game Saturday 12:30 pm PT at Cajun Field Lafayette, Louisiana:

#19 Louisiana-Lafayette (11-1) versus #25 Appalachain State (10-2)

Game played at Louisiana-Lafayette’s home stadium

C-USA Championship Game Friday at 4 pm PT at the Alamo Dome San Antonio, Texas:

#23 UTSA (11-1) versus Western Kentucky (8-4)

Game played at UTSA’s home stadium

MAC Championship Game Saturday at 9 am PT at Ford Field Detroit, Michigan:

Northern Illinois (8-4) versus Kent State (7-5)

Pakistan Releasing TTP Fighters is Not Smart

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is once again making deals with the Taliban.

This time, Pakistan is dealing with the Pakistani Taliban, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Despite numerous reports from within Pakistan and in Afghanistan and surrounding countries that the Taliban wishes to take control of Pakistan next, the Pakistanis, like the Coalition leadership in Afghanistan (minus Afghanistan itself), are listening to the Taliban’s promise of peace. In this case, it is for one month as of now.

100 TTP members will be let out of prison as a goodwill gesture.

But, this is a grave mistake for Pakistan. Once again, another country is negotiating from a position of weakness with the Taliban. With the USA under the President Trump and President Biden Administrations, their peace deals consistently gave more up to the Taliban, than the Taliban ever gave up to Afghanistan. This is lesson one of what not to do in foreign diplomacy, in business transactions, heck, even in a job interview.

Pakistan’s leaders deserve to be back stabbed by the Taliban, as they constantly due this to everyone else, but the Pakistani people do not deserve this, and letting out 100 TTP prisoners because these TTP members have agreed to lay down arms, apologize for acts committed by the TTP, and accept the laws of Pakistan is nothing more than reckless. These promises have very little verification and truth in them. The TTP still demands to open a political office in another country, reverse the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KP), and the enforcement of their version of Islamic Sharia in Pakistan. This means that the TTP still wishes to gain power by making more connections overseas, thus bypassing Pakistan’s constitutional system. This means they want to reverse the strengthening of Pakistan’s largely popular counter-terrorism effort, by recreating the FATA, which effectively acted as a mostly lawless ungoverned territory rampant in illegal activity and terrorism on the Afghanistan border, whose people largely favored Pakistan, but who often got controlled by the Taliban or other extremist groups instead. And, worst of all, the TTP still hopes to make Pakistan confide to their corrupt versions of Islam.

Yet, somehow, even with mumblings among TTP members themselves of retaking Pakistan, Pakistan has decided to free TTP members from prison.

In Afghanistan, the USA and its allies followed the same playbook with the Afghanistan Taliban, by agreeing to prisoner releases, in exchange for the Taliban to stop fighting in Afghanistan, yet the Taliban fighters off the record always admitted their end goal was to control all of Afghanistan. This allowed the Taliban to regain soldiers, and also buildup for their inevitable attacks on Afghanistan, as the Afghan military and its allies were ill-prepared because they were following the cease-fire rules. Lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan, Muska Dastageer, tweeted about how the cease-fires benefited the Taliban, as they got to regroup following their recent additions of conquered land. And, as we knew then, and know especially now, the Taliban’s released prisoners who were promised to have given up fighting, rejoined the battlefield to fight alongside the Taliban to conquer more of Afghanistan.

And this is why Pakistan’s negligence is so worrying for a nuclear weapons nation, as now they are following the same playbook as the USA’s playbook, which failed this year. Instead of taking more territory and getting more battle gains on the TTP, like the Afghan Army could have done on the Afghanistan Taliban, Pakistan has agreed to a cease-fire which allows the TTP to regroup. This is such a horrible decision, because Pakistan gains almost nothing from this, unless they actually trust the TTP to follow through on their cease-fire (temporarily saving lives). The release of prisoners only adds to TTP’s dwindling numbers. Not only should the Taliban’s word not be believed, rendering their promise to lay down arms and submit to the rule of law concession not credible, and therefore already putting the TTP ahead on concessions out of the gate like the Taliban was with their prisoner release agreement with the USA, but the cease-fire is yet another concession given up by Pakistan like the USA gave up in their deals with the Taliban, because it allows the currently much weaker TTP to rebuild unabated. Why should the TTP be rewarded for agreeing to follow the laws, if they are still calling for the laws to be broken, and are still fighting against law and order? I get carrots and sticks, but Pakistan should not be giving carrots out for bad behavior.

Now, a lot of commentators will ignore this connection as there is a common feature among the “Forever War” accusers in the West and the Islamic Extremists to separate the Afghan and Pakistan branch of the Taliban from each other, but unfortunately, outside of the official words of the groups, which have been very dishonest, their actions and the unofficial off-the-record words suggests something completely different. In fact, the TTP has been holding talks with Pakistan in the now mostly Taliban controlled Afghanistan. And, radical Pashtun-nationalists in Afghanistan, which the Taliban are, benefit most when the border areas and surrounding lands are controlled by like-minded radical Pashtun-nationalists too. The Taliban gains a lot, if they can control both sides of the Afghanistan and Pakistan border, and gains a lot if one part of Pakistan is so unstable that it falls into the hands of local leaders which the Taliban can further exploit. So, it seems odd that the Afghanistan Taliban are holding the negotiations for the Pakistan Taliban and Pakistan, in which the results of the talks largely favor the Pakistan Taliban, who wish to further Taliban rule, and strengthen Afghan Taliban dominance in the region, in deals resembling ones the Afghanistan Taliban has been making its whole existence, if the Afghanistan and Pakistan Taliban were not partnered. After all, it is the heroin trade and other illegal and illicit commerce that helps fund the Taliban, and control of borders that connect it to the sea via Pakistan would be mighty helpful to increase the power of the Taliban. The history of the TTP and the current-day TTP is filled with connections to the Taliban, especially given the fact the movement was started by Taliban and al-Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan after the USA take over, and coming to seek refuge in Pakistan. The Taliban is often seen in the political and military parts as problematic for Pakistan, but in the intelligence community under the ISI, the Taliban is almost fully supported in order to make Afghanistan dependent on Pakistan and in order to make India weaker. It is a strange game that Pakistan plays, mostly because Pakistan cannot seem to unite their intelligence, political, and military communities. It is ironic, because many Islamic extremist and anti-Western thinkers criticize the USA for the CIA creating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda against the wishes of the American people, when in fact the country that has this issue is Pakistan whose secret intelligence agency has helped fund and create the Taliban, in opposition to most Pakistani people, which in turn has led to many massacres and lots of oppression on the Pakistani people by the Pakistan Taliban. The Pakistan Taliban and Afghanistan Taliban share the same name, same origins, many of the same members, a lot of the same ideology, and often work side by side. They may officially be distant from each other, but unofficially, they often find themselves on the same team. Which is why it is no surprise that many of the Afghanistan Taliban fighters are Pakistani and many of the Afghanistan Taliban fighters have vowed to stage attacks in Pakistan.

Thus, it is a worrying notion that Pakistan is so corrupt and divided that competing parts of their central government could actually embolden the Taliban to the point that it could get powerful enough to take control of large swaths of Pakistan territory, and potentially of nuclear weapon capabilities.

But, outside of this hopefully unlikely event, the major fear is for the Pakistan people and the danger of more terrorist safe havens, and thus more terrorist attacks.

NCAA FBS Week 13:

  1. Georgia 11-0 SEC
  2. Cincinnati 11-0 AAC
  3. Alabama 10-1 SEC
  4. Ohio State 10-1 Big Ten
  5. Michigan 10-1 Big Ten
  6. Notre Dame 10-1 Independent
  7. UTSA 11-0 C-USA
  8. Oklahoma State 10-1 Big 12
  9. Oklahoma 10-1 Big 12
  10. Ole Miss 9-2 SEC
  11. San Diego State 10-1 Mountain West
  12. Michigan State 9-2 Big Ten
  13. Baylor 9-2 Big 12
  14. Wisconsin 8-3 Big Ten
  15. Pittsburgh 9-2 ACC
  16. Louisiana-Lafayette 10-1 Sun Belt
  17. Houston 10-1 AAC
  18. BYU 9-2 Independent
  19. Iowa 9-2 Big Ten
  20. Utah 8-3 Pac-12
  21. Oregon 9-2 Pac-12
  22. Texas A&M 8-3 SEC
  23. Wake Forest 9-2 ACC
  24. NC State 8-3 ACC
  25. Clemson 8-3 ACC
  • Appalachian State 9-2 Sun Belt
  • Kentucky 8-3 SEC
  • Mississippi State 7-4 SEC
  • Arkansas 7-4 SEC
  • Fresno State 8-3 Mountain West
  • Utah State 8-3 Mountain West
  • Coastal Carolina 9-2 Sun Belt
  • Oregon State 7-4 Pac-12
  • Arizona State 7-4 Pac-12
  • UCLA 7-4 Pac-12

Best Teams in Each Division/Conference:

Big Ten East: Ohio State 10-1

Big Ten West: Wisconsin 8-3

SEC East: Georgia 11-0

SEC West: Alabama 10-1

AAC: Cincinnati 11-0

Big 12: Oklahoma State 10-1

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 9-2

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 9-2

Pac-12 South: Utah 8-3

Pac-12 North: Oregon 9-2

Independents: Notre Dame 10-1

Mountain West West: San Diego State 10-1

Mountain West Mountain: Utah State 8-3

Sun Belt East: Appalachian State 9-2

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 10-1

C-USA West: UTSA 11-0

C-USA East: Western Kentucky 7-4

MAC West: Northern Illinois 8-3

MAC East: Kent State 6-5

Best Matchups Next Week:

Overall:

#4 Ohio State (10-1) at #5 Michigan (10-1) on Saturday at 9 am PT

Big Ten (besides overall best matchup):

Penn State (7-4) at #12 Michigan State (9-2) on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT

SEC:

#3 Alabama (10-1) at Auburn (6-5) on Saturday at TBA

AAC:

#2 Cincinnati (11-0) at Eastern Carolina (7-4) on Friday at 12:30 pm PT

Big 12:

#9 Oklahoma (10-1) at #8 Oklahoma State (10-1) on Saturday at 4:30 pm PT

ACC:

North Carolina (6-5) at #24 NC State (8-3) on Friday at 4 pm PT

Pac-12:

Oregon State (7-4) at #21 Oregon (9-2) on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT

Independents:

Army (7-3) at Liberty (7-4) on Saturday at 9 am PT

Mountain West:

Boise State (7-4) at #11 San Diego State (10-1) on Friday at 9 am PT

Sun Belt:

Troy (5-6) at Georgia State (6-5) on Saturday at 11 am PT

C-USA:

Western Kentucky (7-4) at Marshall (7-4) on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT

MAC:

Miami (Ohio) (6-5) at Kent State (6-5) on Saturday at 9 am PT

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window

Europe (UEFA):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

First Round: The Group Winners Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Group Runners-Ups advance to the Second Round of Qualifiers. The Top 2 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League Group Winners, who are neither Group Winners or Group Runners-Ups, advance to the Second Round of Qualifiers, which is comprised of three four team playoff semi-finals, where the three winners of these four playoff semi-finals Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. Serbia: 8; 6-2-0; +9; 18-9; 20 (Qualified for 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Portugal: 8; 5-2-1; +11; 17-6; 17 (Advanced to Second Round)
  3. Republic of Ireland: 8; 2-3-3; +3; 11-8; 9 (Eliminated)
  4. Luxembourg: 8; 3-0-5; -10; 8-18; 9 (Eliminated)
  5. Azerbaijan: 0-1-7; -13; 5-18; 1 (Eliminated)

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Matches from this Past Window:

Azerbaijan 1 Luxembourg 3

Republic of Ireland 0 Portugal 0

Luxembourg 0 Republic of Ireland 3

Portugal 1 Serbia 2

Analysis:

Serbia: Serbia stayed within reach of Portugal the whole Group, and when Portugal slipped up against the Republic of Ireland this past window, Serbia would beat Portugal to Qualify for the World Cup. Serbia has now Qualified for two straight World Cups. Serbia had a bad UEFA Nations League campaign in the 2020-2021 edition, winning a tiebreaker to stay in the Second Level, but Serbia failed to qualify for the 2020 European Championships. Serbia is one of the most talented teams in Europe and the World, but they tend not to play up to their level, which is something that Yugoslavia did as well, a country Serbia used to be a part of. If Serbia play to their highest level, anything is possible, like neighboring Croatia, who has been better in association football.

Portugal: Portugal is not eliminated, but losing at home 1-2, and that after drawing away 0-0 to the Republic of Ireland, is crushing for Portugal who led this Group the whole time. Portugal has one of the most talented teams on the planet, and looked like the best team after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, but since then, Portugal has not played up to par. Portugal struggles in World Cup play. Now, Portugal Advances to the Second Round, as favorites to Qualify yet again, but they will need to be perfect this time.

Republic of Ireland: The Republic of Ireland’s World Cup campaign started off as a disastrous campaign, but at least the Irish have gone out in style, drawing Portugal at home and winning against Luxembourg away. This put the Republic of Ireland in Third Place, which is sort of where they were expected to finish anyway. But, the Irish will be disappointed, because they really were the Fourth best team in the Group when it mattered. The Irish were eliminated before the Luxembourgers. And, 8 points back from Advancing to the Second Round is horrible for a nation that often gets close to World Cup Qualification, or Qualifies for it.

Luxembourg: Luxembourg almost looked like they could Qualify or Advance to the Second Round. But, their hot early start cooled down. Luxembourg closed out the Group with an impressive 3-1 away win, but a disastrous 0-3 home loss. Luxembourg is starting to play at the level they should be at. Sure, geographically, Luxembourg is like a micro-state, but population wise, they are like Montenegro, and Luxembourg is very very wealthy, and should be better. It is disappointing for Luxembourg to finish Fourth, when they were the Third best team or higher for the whole Group play. Still, Luxembourg is now competitive against all teams, which is an improvement. Luxembourg has been improving slowly with time, and in the last World Cup Qualifying campaign, had some good results including an away draw against France.

Azerbaijan: The good news for Azerbaijan is that they are competitive. The bad news is that they consistently lose. The Azerbaijanis need to work on their national team so that it can start winning in Europe. Believe it or not, the Azerbaijanis actually have a good team, and given how far most European nations have to travel to get there, Azerbaijan should be doing better at home and picking up some wins and draws there.

Group B:

  1. Spain: 8; 6-1-1; +10; 15-5; 19 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Sweden: 8; 5-0-3; +6; 12-6; 15 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Greece: 8; 2-4-2; 0; 8-8; 10 (Eliminated)
  4. Georgia: 8; 2-1-5; -6; 6-12; 7 (Eliminated)
  5. Kosovo: 8; 1-2-5; -10; 5-15; 5 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Georgia 2 Sweden 0

Greece 0 Spain 1

Greece 1 Kosovo 1

Spain 1 Sweden 0

Analysis:

Spain: Spain is really good again. So good that in the 2020 European Championships, Spain went undefeated, and only lost in Penalty Shootouts to Italy, while actually playing better than Italy. Spain got help from Georgia when Georgia beat Sweden, and with Spain winning against Greece, this meant Spain went into the last match in First in the Group. Spain then went onto beat their recent archnemis, Sweden, 1-0 at home to Qualify for the World Cup! Spain has the talent to win the World Cup, and they have the history to back it up having won the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Spain just needs to start winning matches consistently. They tie too much, which is why they were knocked out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2020 European Championship.

Sweden: Sweden squandered their opportunity as they had led the Group the whole time, and with a match against Georgia, and Spain playing Greece, it looked almost certain that the Swedish would win the Group. Instead, Sweden lost away against Georgia, and then lost away against Spain. Sweden needs to address their Zlatan Ibrahimović problem. Sweden plays very well without Zlatan Ibrahimović. Is he a bad teammate like the LA Galaxy players would have you believe? Does Sweden become too dependent on him when he plays and plays less as a team? What is it? Because, if Sweden can find a way to integrate Zlatan Ibrahimović into this team, Sweden would be much better. He is their best player, but they have a really good team without him that does better without him. Either way, Sweden Advanced to the Second Round, so they still can Qualify.

Greece: Greece finished where they were expected to finish, but with far less points than they were expected to finish with. Greece should have competed for a top 2 spot more than they did. Greece Advanced to the Second Round in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying before losing to Croatia in that round, 1-4, on Aggregate. In 2014, Greece Qualified for the World Cup, advancing to the Round of 16 before losing in a Penalty Shootout to Costa Rica. Now, Greece does not even get to the Second Round, and it was not even close. They were eliminated far earlier than they should have been. Greece needs to clean up their football. They did not qualify for the 2020 European Championship either, and they are still in the Third Level of the UEFA Nations League. The 2004 European Champions are now behind the North Macedonians, their archenemies.

Georgia: Georgia may not be getting the notoriety that Luxembourg or Armenia are getting with improving their football. But, they are improving like these two other nations. Georgia’s finish is their best since their 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualification campaign, and their 2020 European Championship Qualification campaign was their best since the 1996 European Championship Qualification. The Georgians may be known best for sports like wrestling, lelo burti, chess, rugby union and rugby league, and more recently, especially basketball, but Georgia is also becoming good in association football. Georgia was Promoted from the Fourth Level of the UEFA Nations League after the 2018-2019 edition, and finished well enough to stay in the Third Level after the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League. Georgia’s big win over Sweden should become a blue print for how Georgia must approach the future, which is to really emphasize home matches, because the trips are very far for most of their European counterparts, which gives Georgia a huge advantage.

Kosovo: Kosovo was a massive and huge disappointment. Kosovo did improve from their 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification campaign, but they looked much worse than their 2020 European Championship Qualification. Kosovo has good talent, and should be doing better like their other former Yugoslav nations. Kosovo took a step back this World Cup Qualification, and they have taken a step back in some of their other sports too, like basketball.

Group C:

  1. Switzerland: 8; 5-3-0; +13; 15-2; 18 (Qualified for 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Italy: 8; 4-4-0; +11; 13-2; 16 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Northern Ireland: 8; 2-3-3; -1; 6-7; 9 (Eliminated)
  4. Bulgaria: 8; 2-2-4; -8; 6-14; 8 (Eliminated)
  5. Lithuania: 8; 1-0-7; -15; 4-19; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Italy 1 Switzerland 1

Northern Ireland 1 Lithuania 0

Northern Ireland 0 Italy 0

Switzerland 4 Bulgaria 0

Analysis:

Switzerland: Switzerland is Mr. Consistent! They are consistently at every major tournament, and they are consistently playing well against the top teams of the World. And, their away draw against Italy, and then their 4-0 home thrashing against Bulgaria, meant that Switzerland Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Yet, the problem for Switzerland is not Qualifications or the Group Stage of tournaments, at least, usually it recently is not, rather the knockout stages are Switzerland’s problem. Switzerland improved this by winning against France in the 2020 European Championship Round of 16, before being knocked out in the Quarter-final. Switzerland has a deep and talented team, and should be expected to do well at the 2022 FIFA World Cup!

Italy: Italy was so high on their impressive undefeated streak, but they forgot what is most important in a league or Group format, and that is points! Italy drew too much to Qualify from the First Round, but they did win enough to Advance to the Second Round, where they will be a favorite to Qualify for the World Cup. But, the Italians were in this Round in the 2018 Qualifications, where they lost to Sweden on Aggregate and failed to Qualify. Sweden is in this Round again. The Italians will probably want to avoid the Swedish this time. Either way, the 2020 European Champions will be favored as they have one of the best teams in the World right now. Plus, the single-elimination setting will mean that the Italians do not have to worry as much about drawing, so long as they can win either in Extra Time or Penalty Shootouts. Still, it would help the Italians to not be so obsessed with drawing in Football, and more obsessed with winning.

Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland was very impressive from 2015-2018, but their impressiveness has run out. Northern Ireland in that streak went to the 2016 European Championship Round of 16, and Advanced to the Second Round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications for Europe. However, since then, they have failed to Qualify for the 2020 European Championship, and did not Advance to the Second Round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification. In fact, their UEFA Nations League campaigns have been awful, going 0-0-4 in the 2018-2019 edition, but staying in the Second Level due to changes in the 2020-2021 format, and then going 0-2-4 in the 2020-2021 edition, thus being relegated to the Third Level.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria was a team that was difficult to play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications in a group which featured France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belarus, and Luxembourg. They finished 6 points back from Advancing to the Second Round, with a 4-1-5 record. They also had an okay 2016 European Championship Qualification campaign, going 3-2-5. However, their play has gone severely down. Only 8 points from 8 matches and this is coming off of a 1-3-5 2020 European Championship Qualification. The only good thing Bulgaria did the last four years was get Promoted to the Second Level of the UEFA Nations League after the 2018-2019 edition, but they followed this up with being Relegated back to the Third Level after the 2020-2021 edition.

Lithuania: Lithuania may be trouble on the basketball court for opposition, but when it comes to the football pitch, not so much. Lithuania did worse this Qualification campaign, than the previous one for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Their 2020 European Championship Qualifying campaign was also worse than their 2016 European Championship Qualifying campaign. But, their 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League was much better than their 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League. Lithuania has been good at times, such as from 1996-2016 when they often competed quite well in Qualifications, but they have been getting much worse since. Something needs to improve for this proud Baltic country.

Group D:

  1. France: 8; 5-3-0; +15; 18-3; 18 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Ukraine: 8; 2-6-0; +3; 11-8; 12 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Finland: 8; 3-2-3; 0; 10-10; 11 (Eliminated)
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina: 8; 1-4-3; -3; 9-12; 7 (Eliminated)
  5. Kazakhstan: 8; 0-3-5; -15; 5-20; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 Finland 3

France 8 Kazakhstan 0

Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 Ukraine 2

Finland 0 France 2

Analysis:

France: France started off short of impressive, but ended the Group well. Sure, if Ukraine had won more like they should have, France would be Advancing to the Second Round, but the same could be said about this French team, the defending World Cup Champions, and now the defending UEFA Nations League Champions! Their 2020 European Championship ended in the Round of 16 in a Penalty Shootout loss, and their 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League saw them finish Second in their Group behind the Netherlands on a tiebreaker and Sixth overall. But, outside of that, France has been flawless. France keeps winning in big matches, and while everyone has been high on Italy, France has sort of been overlooked. It got so bad that people started to talk about how bad France was doing because they could not win, while they were leading their World Cup Group. France ended those doubts with their 8-0 home thrashing of Kazakhstan to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and then much to the chagrin of Finland, came out to win again and defeated Finland 2-0 away. France are probably the favorites to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as they have the deepest and possibly the most talented team. In fact, they do not even have some of their best players, as a lot of them have chosen to play for other nations like Algeria and Senegal to name two.

Ukraine: Ukraine Advanced to the Second round thanks to France who showed up in Finland to win a match they did not need to win or draw in. Ukraine got their second win in the Group over Bosnia and Herzegovina away, 2-0, which together with the French-Finnish result, meant that Ukraine would stay alive in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ukraine drew too much, or else they would probably have Qualified already. Ukraine are very talented, and if in any other continent, probably would have Qualified for every World Cup since they have been an independent country again. But, due to playing in Europe, the Ukrainians have not Qualified since 2006, where they went to the Quarter-finals! Ukraine will be a tough opposition for any team in the Second Round, having gone to the 2020 European Championship Quarter-finals. Ukraine has improved in World Cup Qualifying, having finished Third in their very difficult Group for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications, and have improved in their European Championship results. For the UEFA Nations League, they were Promoted after the 2018-2019 edition to the Top Level, and then Relegated after the 2020-2021 edition back to the Second Level.

Finland: Finland will be disappointed to not have Advanced to the Second Round, but they should be excited that their team is improving. They made it to the European Championship for the first time in the 2020 edition, they were promoted to the Second Level of UEFA Nations League after the 2018-2019 edition, and have stayed there after the 2020-2021 edition going 4-0-2 for Second Place in their Group. And, they improved in World Cup Qualifications, having their best result since the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification. Finland is improving in major sports from basketball to football and to auto racing, so it is a good time to be a Finnish sports fan.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnia and Herzegovina had a disappointing FIFA World Cup Qualification campaign. They are a really good team, but you would not know it from their Fourth Place finish in this Group. That is why European World Cup Qualifiers are so hard, because there are so many good European nations. Bosnia and Herzegovina has been getting worse since their disastrous 2014 FIFA World Cup Group Stage campaign. They need to look at what they can do better, to change their trajectory. They did get promoted after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League to the Top Level, but were Relegated after the 2020-2021 edition to the Second Level.

Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan is really good in Futsal, but in Football, not so much. They have failed to win a FIFA World Cup Qualification Match since the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifications. They have not faired well in the European Championship Qualifiers either. In the UEFA Nations League, they were first Promoted from the Fourth Level to the Third Level after the 2018-2019 edition, but are in a playoff to stay up in the Third Division, potentially being Relegated to the Fourth Division after the 2020-2021 edition. Kazakhstan is just not doing very well in Europe. However, the last time they did do well in World Cup Qualification, was in 2002 where they went 4-2-0, but finished in Second in their Group, tied for First, due to a tiebreaker in the Asian Qualifications. It may behoove Kazakhstan to go back to the AFC, where they could excel. However, they are elite in futsal, and playing Europe keeps them really good. So, this transcontinental country may be best to stay in Europe for football, because their futsal depends on it.

Group E:

  1. Belgium: 8; 6-2-0; +19; 25-6; 20 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Wales: 8; 4-3-1; +5; 14-9; 15 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Czech Republic: 8; 4-2-2; +5; 14-9; 14 (Advanced to the Second Round via Nations League)
  4. Estonia: 8; 1-1-6; -12; 9-21; 4 (Eliminated)
  5. Belarus: 8; 1-0-7; -17; 7-24; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Belgium 3 Estonia 1

Wales 5 Belarus 1

Czech Republic 2 Estonia 0

Wales 1 Belgium 1

Analysis:

Belgium: Belgium is the current #1 Team, having finished Third Place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, having gone to the Quarter-finals of the 2016 and 2020 European Championship, and having finished Fifth Place at the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, and finishing Fourth Place at the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League. This in addition to going to the Quater-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Belgium continued their dominance by Qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with their 3-1 home win over Estonia. Belgium has very good attacking capabilities and have the potential to win the World Cup in 2022.

Wales: Wales finished Second in the Group which was good enough to Advance to the Second Round. Wales looks good, and could do some damage in the Second Round. Wales has not Qualified for a World Cup since 1958, but their recent European Championship form suggests that they may be ready to go once again, having gotten Third Place at the 2016 edition, and having gotten to the Round of 16 in the 2020 edition. Wales played in the Second Level of the UEFA Nations League the past two editions, and in this most recent edition, earned Promotion up to the Top Level for the 2022-2023 edition. Wales is improving. So they should be excited for the Second Round.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic Advanced to the Second Round via the Nations League route, and is trying to use their momentum of having been 2020 European Championship Quarter-finalists, and having been a Second Level UEFA Nations League team for the first two editions only to earn Promotion in this most recent edition for the 2022-2023 edition to their advantage. The Czechs have not been to the World Cup since 2006, and will look to do so once again. They are improving, although, maybe not quite as good as their #2 ranked team in 2006.

Estonia: Estonia got worse this World Cup Qualifying campaign than the previous one for 2018, and got worse in the most recent European Championship Qualifying campaign than their 2016 Qualifying campaign. Estonia played in the Third Level the past two UEFA Nations League, but now will have to battle to keep their spot or potentially be relegated in a UEFA Nations League playoff for the 2022-2023 edition. Estonia has gotten worse, but at least they did not finish last place in this Group.

Belarus: Belarus did so well in the 2018 World Cup Qualification, as they were competitive in a very difficult Group. Belarus also did worse in their 2020 European Championship Qualification, than in their 2016 Qualification. Belarus has done well in the UEFA Nations League though, having earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 edition from the Fourth Level to the Third Level, and having finished Second in their Group in the 2020-2021 edition, thus staying in the Third Level for the 2022-2023 UEFA Nations League.

Group F:

  1. Denmark: 10; 9-0-1; +27; 30-3; 27 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Scotland: 10; 7-2-1; +10; 17-7; 23 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Israel: 10; 5-1-4; +2; 23-21; 16 (Eliminated)
  4. Austria: 10; 5-1-4; +2; 19-17; 16 (Advanced to the Second Round via Nations League)
  5. Faroe Islands: 10; 1-1-8; -16; 7-23; 4 (Eliminated)
  6. Moldova: 10; 0-1-9; -25; 5-30; 1 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Moldova 0 Scotland 2

Austria 4 Israel 2

Denmark 3 Faroe Islands 1

Austria 4 Moldova 1

Israel 3 Faroe Islands 2

Scotland 2 Denmark 0

Denmark: Denmark performed very well in this Group, having won their first 9 matches, and were the hottest team in Europe. However, their loss to Scotland put an end to Denmark’s momentum they could have used at the 2022 World Cup, and puts their Top 10 status in jeapordy, thus making it harder for Denmark to get their own Group at the 2022 World Cup. Denmark Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the October Window. Denmark looks really good, and finished Third in the 2020 European Championship, after getting to the Round of 16 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Denmark is doing very well, having earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League from the Second Level to the Top Level, and finishing Second in their Group ahead of England in the 2020-2021 edition.

Scotland: Scotland is playing very well! Scotland Qualified for their first European Championship since 1996, after Qualifying for the 2020 edition, and will now look to Qualify for their first World Cup since 1998. Scotland finished last in their Group for the 2020 European Championship, but played competitively against each team. In the UEFA Nations League, Scotland earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 edition from the Third Level to the Second Level, and that is where Scotland stayed after the 2020-2021 edition. Scotland is scoring well right now, which is good.

Israel: Israel finished Third, which was real impressive. Israel is Eliminated, but they are doing better. Israel also failed to Qualify for the 2020 European Championship. Israel earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League from the Third Level to the Second Level, and have stayed there after the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League.

Austria: Austria did not play up to the level they are capable of playing in this Group, as they should have been closer to finishing First, but they are still Advancing to the Second Round, via the Nations League route. Austria made it to the Round of 16 in the 2020 European Championship, and after two season in the Second Level of the UEFA Nations League, earned Promotion so that in the 2022-2023 UEFA Nations League, Austria will be in the Top Level. Austria has tons of talent, and will be difficult for any nation to defeat in the Second Round. Austria is improving, even if they took a step back in these Qualifiers.

Faroe Islands: Faroe Islands are competitive now, with everyone. They are doing well. It is no longer, just go to the Faroe Islands and get an automatic win. Nations are really having to go all out to defeat the Faroese. The Faroe Islands did worse in their 2020 European Championship Qualification than in their 2016 campaign, but outside of this, the Faroe Islands has been improving, so much so that after two seasons of the Fourth Level of the UEFA Nations League, the Faroe Islands earned Promotion to the Third Level for the 2022-2023 season. Things are looking up for the Faroe Islands, and if they can keep improving, who knows, maybe they can be like Iceland in 2016 and 2018. Plus, the Faroese probably are benefitting greatly from Danish born players, considering both are constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Moldova: Moldova is doing pitiful. For how big they are, and how good some of the clubs are in their domestic league, Moldova should not be doing this bad. They are underperforming. They have done bad in their last two World Cup and European Championship Qualifications now, earning only 1 win across those last 4 Qualification campaigns. Moldova earned Promotion from the Fourth Level to the Third Level after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, but after the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League, will need to win a playoff to either stay up or become relegated back down to the Fourth Level for the 2022-2023 edition.

Group G:

  1. Netherlands: 10; 7-2-1; +25; 33-8; 23 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Turkey: 10; 6-3-1; +11; 27-16; 21 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Norway: 10; 5-3-2; +7; 15-8; 18 (Eliminated)
  4. Montenegro: 10; 3-3-4; -1; 14-15; 12 (Eliminated)
  5. Latvia: 10; 2-3-5; -3; 11-14; 9 (Eliminated)
  6. Gibraltar: 10; 0-0-10; -39; 4-43; 0 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Norway 0 Latvia 0

Turkey 6 Gibraltar 0

Montenegro 2 Netherlands 2

Gibraltar 1 Latvia 3

Montenegro 1 Turkey 2

Netherlands 2 Norway 0

Analysis:

Netherlands: The Netherlands Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with their 2-0 home win over Norway. While the Netherlands may have started off not so good, they did end up Qualifying, which they failed to do for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Netherlands had also failed to Qualify for the 2016 European Championship. But, for the 1974, 1978, and 2010 World Cup Runners-Up, and the 2014 World Cup Third Place team, this is now behind them. In the 2020 European Championship, the Netherlands finished in Ninth Place. In the UEFA Nations League, in 2018-2019, the Netherlands finished Second Place, and in 2020-2021, the Netherlands finished in Sixth Place. The Netherlands are starting to get much better again, and could be a favorite by the time the 2022 FIFA World Cup rolls around.

Turkey: Turkey started off really good, and then stumbled, and then finished well in this Group. Turkey’s 2-1 away win over Montenegro secured the Turkish their Second Round Advancement. Turkey did well this past window. Turkey has not done too well, however, in European competitions as of late, finishing 24th out of 24 teams at the 2020 European Championship, and after two seasons of Second Level UEFA Nations League football, being relegated to the Third Level for the 2022-2023 edition. Still, Turkey is one of the most talented teams in the World. If Turkey do Qualify for the World Cup, they will be a favorite to go far, as their last World Cup they Qualified for, in 2002, Turkey finished Third Place.

Norway: Norway had a terrible end to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, failing to beat Latvia away, and then failing to beat the Netherlands away. Norway, however, has still improved so much. Norway were Promoted from the Third Level to the Second Level of UEFA Nations League play after the 2018-2019 edition where they have been playing since. And, while Norway did not Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup or the 2020 European Championship, their style of football is still so good and fun to watch, that these improvements should show in terms of major tournament Qualification soon. Norwegians just may have to be patient for around three more years when their next opportunity comes up. Still, Norway is too good to have not won against Latvia. A win against Latvia would have given Norway more momentum to have played better against the Netherlands.

Montenegro: Montenegro did worse this World Cup campaign, and the most previous 2020 European Championship Qualification campaign. Montenegro seems to be getting worse, however, in the UEFA Nations League, Montenegro is improving, earning Promotion for the first time from the Third Level to the Second Level for the 2022-2023 edition.

Latvia: Latvia may have only had wins over Gibraltar, but their standings are still a sign Latvia is improving. Latvia have gotten better in the European Championship (2020) and World Cup (2022) Qualifications. In the UEFA Nations League, not so much, as the Latvians will be in the Fourth Level for the third time in the 2022-2023 edition.

Gibraltar: Gibraltar did not show the progression they had previously shown, which is worrisome for their national team. Gibraltar only showed slight improvements from the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Campaigns, while Gibraltar showed much bigger improvements in their 2020 European Championship Qualification compared to their 2016 European Championship Qualification. Gibraltar did earn Promotion for the first time from the Fourth Level to the Third Level of the UEFA Nations League, for the 2022-2023 season. Yet, this is partly, if not mostly, because Gibraltar had a really easy Group consisting of Liechtenstein and San Marino. The point is, Gibraltar needs to improve faster, more, and better.

Group H:

  1. Croatia: 10; 7-2-1; +17; 21-4; 23 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Russia: 10; 7-1-2; +13; 19-6; 22 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Slovakia: 10; 3-5-2; +7; 17-10; 14 (Eliminated)
  4. Slovenia: 10; 4-2-4; +1; 13-12; 14 (Eliminated)
  5. Cyprus: 10; 1-2-7; -17; 4-21; 5 (Eliminated)
  6. Malta: 10; 1-2-7; -21; 9-30; 5 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Russia 6 Cyprus 0

Malta 1 Croatia 7

Slovakia 2 Slovenia 2

Croatia 1 Russia 0

Malta 0 Slovakia 6

Slovenia 2 Cyprus 1

Analysis:

Croatia: Croatia looked great against Malta, and bad against Russia, lucky to get a win over Russia. Still, Croatia won and Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Croatia has played well over the last four years against teams ranked outside the top 10. Sure, there have been some upsets like a loss in Hungary, a loss in Slovenia, and a draw against Jordan, but overall, Croatia has done enough to stay in the Top Level of UEFA Nations League, to Qualify for the European Championship and get to the Round of 16 there, and now Qualify directly for the World Cup! For most nations, that would be considered a major success. For the defending World Cup Runners-Up, who still feel cheated due to strange VAR decisions against them in a Final four years ago, these past four years have been bad. Croatia has not done well against the top 10, in fact, has done almost terribly. Almost because they have beaten Spain once, but they have done bad against top 10 teams. And, needing an own goal to defeat Russia is not an amazing result. Still, the Croatians did something they did not do last World Cup Qualifying, and that is win their Group and Qualify for the World Cup from the First Round! And, while their Group may have not been as hard at the bottom as last World Cup Qualifying (Finland and Kosovo verse Cyprus and Malta), it was arguably harder at the top, and it still was a group with no bad teams.

Russia: Russia did very well against Cyprus, and if they play like that, they will Qualify for the World Cup! They also did well away to Croatia, but were unlucky to give up an own goal. Still, the Russians Advanced to the Second Round. They have not been playing up to their 2018 World Cup level since the 2018 World Cup, but they are staying in the hunt, and are slowly improving to reach that level again.

Slovakia: Slovakia could have done more in this group, but did not. Still, they are now a consistent nation who can play well against all nations. The Slovakians may desire more, and they should, but looking at the top 2 teams in this group, a 2018 World Cup Quarter-finalist and the 2018 World Cup Runners-Up, the Slovakians did well to get Third.

Slovenia: Slovenia got their huge home win over Croatia to start their 2022 World Cup Qualifying, but since then, they never really did much. Still, they finished Fourth, which is one place below where many Slovenians thought they should finish. Slovenians should expect to be in World Cups. They have really good players. And in fact, they may have had the two best players in this Group. Unfortunately for them, both of them play the same position, goalkeeper, so they cannot really play at the same time.

Cyprus: Cyprus should do better! They have big name club teams, and they have lots of people, and they have money. They should not be barely finishing Fifth in a Group. But, this Group was difficult, and it is not like they should have finished higher, it is just that they should have had more points.

Malta: Malta still looks to be improving. Malta should become like a Luxembourg soon, where they may be small, but they are winning matches and staying competitive with lots of teams. But, this past November window, Malta looked bad.

Group I:

  1. England: 10; 8-2-0; +36; 39-3; 26 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Poland: 10; 6-2-2; +19; 30-11; 20 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Albania: 10; 6-0-4; 0; 12-12; 18 (Eliminated)
  4. Hungary: 10; 5-2-3; +6; 19-13; 17 (Eliminated)
  5. Andorra: 10; 2-0-8; -16; 8-24; 6 (Eliminated)
  6. San Marino: 10; 0-0-10; -45; 1-46; 0 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Andorra 1 Poland 4

England 5 Albania 0

Hungary 4 San Marino 0

Albania 1 Andorra 0

Poland 1 Hungary 2

San Marino 0 England 10

Analysis:

England: England impressed this past window, really taking care of business in both matches, leaving nothing to chance. This is the England that people have needed to see for their whole history to be frank. England often leaves matches to chance, when they need wins, and they did not do this in this past window. Sure, a win over San Marino may be expected, but nonetheless, a 10-0 win is really good, and a 5-0 win over Albania is really good as well and England has now Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Still, people need to put into context the Group they were in, which outside of Poland and Hungary, was a Group England was expected to win comfortably in.

Poland: Poland may have Advanced to the Second Round, but they look okay. Poland used to be a nation on the brink of something big! They were Top 10, they had the best striker, and they were winning consistently. Right now, Poland just does not look good enough. They need to vastly improve for the Second Round if they want to Qualify for the World Cup.

Albania: Albania improved a lot this World Cup cycle. They did well to get Third Place, however, they did very poorly in this past window. Albania had a good chance to Advance to the Second Round, but did not show up in November. However, Albania should build off of this, and treat Qualifying for the World Cup as a realistic hope from now on.

Hungary: Like Romania, a new big stadium, and no World Cup to show for it! Hungary took a step forward it seemed in the European Championships, but they did not carry that over to World Cup Qualifying. Still, they almost Advanced to the Second Round via the Nations League route, and they did perform well this past window.

Andorra: Andorra did well to play competitively with a lot of teams. However, only beating San Marino and getting no other points has to be a step backwards. Andorra should be beating San Marino, according to their current progression, but this Catalan speaking country should also be picking up points against other nations. Last World Cup cycle, they defeated Hungary. Still, they did finish Fifth, where they were expected to finish. But, this was possibly their best chance to qualify for a World Cup, as it is not usual to have two micro-states in one group (San Marino and Andorra are considered micro-states, and usually do not do well in matches).

San Marino: Pitiful performance, and that is after a disastrous Nations League campaign where they had Liechtenstein and Gibraltar in their group. You would have thought that San Marino could pick up at least 1 point against Andorra, and at least one win in four matches against Liechtenstein and Gibraltar, but no. San Marino, however, did at least score 1 goal. Still, for the oldest sovereign state still in existence in the world, you would think that they could pick up at least 1 point every now and then. They may be mostly amateurs, but they are a rich country, and they need to demand more from their national team. Sixth Place was expected, but they may never get a better group to get a win in, as stated in the Andorra analysis, two micro-states in one group is not normal.

Group J:

  1. Germany: 10; 9-0-1; +32; 36-4; 27 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. North Macedonia: 10; 5-3-2; +12; 23-11; 18 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Romania: 10; 5-2-3; +5; 13-8; 17 (Eliminated)
  4. Armenia: 10; 3-3-4; -11; 9-20; 12 (Eliminated)
  5. Iceland: 10; 2-3-5; -6; 12-18; 9 (Eliminated)
  6. Liechtenstein: 10; 0-1-9; -32; 2-34; 1 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Armenia 0 North Macedonia 5

Germany 9 Liechtenstein 0

Romania 0 Iceland 0

Armenia 1 Germany 4

Liechtenstein 0 Romania 2

North Macedonia 3 Iceland 1

Analysis:

Germany: Germany is back to dominating teams they are better than. They had already Qualified for the World Cup in the October Window, but doubled down on their dominance winning by a combined score of 13-1 over these two matches this past window. Germany has won 4 World Cups, and will hope to tie Brazil for the most World Cups won at 5 in 2022. The Germans had a tough European Championship being knocked out in the Round of 16, and have not looked good in the UEFA Nations League finishing 11th and 8th respectively.

North Macedonia: North Macedonia came out and took care of business. There was no messing around in their away win over Armenia, and their home win over Iceland, while maybe a little nervy for 11 minutes or so in the Second Half, was again taken care of. North Macedonia will be in the Second Round of Qualifiers. North Macedonia has been improving in Europe too, qualifying for their first European Championship for the 2020 edition, finishing 23rd, and were promoted from the Fourth Level to the Third Level of the UEFA Nations League after the 2018-2019 edition, and has played there since.

Romania: Romania was the clear second best team in this group to start the qualifiers, but they managed to squander their chances away. A draw to Iceland at home was disastrous to their Qualifying hopes. In this past window, Romania’s lone win was 2-0 over Liechtenstein, which was a close match until an 87th Minute Goal put Romania ahead 2-0. Romania failed to Qualify for the 2020 European Championship, and are currently a Second Level UEFA Nations League team after earning Promotion in the 2018-2019 edition. Like Hungary, Romania has a new huge stadium, but no World Cup to show for it since it was built.

Armenia: Armenia started off very good, but ended poorly in this Group. Still, they were expected to get Fifth in the Group, but got Fourth. Armenia can build off of this for the future, even if this past window looked like the Armenia of the past. Armenia is improving in Europe as well, having earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 and the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations Leagues and is now a Second Level side. However, Armenia failed to Qualify for the 2020 European Championship.

Iceland: Iceland did not do well this World Cup Qualifying. Iceland was a Top Level side in the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, a Quarter-finalist at the 2016 European Championships, and a World Cup team in 2018, but now, they do not look good again. Iceland needs to reevaluate their football, or suffer future years of mediocrity at best. They have the talent to do better. Iceland did not Qualify for the 2020 European Championship, and is a combined 0-0-10 side in the UEFA Nations League, and have been relegated to the Second Level for the 2022-2023 edition.

Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein may be small, but still, 2 goals in 10 matches when there are plenty of professional footballers on their team. This is inexcusable. Liechtenstein is a rich country with good skiing. While they were expected to finish Sixth Place in the Group, Liechtenstein was still expected to do better than they showed. -32 Goal Difference is something for an amateur side to do, not a professional side. Liechtenstein has had a mixed bag over the past 4 years, having not improved in European Qualifiers, having improved in World Cup Qualifiers, and improved in the Fourth Level of the UEFA Nations League from 2018-2019 to 2020-2021. Fourth Level is where they will be for the 2022-2023 edition as well.

UEFA 2020-2021 Nations League Group Winners Route:

  1. France (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Spain (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  3. Italy (Advanced to Second Round as Group Runners-Up)
  4. Belgium (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  5. Wales (Advanced to the Second Round as Group Runners-Up)
  6. Austria (Advanced to the Second Round via Nations League)
  7. Czech Republic (Advanced to the Second Round via Nations League)
  8. Hungary (Eliminated)
  9. Slovenia (Eliminated)
  10. Montenegro (Eliminated)
  11. Albania (Eliminated)
  12. Armenia (Eliminated)
  13. Gibraltar (Eliminated)
  14. Faroe Islands (Eliminated)

Qualified For the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Spain
  • Serbia
  • England
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands

Advanced to the Second Round:

  • Portugal
  • Scotland
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Wales
  • Turkey
  • Poland
  • North Macedonia
  • Ukraine

Asia (AFC):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Third Round: The Group Winners and Group Runners-Ups qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Group Third Place teams advance to play each other in a playoff in the Fourth Round, with the winner advancing to the Intercontinental Playoff, to either play the South American Fifth Place, North American Fourth Place, or Oceanian First Place nation for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. IR Iran: 6; 5-1-0; +9; 11-2; 16
  2. South Korea: 6; 4-2-0; +6; 8-2; 14
  3. UAE: 6; 1-3-2; -1; 4-5; 6
  4. Lebanon: 6; 1-2-3; -2; 4-6; 5
  5. Iraq: 6; 0-4-2; -6; 3-9; 4
  6. Syria: 6; 0-2-4; -6; 5-11; 2

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

South Korea 1 UAE 0

Lebanon 1 IR Iran 2

Iraq 1 Syria 1

Iraq 0 South Korea 3

Syria 0 IR Iran 3

Lebanon 0 UAE 1

Analysis:

IR Iran: IR Iran got two very important away wins to continue down their path of leading their group. While South Korea may be the more known team for World Cup success as of late from their Group, IR Iran is looking more dominant right now. Plus, IR Iran is scoring more than last World Cup Qualifiers. IR Iran looks really good. IR Iran finished Third Place in the 2019 Asian Cup.

South Korea: South Korea did very well to get two wins in this past window. South Korea continues to show that they are a Top 2 team in this group, which will qualify them for the 2022 FIFA World Cup if their standings hold. However, a concerning thing for South Korea, is that their attack is supposed to be a strong suit, but they only have 8 goals through 6 matches in this round of Qualifiers. South Korea may get away with not scoring many goals for the remainder of this Qualifying Group, as they are 8 points in front of the Third Place team, but they desperately need to get their shooting boots on for the World Cup, if they do Qualify. South Korea finished Fifth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

UAE: The UAE has been lackluster their whole World Cup campaign, consistently underperforming, and losing and drawing against teams they should win against. This round of Qualifiers, the UAE was making the age old mistake, since FIFA has gone to 3 points for a win instead of 2 points for a win, and that is that the UAE has been drawing a lot! It is better to go 1-0-1 than 0-2-0 and this past window, UAE showed this as they are now in the Fourth Round spot, which keeps them in World Cup contention. While it may be almost impossible for the UAE to finish Second or First Place in this Group at this point, finishing Third is still very desirable. The UAE has the talent to Qualify for the World Cup, but they just need to convert on their chances and score! They currently have the best scorer at this World Cup Qualifications, Ali Mabkhout, who scored in their win over Lebanon. The UAE finished Fourth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup, which the UAE hosted.

Lebanon: Lebanon lost two close matches at home, which now sees them in Fourth Place in their Group, and in a position that would see them Eliminated from the World Cup should these standings hold. Lebanon may not have some of the big name players that IR Iran, South Korea, or the UAE have, but they have a lot of talent. They just cannot afford to lose home matches like this, and they did. Lebanon is playing above its expected level however. Syria and Iraq, as well as the UAE, are expected to be better, along with IR Iran and South Korea. Lebanon finished Seventeenth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Iraq: Iraq has to be upset with themselves. They are a very good footballing nation, with big stadiums, lots of fans, and big clubs. But, they do not get to play in Iraq. And, frankly they seem to just be playing for that Third Place spot in the Group. This means that their attacking is atrocious! 3 Goals in 6 Matches! That is not good enough to Qualify for a World Cup. Iraq finished Eleventh at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Syria: It may seem harsh to pick on Syria during these times, but it is only right! Syria in the last World Cup Qualifiers finished Third Place in this Round and would play Australia in the Fourth Round. They looked good, and they looked like a nation who could be improving. But, during this Round of the World Cup, they have been bad. However, they are scoring better than the UAE, Lebanon, and Iraq, so that is a positive. Syria needs to keep scoring as that is more of their strength. Play less for draws at this point, and more for wins. Syria finished in the Group Stage of the 2019 Asian Cup.

Group B:

  1. Saudi Arabia: 6; 5-1-0; +6; 9-3; 16
  2. Japan: 6; 4-0-2; +2; 5-3; 12
  3. Australia: 6; 3-2-1; +5; 9-4; 11
  4. Oman: 6; 2-1-3; -1; 6-7; 7
  5. PR China: 6; 1-2-3; -4; 7-11; 5
  6. SR Vietnam: 6; 0-0-6; -8; 4-12; 0

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Australia 0 Saudi Arabia 0

SR Vietnam 0 Japan 1

PR China 1 Oman 1

PR China 1 Australia 1

Oman 0 Japan 1

SR Vietnam 0 Saudi Arabia 1

Analysis:

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is the best nation going right now in Asia. They have the harder of the two groups, and they are doing great. While their goal scoring could be better, they still have 9 goals in 6 matches, as good as anyone else in the Group. Their away draw in Australia was a big point to keep Saudi Arabia out in front of the rest of the Group, and then their 1-0 win over Vietnam was enough to keep their pacing 4 points higher of the Second Place team. Saudi Arabia finished Twelfth at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Japan: Japan is finally in a World Cup Qualifying spot, with their not super impressive, but away wins over Vietnam and Oman. These were good wins for the Blue Samurai who now are in Second Place. However, their goal scoring is atrocious so far. But, if their defense continues to play this well, and they can score 1 goal a match, they should Qualify for the World Cup. Japan finished as Runners-up of the 2019 Asian Cup.

Australia: Australia had two draws this past window. That has pushed Australia into the Third Place position, which is not good for the Socceroos who have been staying within 2 points of Saudi Arabia this whole Group. The Socceroos had been scoring very well, but after this window, their scoring is no longer a quality that sets them apart from the rest in this Group, but it should be. For Australia to Qualify, they need to score more goals like they had been doing. Australia finished Seventh Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Oman: Oman did a good job to get 1 point away against PR China, but, since PR China is playing in the UAE right now, it is more of a home match for Oman. Oman needed to win this match, but they failed to, making their Qualifying hopes less likely. Their other result was a 0-1 loss away to Japan, which is a fair result given how good Japan is, but again, if Oman wants to Qualify for the World Cup, they have to win against the good teams. This past window saw Oman go from Third Place, down to Fourth Place, and now is 4 points off from Third Place with only 4 matches to go in this Group. Oman finished Sixteenth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

PR China: PR China may have only gotten 2 points from this past window, but who they got it against matters. While you would rather win and lose than draw and draw in many cases, sometimes, it is better to draw and draw if you need the two teams you are playing against to not get 3 points. PR China did that to stay within 2 points of Oman and 6 points of Australia. Last World Cup Qualifying, in this Round, PR China made a valiant comeback to get within 1 point of Third Place. This World Cup Qualifying, PR China looks to do the same, and now has an okay chance to do this. Yes, wins were most likely needed, but if PR China was going to draw, these two teams were the teams to draw against. PR China finished Sixth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

SR Vietnam: SR Vietnam has made significant in-roads to get to this stage, and are competitive right now with these teams. This is a good sign. SR Vietnam still has a slight chance to Qualify for the World Cup, but they would need either South Korea or Australia to not get more than 12 points, along with Oman and PR China. Overall, SR Vietnam just has not been good this Round of Qualifiers. SR Vietnam finished in Eighth Place in the 2019 Asian Cup.

How did the Host Nation do this Past Window:

Qatar: Qatar continued their terrible run of from, losing away to Serbia 0-4 and drawing away to Azerbaijan 2-2. From 24 March to 24 July, Qatar’s record was 8-2-0, with a 3-1-0 record in competitive matches (CONCACAF Gold Cup), but since then, Qatar has gone 0-2-6, which includes a 0-0-1 record in competitive matches (CONCACAF Gold Cup). Qatar plays in the FIFA Arab Cup towards the end of November and into December, which is a competition that this year, acts as a replacement for the FIFA Confederations Cup, in that it is held 1 year before and is seen as a practice run for the World Cup. Instead of the best teams from each Continent, the defending World Cup Champions, and the Host Nation playing in a very difficult tournament, it will be Arab nations who had to Qualify for this tournament, plus Host Nation Qatar, another of the Arab nations. While the FIFA World Cup will feature 32 nations with each continent having Qualifying opportunities and will last from 21 November to 18 December 2022, this tournament will only feature 16 nations with only members of the Union of Arab Football Associations having the opportunity to Qualify. These include 23 nations in Africa and Asia: Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Syria, Mauritania, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and Sudan who all Qualified, as well as Libya, Comoros, Yemen, Kuwait, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Somalia who did not Qualify. Algeria and Morocco will be sending their A Teams, which is deceiving. This means these are their teams that are made up of their best players who play in their own domestic leagues. The A Teams usually compete in this tournament called the African Nations Championship, for all local national teams as CAF calls them. It is tough to know which nations will have which players, but nonetheless, it will be good for Qatar to get more competition to get better. And, with Qatar having a very good team, with the two best teams sending the team that is not their best team, this gives Qatar a good chance of winning this tournament, giving a boost to Qatari confidence that may be needed following this poor run of form as of late. Qatar’s last 3 competitive tournament results were becoming 2019 Asian Cup Champions, 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America Tenth Place, and 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Third Place! They have done well, with a combined record of 10-2-3. They also competed in the 2019 Arabian Gulf Cup, but only went 2-0-2 and only made it to the Semi-finals. Qatar competed in the 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America and 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup as an invited guest nation.

Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Qatar (Host Nation)

Africa (CAF):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Second Round: The Group Winners advance to the Third Round.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. Algeria: 6; 4-2-0; +21; 25-4; 14 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Burkina Faso: 6; 3-3-0; +8; 12-4; 12 (Eliminated)
  3. Niger: 6; 2-1-3; -4; 13-17; 7 (Eliminated)
  4. Djibouti: 6; 0-0-6; -25; 4-29; 0 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Burkina Faso 1 Niger 1

Djibouti 0 Algeria 4

Niger 7 Djibouti 2

Algeria 2 Burkina Faso 2

Analysis:

Algeria: Algeria tied too much! The 1990 and 2019 African Champions, and thus the defending African Champions have been considered either the best or within the Top 5 of Africa since their 2014 Word Cup Campaign, which saw them go to the Round of 16, and get knocked out in Extra Time to eventual 2014 World Cup Champions, Germany. Algeria has made it to three other World Cups, including in 2010 where they were very impressive, having a chance to advance to the knockout stages until stoppage time of their final Group Stage match. Algeria Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, and is a favorite if not the favorite to Qualify from the Third Round to the 2022 World Cup. Still, it is a bit worrying that Algeria only drew against their only real threat in this Group. Algeria Advanced to the Third Round with their 2-2 home draw against Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso looked good and really challenged Algeria well. Burkina Faso Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, after failing to Qualify for the 2019 edition, and will be looking to ride their momentum from this Group there.

Niger: Niger failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 editions of the African Cup of Nations. However, Niger did look good in this Group to the extent that they took care of the matches they were expected to win, like against Djibouti. If Niger can keep up this momentum, they could find themselves in the African Cup of Nations soon.

Djibouti: Djibouti was by far the weakest team, not just in this Group, but in the Second Round for all of Africa. Djibouti also did not Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 editions of the African Cup of Nations. Still, it was impressive for Djibouti to show slight improvements and make it this far in World Cup Qualifications.

Group B:

  1. Tunisia: 6; 4-1-1; +9; 11-2; 13 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Equatorial Guinea: 6; 3-2-1; +1; 6-5; 11 (Eliminated)
  3. Zambia: 6; 2-1-3; -1; 7-8; 7 (Eliminated)
  4. Mauritania: 6; 0-2-4; -9; 2-11; 2 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Zambia 4 Mauritania 0

Equatorial Guinea 1 Tunisia 0

Tunisia 3 Zambia 1

Mauritania 1 Equatorial Guinea 1

Analysis:

Tunisia: Tunisia is looking to make their Sixth World Cup after Advancing to the Third Round, following Tunisia’s 3-1 home win over Zambia. Tunisia is coming off of a Fourth Place finish at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and the 2004 African Champions have now Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Tunisia Qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and made it to the Group Stage as the Third Place team in their Group, and is looking to get back there and do better this next time.

Equatorial Guinea: Equatorial Guinea competed well. The 2015 African Cup of Nations Fourth Place team Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, their first African Cup of Nations since they hosted it in 2015. Equatorial Guinea is once again on the way up, they just got put into a Group which featured Tunisia, who is very difficult to finish ahead of.

Zambia: Zambia should have been better. The 2012 African Champions have failed to Qualify now for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the 2021 African Cup of Nations, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Zambians should be disappointed and demand more from their national team.

Mauritania: Mauritania is moving up in the World of Football having gotten to the Group Stage of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and now going Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Narions. Last place was expected for this North/Sub-Saharan West African nation. They did well to compete.

Group C:

  1. Nigeria: 6; 4-1-1; +6; 9-3; 13 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Cape Verde: 6; 3-2-1; +2; 8-6; 11 (Eliminated)
  3. Liberia: 6; 2-0-4; -3; 5-8; 6 (Eliminated)
  4. Central African Republic: 6; 1-1-4; -5; 4-9; 4 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Liberia 0 Nigeria 2

Cape Verde 2 Central African Republic 1

Nigeria 1 Cape Verde 1

Liberia 3 Central African Republic 1

Analysis:

Nigeria: Nigeria has been to 6 World Cups, 3 Round of 16s, and has been ranked as high as #5 in the World, in 1994. Nigeria has been the most consistent African nation in World Cup play since 1994. And, Nigeria is the African country to have reached the knockout stages of the World Cup the most. Nigeria Advanced to the Third Round with their 1-1 home draw against Cape Verde. Nigeria Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, and finished Third Place at the 2019 African Cup of Nations. Nigeria did not look great in this Group, but they won it and now move on.

Cape Verde: Cape Verde looked much improved this World Cup campaign, and barely missed out on the Third Round. Having Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, which is a tournament they have not Qualified for since 2015, Cape Verdians should be excited about how their national team is improving, to the point that they are battling Nigeria out for control of the Gorup until the last match.

Liberia: Liberia finished off the Group on a high note with a 3-1 home win. Liberia failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations, but they should use this last win as momentum for future matches.

Central African Republic: The Central African Republic is known for basketball, but not for football, and their lackluster results have continued. They did look better in their Group, but they have still yet to Qualify for the World Cup or the African Cup of Nations.

Group D:

  1. Cameroon: 6; 5-0-1; +9; 12-3; 15 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  2. Ivory Coast: 6; 4-1-1; +7; 10-3; 13 (Eliminated)
  3. Moazambique: 6; 1-1-4; -6; 2-8; 4 (Eliminated)
  4. Malawi: 6; 1-0-5; -10; 2-12; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Malawi 0 Cameroon 4

Ivory Coast 3 Mozambique 0

Mozambique 1 Malawi 0

Cameroon 1 Ivory Coast 0

Analysis:

Cameroon: Cameroon Advanced to the Third Round in a match they needed to win against a quality opposition, Ivory Coast, and in which they did, 1-0, at home. Cameroon will be a top team in the Third Round. Cameroon, like most top African teams, benefits from having non-African born players on their national team that often come from Europe and play for their team as they are part of their diaspora. Cameroon has Qualified for 8 World Cups, and got to the Quarter-finals in the 1990 edition. While Cameroon did not Qualify for the 2018 World Cup, they did Qualify for the 2010 and 2014 editions. Cameroon were 2017 African Cup of Nations Champions, and went to the Round of 16 in the 2019 edition, and have Qualified for the 2021 edition as the Host Nation.

Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast will feel bad for having already been Eliminated from the World Cup, and this is a classic case of African Qualification formatting being just too rough, with no second chance. Only the Top Team from the Group moves on, and when a great side like Cameroon is in your Group, it makes it very tough. Having finished Fifth Place at the 2019 African Cup of Nations after going to the Quarter-finals, and having Qualified for the 2021 edition, the 1992 and 2015 African Champions will look to add a Third African Championship to their title, in Cameroon, which would hopefully help Ivorians cope with this Elimination better.

Mozambique: Mozambique kept a lot of matches close, and got 1 win and 1 draw, a good showing for a side that did not Qualify for the 2019 nor the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Mozambicans should be happy about there having been some improvements to their national team.

Malawi: Malawi did not perform well in this Group, but Malawians should be excited that they will get to see their national team compete at the 2021 African Cup of Nations which Malawi Qualified for, their first Qualification to the African Cup of Nations since 2010.

Group E:

  1. Mali: 6; 5-1-0; +11; 11-0; 16 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Uganda: 6; 2-3-1; +1; 3-2; 9 (Eliminated)
  3. Kenya: 6; 1-3-2; -5; 4-9; 6 (Eliminated)
  4. Rwanda: 6; 0-1-5; -7; 2-9; 1 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Uganda 1 Kenya 1

Rwanda 0 Mali 3

Mali 1 Uganda 0

Kenya 2 Rwanda 1

Analysis:

Mali: Mali Advanced to the Third Round after their 3-0 away win over Rwanda and Uganda’s 1-1 home draw with Kenya. Mali has been a top team in the Under/Youth levels of national team football, and other national team sports like basketball, but at the senior level, Mali has struggled. Mali has never Qualified for the World Cup, but now is 2 matches away from doing that. Mali made it to the Round of 16 in the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and has Qualified for the 2021 edition.

Uganda: Uganda took their foot off the gas during this past window only gaining 1 point. Still, Ugandans should be happy and hopeful, as Uganda is starting to play better. Uganda made it to the 2019 African Cup of Nations Round of 16, but failed to Qualify for the 2021 edition, a major blow to Ugandan football. Nonetheless, they looked good in this Group.

Kenya: Kenya showed great improvement. Kenya also did this in the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying for it and getting knocked out in the Group Stage. But, Kenya did not Qualify for the 2021 edition. Still, Kenya looked good in this Group, and looks to be improving for the future. They are becoming more competitive.

Rwanda: Rwanda is not improving fast enough, if at all. Rwanda has failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations, and their 2022 World Cup Qualification Campaign was bad. However, Rwandans should take away that they were competitive in most matches.

Group F:

  1. Egypt: 6; 4-2-0; +6; 10-4; 14 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Gabon: 6; 2-1-3; -1; 7-8; 7 (Eliminated)
  3. Libya: 6; 2-1-3; -3; 4-7; 7 (Eliminated)
  4. Angola: 6; 1-2-3; -2; 6-8; 5 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Gabon 1 Libya 0

Angola 2 Egypt 2

Egypt 2 Gabon 1

Libya 1 Angola 1

Analysis:

Egypt: Egypt had a terrible habit of dominating Africa, this part is the good habit, but then doing atrocious in World Cup Qualification. The Seven Time African Cup of Nations Champions were even a Top 10 team in 2010, and did not Qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2018, The Pharaohs broke this curse, and Qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, for the first time since 1990, which had been Egypt’s first time since 1934. Egypt has only Qualified for three World Cups, and they are now close to Qualifying for their Fourth, and their first time Qualifying for back to back World Cups. In the 2019 African Cup of Nations, Egypt had a really good Group Stage going 3-0-0, but lost in the Round of 16. Egypt Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Egypt have won the most African Championships, so they are hoping to have success this next year in both Africa, and in the World. Egypt Advanced to the Third Round of Qualifiers in their 2-2 away draw with Angola.

Gabon: Gabon does have Half-Gabonese Half-Spanish French born striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but that had not been enough for Gabon in this Group. It also was not enough for Gabon to Qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, but luckily, Gabonese fans will be able to see Gabon at the 2021 edition which they Qualified for.

Libya: Libya has been improving their football as of late, which is quite impressive, and shows just how well North Africa has done lately in football. However, they failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations, and have now failed to Qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Angola: Angola should have finished Second, and should be challenging Egypt more in the Standings. Angola underperformed this World Cup Qualification. Angola also failed to Qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, after being knocked out in the Group Stage of the 2019 edition. Angolans need to demand their football team to play better, as they have the football infrastructure to play better.

Group G:

  1. Ghana: 6; 4-1-1; +4; 7-3; 13 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. South Africa: 6: 4-1-1; +4; 6-2; 13 (Eliminated)
  3. Ethiopia: 6; 1-2-3; -3; 4-7; 5 (Eliminated)
  4. Zimbabwe: 6; 0-2-4; -5; 2-7; 2 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Ethiopia 1 Ghana 1

South Africa 1 Zimbabwe 0

Zimbabwe 1 Ethiopia 1

Ghana 1 South Africa 0

Analysis:

Ghana: Ghana is still going, which is good for Africa, as from 2006-2014, Ghana excited the World, and especially Africa, with their good play at the World Cup. Ghana got through on Goals For, which is so arbitrary that FIFA essentially considers scoring goals more important than giving up goals, but for Ghana, this came in handy. Ghana did not Qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but went to the 2019 African Cup of Nations Round of 16, and has Qualified for the 2021 edition. This is not a Ghana team like from 2006-2014, but they are still good, and could qualify. Ghana’s 1-0 home win over South Africa Advanced Ghana to the Third Round.

South Africa: South Africa will feel so awful after having lost to Ghana, and also lost out by 1 Goal For. South Africa looked good, and this is what South Africans should be proud of. South Africa looked like a legitimate World Cup team again, and in 2019, they also did having gone to the African Cup of Nations Quarter-finals. However, South Africa did not Qualify for the 2021 edition, and now have been Eliminated from the 2022 World Cup. The African continent is very difficult for its Qualification format, and no matter who was Eliminated between Ghana and South Africa, Africa was going to be missing out on a quality team for the Third Round.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia is a big country that has not accomplished anything big in football since the 1960s. Nothing has really changed. However, Ethiopians should be excited that Ethiopia Qualified for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which is the first time Ethiopia has been at the African Cup of Nations since 2013.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe continues to do poorly in World Cup Qualifications. However, Zimbabwe has been doing well in African Cup of Nations Qualifications, having Qualified for the 2017, 2019, and now the 2021 editions. Zimbabwe has never made it out of the African Cup of Nations Group Stage, so Zimbabweans should be hoping for their team to do that at the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

Group H:

  1. Senegal: 6; 5-1-0; 15-4; +11; 16 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Togo: 6; 2-2-2; -1; 5-6; 8 (Eliminated)
  3. Namibia: 6; 1-2-3: -5; 5-10; 5 (Eliminated)
  4. Republic of the Congo: 6; 0-3-3; -5; 5-10; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Republic of the Congo 1 Namibia 1

Togo 1 Senegal 1

Senegal 2 Republic of the Congo 0

Namibia 0 Togo 1

Analysis:

Senegal: Senegal or Algeria have been the two best African teams for awhile, although Morocco has the best claim to that in terms of current form. Nonetheless, Senegal dominated this Group as they should have, and their recent African Cup of Nations results being Runners-Up in 2019 and Qualifying for the 2021 edition, suggests that Senegal is continuing to move in the right direction. The 2002 World Cup Quater-finalist barely did not get out of their Group in the 2018 World Cup, and they look to improve for the 2022 World Cup, but they first have to get by whomever they will play in the Third Round. Senegal should not get complacent either, as they have only Qualified for 2 World Cups. Senegal Advanced to the Third Round in the October Qualifying Window.

Togo: Togo made it to the 2006 World Cup, but has not been as successful since. They also have failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations. Nonetheless, Togo looks to have improved during this Group Stage, something for the Togolese to be happy about.

Namibia: Namibia did not put up their best fight. While this was their best World Cup Qualification campaign since the 2014 edition, Namibia still underperformed for what they could have done. And, Namibia had made significant gains in 2019, Qualifying for the African Cup of Nations for the first time since 2008, but have now failed to Qualify for the 2021 edition. Namibia did not ride the momentum they thought they would.

Republic of the Congo: The Republic of the Congo had a bad World Cup campaign, but stayed competitive throughout. Their World Cup campaign and DR Congo’s should really read, The Tale of the Two Congos. The Republic of the Congo also failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations. Better play for sure should be demanded of the RC.

Group I:

  1. Morocco: 6; 6-0-0; +19; 20-1; 18 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Guinea-Bissau: 6; 1-2-3; -6; 5-11; 5 (Eliminated)
  3. Guinea: 6; 0-4-2; -6; 5-11; 4 (Eliminated)
  4. Sudan: 6; 0-3-3; -7; 5-12; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Guinea 0 Guinea-Bissaue 0

Sudan 0 Morocco 3

Guinea-Bissau 0 Sudan 0

Morocco 3 Guinea 0

Analysis:

Morocco: Morocco is by far the best team in this Group. Morocco is coming off of a Round of 16 finish at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, is Qualified for the 2021 edition, and Qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They are by far the best nation right now in Africa, and is a favorite to Qualify for the 2022 World Cup, no matter who they are grouped with in the Third Round. Morocco Advanced to the Third Round last Qualification Window.

Guinea-Bissau: Guinea-Bissau is turning into a good nation in football, even if these standings do not show it. Guinea-Bissau finished in the Group Stage at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and Qualified for the 2021 edition. Guinea-Bissau has a lot of talent throughout their roster, and probably should have done better against their other opposition besides Morocco.

Guinea: Guinea has been really good at times, but right now is not one of those times. They made it to the 2019 African Cup of Nations Round of 16, and Qualified for the 2021 edition, but their World Cup Qualification campaign ended with only 4 points from 6 matches. Not good enough.

Sudan: Sudan had their best World Cup Qualifying campaign since the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifications, and Sudan Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, the first time they have Qualified for the African Cup of Nations since the 2012 edition. Sudan may have finished last in this Group, but they are improving.

Group J:

  1. DR Congo: 6; 3-2-1; +6; 9-3; 11 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Benin: 6; 3-1-2; +1; 5-4; 10 (Eliminated)
  3. Tanzania: 6; 2-2-2; -2; 6-8; 8 (Eliminated)
  4. Madagascar: 6; 1-1-4; -5; 4-9; 4 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Tanzania 0 DR Congo 3

Benin 2 Madagascar 0

DR Congo 2 Benin 0

Madagascar 1 Tanzania 1

Analysis:

DR Congo: DR Congo is in the last Round of Qualifications again, after barely missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup by 1 point! DR Congo has a lot of talent, and depending on who they get drawn against, DR Congo could be a favorite to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! They have only done this once, in 1974. DR Congo has had a mixed bag of the last 4 years. They made it to the 2019 CAF African Cup of Nations Round of 16, but they failed to Qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Still, they were the best nation this whole Group, and the final standings from this Group reflect that, as their 2-0 home win over Benin Advanced DR Congo to the Third Round.

Benin: Benin failed to Qualify for the World Cup yet again, having never Qualified for it before. But, this was their best Qualifying campaign since the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifications. Benin did not Qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, but did make it to the Quarter-finals of the 2019 edition, the furthest they have ever been. The Beninese have a lot to be hopeful for in the future. Their national team is improving.

Tanzania: Tanzania did not have a great Qualification campaign, but still finished only 3 points from First Place in the Group. This shows how good Tanzania can be, if they can just improve a little. However, these past 4 years must be looked it in disdain, as the Tanzanians finished 24th of 24 teams at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and did not Qualify for the 2021 edition.

Madagascar: Madagascar was the weakest team in the Group, but still kept it competitive. They made it to the 2019 African Cup of Nations Quarter-finals finishing in Sixth Place, in their first Qualification to the African Cup of Nations. Madagascar, however, did not Qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, and finished last in this Group. It has been a lot of ups and downs for Madagascar fans.

Advanced to the Third Round:

  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Mali
  • Cameroon
  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • Tunisia
  • Nigeria
  • DR Congo

North America (CONCACAF):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Third Round/Octagonal Phase: The Top Three nations in the Group Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Fourth Place team advances to the Intercontinental Cup, to to either play the South American Fifth Place, Asian Fifth Place, or Oceanian First Place nation for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee
  1. Canada: 8; 4-4-0; +8; 13-5; 16
  2. USA: 8; 4-3-1; +7; 12-5; 15
  3. Mexico: 8; 4-2-2; +4; 11-7; 14
  4. Panama: 8; 4-2-2; +2; 11-9; 14
  5. Costa Rica: 8; 2-3-3; -1; 6-7; 9
  6. Jamaica: 8; 1-4-3; -4; 6-10; 7
  7. El Salvador: 8; 1-3-4; -6; 4-10; 6
  8. Honduras: 8; 0-3-5; -10; 5-15; 3

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Honduras 2 Panama 3

El Salvador 1 Jamaica 1

Canada 1 Costa Rica 0

USA 2 Mexico 0

Jamaica 1 USA 1

Costa Rica 2 Honduras 1

Panama 2 El Salvador 1

Canada 2 Mexico 1

Analysis:

Canada: Canada earned two major home wins to put themselves on top of the Octagonal! Now, Canada has tied and defeated Mexico, in a World Cup Group, something spectacular by any nation, but especially Canada who is looking to Qualify for their First World Cup since 1986, and their Second World Cup ever. Canada has been improving every year the last four years, finishing Sixth at the 2019 Gold Cup, Fifth at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League, and then Fourth at the 2021 Gold Cup! Canada is looking very good, but they must be alert they are only 2 points up over the Fourth Place team, Panama. Canada should seek direct Qualification from this Round, as the Intercontinental Playoff could prove very tricky.

USA: The USA is the best nation going in North America, even if Canada is currently leading the Octagonal. The USA finished as Runners-Up at the 2019 Gold Cup, Champions of the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League, and Champions of the 2021 Gold Cup. While their Jamaica draw hurts, their Mexico win is a big boost to USA’s confidence. USA needs to keep winning though, as they are starting to draw too often.

Mexico: Mexico had a rough past window, losing away to the USA, 0-2, and losing away to Canada, 1-2. Mexico is still in a direct Qualification spot, but only due to Goal Difference. Mexico will need to win more so they can Qualify. Mexico should be the Second best team, as they were the Champions of the 2019 Gold Cup, were Runners-Up of the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League, and were Runners-Up of the 2021 Gold Cup. However, no matter how dire it may look, Mexico finds a way to keep their World Cup Champions dream alive until the Round of 16 usually.

Panama: Panama picked up two big comeback wins over Honduras and El Salvador, to separate them from the rest of the pack with 14 points, at least 5 points above the rest. Level on points with Mexico suggests that Panama could end up winning this Group, or at the very least, Qualifying directly as the Second or Third best team in the Octagonal. Panama had a disastrous 2018 World Cup, their first World Cup ever, as they had a lot of players missing. Since then, they have gotten to the Gold Cup Quarter-finals in both the 2019 and 2021 editions, and finished Eighth in the CONCACAF Nations League, albeit not as good as it sounds as they finished 1-0-3. However, since then, Panama has been doing great!

Costa Rica: Costa Rica had a bad start to the Octagonal, but now, they look like they believe again and want to push to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With 6 matches left, it is doable for Costa Rica to get back into World Cup contention. Costa Rica is very talented. But, they need to keep making up ground, even more so than they are doing now. Costa Rica did not have a great 2018 World Cup, going 0-1-2, in a tough Group, but easier than their 2014 World Cup Group which they won and then Advanced to the Quarter-finals in. Costa Rica has made it to the Quarter-finals, the last two Gold Cups, and finished Fourth in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Jamaica: Jamaica has really good players, but they never seem to find a way to win in World Cup Qualifications anymore. Jamaica just has a knack for not showing up. However, Jamaica has done enough to put them within 7 points of Fourth and Third Place. With 6 matches left, Jamaica does still have good odds to Qualify if they can start getting wins instead of draws. Jamaica has a lot of talent, partly thanks to a lot of English-born Jamaicans playing for them, but the Jamaicans would be quick to note that the English have a Jamaican-born Englishman playing for them, Raheem Sterling. Jamaica got Fourth Place in the 2019 Gold Cup, made it to the Quarter-finals of the 2021 edition, and won their CONCACAF Nations League Group in the Second Level, with a 5-1-0 record, to earn Promotion to the Top Level of the CONCACAF Nations League for the 2022-2023 edition.

El Salvador: El Salvador has had a quiet rise back to the Top of North America, but their recent results has seen a sudden fall, going 1-1-3 in the last 5 World Cup Qualifying matches. El Salvador’s manager, Hugo Pérez, did very well in his early part of his job, getting El Salvador to the 2021 Gold Cup Quarter-finals, after only making it to the 2019 Gold Cup Group Stage. However, El Salvador was already slightly improving as they went 5-0-1 in the CONCACAF Nations League to win their Group at the Second Level, to earn Promotion to the Top Level of the CONCACAF Nations League for the 2022-2023 edition, before Hugo Pérez got to be El Salvador’s manager. Still, Hugo Pérez has made El Salvador competitive with the elite of North America, and of Asia, once again. He has done a great job recruiting many American and other Foreign born Salvadorans to the national team, and is in the midst of rebuilding El Salvador back to a World Cup calibre team. But, even if El Salvador is rebuilding, going 1-3-4 is simply not good enough. If you look at Bolivia’s results in South America, you see that strong home field advantage exits in International play, and El Salvador has that with the Estadio Cuscatlán, but instead of getting wins there, El Salvador is mostly getting draws there. So, El Salvador needs to figure something out, and start playing up to the level they are capable of playing. At this point, a World Cup Qualification does seem unlikely, but El Salvador should continue to push for one, because they could either get Top 3 or Fourth Place, or they could create really good momentum for future good results. Either way, Salvadorans should be happy about the improvements to El Salvador’s team. But, Salvadorans should still demand more.

Honduras: Honduras finished the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League in Third Place, which was an improvement to their CONCACAF play which saw them get knocked out in the 2019 Gold Cup Group Stage. So, their 2021 Gold Cup was expected to be really good, challenging to win it in fact, as Honduras looked like the Second Best team in North America going in. Their first two matches confirmed this, but they suffered some injuries, and lost their third, and then lost in the Quarter-finals. Since then, Honduras has been atrocious and sit in last in this Octagonal Group. Honduras should be playing better. They Qualified for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup, in addition to the 1982 World Cup, and Honduras only missed out on the 2018 World Cup via the Intercontinental Playoff with the Socceroos of Australia. This Honduran side was very good last decade, but so far this decade, outside of the Nations League, it has not been very good for Honduras. Still, teams are losing and drawing enough, that if Honduras wins their next 6 matches, which they are capable of doing, even if not likely, Honduras could find themselves Top 4, and maybe Top 3. But, it most likely is too little too late.

South America (CONMEBOL):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Final Round: The Top Four nations in the Group Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Fifth Place team advances to the Intercontinental Cup, to to either play the North American Fourth Place, Asian Fifth Place, or Oceanian First Place nation for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee
  1. Brazil: 13: 11-2-0; +23; 27-4; 35 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Argentina: 13: 8-5-0; +14; 20-6; 29 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  3. Ecuador: 14; 7-2-5; +10; 23-13; 23
  4. Colombia: 14; 3-8-3; -1; 16-17; 17
  5. Peru: 14; 5-2-7; -5; 15-20; 17
  6. Chile: 14; 4-4-6; -1, 15-16; 16
  7. Uruguay: 14; 4-4-6; -7; 14-21; 16
  8. Bolivia: 14; 4-3-7; -8; 20-28; 15
  9. Paraguay: 14; 2-7-5; -9; 9-18; 13
  10. Venezuela: 14; 2-1-11; -16; 9-25; 7

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Ecuador 1 Venezuela 0

Paraguay 0 Chile 1

Brazil 1 Colombia 0

Peru 3 Bolivia 0

Uruguay 0 Argentina 1

Bolivia 3 Uruguay 0

Venezuela 1 Peru 2

Colombia 0 Paraguay 0

Argentina 0 Brazil 0

Chile 0 Ecuador 2

Analysis:

Brazil: Brazil is the best team going in International play right now. 11 wins and 2 Draws, no losses, in South American Qualifiers, winning the Copa America with a 4-2-0 record in Brazil in 2019, and becoming Runners-Up with a 5-1-1 record in the 2021 Copa America. Brazil in the last 4 years has only lost 1 competitive match, and that was to Argentina in the 2021 Copa America Final. Brazil’s 1-0 home win over Colombia Qualified Brazil for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Brazil are the World Cup Champions Record Holders, having won it 5 times! While France is really deep, Brazil is probably still deeper in the total number of Top Level football players, but Brazil is not as deep in their 23 right now. Still, Brazil is playing much better than France, Belgium, Italy, England, Croatia, the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Uruguay, or anyone else that usually competes for World Cups at a high level.

Argentina: Argentina Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with their 0-0 home draw against Brazil. Argentina did not have the 2018 World Cup they wanted, finishing in Sixteenth Place after going 1-1-2. But, since then, Argentina finished Third Place at the 2019 Copa America, and became the 2021 Copa America Champions, their first Copa America Championship since 1993. Now, the 2 time World Cup Champions (1978 and 1986) will try to win their first World Cup since 1986, as they have now broken their International Trophy drought, and Argentina will be a favored team to do this. Argentina has cleaned up a lot of weak spots, and have new talent rising through the ranks to complement their aging generation that took them to the 2014 World Cup Final.

Ecuador: Ecuador is the third best team in CONMEBOL right now, which was not expected. Ecuador failed to Qualify for the 2018 World Cup, finished Eleventh Place in the 2019 Copa America, with a 0-1-2 record, and then finished Eighth Place in the 2021 Copa America, with a 0-3-2 record. But, Ecuador is using a good technique, going for wins and not draws. With 7 wins and only 2 draws, Ecuador has been able to maximize on points, while only winning half of their matches. This means, while Ecuador has lost 35.7% of their matches, they sit in Third Place, while teams below them have lost similar percentages of their matches or less. Colombia has lost 21.4% of their matches, Peru and Bolivia have lost 50% of their matches, Paraguay is in Ninth Place and has lost an equal 35.7% of their matches, and Chile and Uruguay who make up the Sixth and Seventh places respectively have only lost 42.9% of their matches. With a win equaling 3 points instead of 2 points, wins are vital in a league format, which is exactly what the South American World Cup Qualification format is! Ecuador may be losing a lot, but unlike the others, Ecuador is winning a lot with a 50% winning percentage, third to Argentina and Brazil. Paraguay, meanwhile, has a 14.3% winning percentage, Colombia only has a 21.4% winning percentage, Chile, Uruguay, and Bolivia have a 28.6% winning percentage, and Peru has a 35.7% winning percentage. Venezuela is doing so bad, that they only have a 14.3% winning percentage, but also a 78.6% losing percentage. So, wins are important, and Ecuador is getting them!

Colombia: Colombia has consistently been battling Uruguay and Chile, since 2014, as the right to call themselves the Third best team in CONMEBOL. Colombia finished Fifth and Ninth at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups respectively, and then has finished Fifth at the 2019 Copa America and Third at the 2021 Copa America. Thus, Colombia has been the Third best South American side at four of the last six tournaments, as Colombia also got Third Place in the 2016 Copa America, and their 2014 World Cup and 2018 World Cup finish was the Third best in South America, and then had two tournaments, 2015 Copa America and 2019 Copa America where they finished outside the top 3. Colombia right now is playing very well, losing to barely any teams, but their struggle to win matches have put them Fourth, in an all out battle with five other teams below them who sit within 2 points, except one, Paraguay, who sits 4 points back. Colombia’s lack of wins may comeback to hurt them if they cannot finish Top 5, or maybe even Top 4 depending on who Colombia would play in the Intercontinental Playoffs.

Peru: Peru Qualified for their first World Cup since 1982 in 2018, and finished in Twentieth Place in Russia with a 1-0-2 record. It was a difficult Group which featured France, Denmark, and Australia. Peru has since made it to the 2019 Copa America Final and the 2021 Copa America Semi-final. Peru’s Second Place 2019 finish and Fourth Place 2021 finish has cemented the idea that Peru’s 2018 World Cup run was no flute…I mean fluke…and that Peru is here to stay. Even more losses than wins, Peru is proving very formidable as like Ecuador, Peru is focusing on getting wins and not on getting draws. However, it must be stated that this mindset may not always be the best for 3 match Group Stages and knockout rounds, as Peru experienced in the 2018 World Cup.

Chile: Chile won the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas, finished Second at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and were a Top 5 team for most of the 2015-2018 cycle for 2018 World Cup Qualifying, but did not Qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup! This was a shocking blow to the Chileans, after having made it to the Round of 16 in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Chile’s Fourth Place finish in the 2019 Copa America suggested that Chile still had firepower to stay a Top 10 team, but their Seventh Place finish at the 2021 Copa America, and their continued decline in rankings and play made many Chileans depressed, yearning to have their 2018 World Cup Qualification chances back. Now, Chile sit only 1 point off from either automatic Qualification, or Advancing to the Intercontinental Playoff. Chile has not been super impressive, but has weathered the storm so far, by staying within 3 points of World Cup Qualification. Chile needs to push for more wins in order to do this.

Uruguay: Uruguay also needs to push for more wins. Uruguay is generally regarded to have the Third best 23 man roster from South America. But, right now, they are in Seventh Place, however, only 1 Point back from Fourth and Fifth Place, and tied on points with their Sixth Place partners, Chile. Uruguay is a 4 time World Champion according to FIFA, 2 time World Cup Champion, and is either considered the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, or Seventh best national team of all-time. It depends if you count those other 2 World Championships they won which FIFA recognizes and so does Uruguay, and where you rank Uruguay in relation to Argentina and France. But, you would not know that looking at Uruguay’s October and November World Cup Qualifying windows where they went 0-1-4 in 5 matches! In Uruguay’s defense, they played home to Colombia and Argentina once, and away to Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia once in that span. Those are all very difficult matches in South America. Bolivia away is almost impossible to win, but it should not be so impossible to get at least a draw. But, Bolivia is looking very good this year for them, and really anyone outside of South America and Europe, because South America is usually much harder than any other continent besides Europe. Europe and South America trade the First place spot a lot for who is the best continent. Uruguay’s next 4 matches are crucial, away to Paraguay, home to Venezuela, home to Peru, and away to Chile. These should be much easier than their last 5, but they will still be difficult. Uruguay is coming off of a Fifth Place, 4-0-1 2018 FIFA World Cup, a Sixth Place, 2-2-0 2019 Copa America, and a Fifth Place, 2-2-1 2021 Copa America.

Bolivia: Bolivia has been the worst team in South America for a lot of the 2010s and after, finishing 9th in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications for South America, finished 12th out of 12 teams in the 2019 Copa America, and finishing 10th out of 10 teams in the 2021 Copa America. However, one thing has been consistent, it is really difficult to play away against Bolivia. Bolivia has been improving steadily this past year, and even their 2021 Copa America does not do them justice, as they actually played well at times, and were unlucky not to get at least 1 point, if not 1 win. Bolivia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifications has impressed so far getting away draws in Paraguay and Chile, and winning all home matches so far, except for a 1-1 home draw against Colombia and a 1-2 home loss against Argentina. Bolivia has a favorable schedule to end the Qualifiers with an away match against Venezuela, a home match against Chile, an away match against Colombia, and a home match against Brazil. Bolivia will be expected to go either 2-0-2 or 2-1-1 in these matches. The home match against Brazil they will most likely be favored to lose, but possibly draw depending on their form. Still, finishing out 3-0-1 is a likely result, and better yet, 3-1-0 or 4-0-0 is not impossible, considering that they did well against Colombia the last time they played them, albeit at home. Bolivia is trying to make their Fourth World Cup, and first since the 1994 World Cup.

Paraguay: Paraguay has a talented team, in fact, they finished Eighth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, so this level of talent is nothing new for them. And, in 2011, they were Runners-Up in the Copa America. However, Paraguay has since fell victim to playing bad, failing to Qualify for the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, finishing 12th in the 2016 Copa America, 8th in the 2019 Copa America, and 6th in the 2021 Copa America. Their last elite result was finishing 4th in the 2015 Copa America. Yet, their improvement in the 2021 Copa America suggested a more competitive and a better Paraguay. So far, that has not come in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, and the reason for that is draws! Maybe Colombia, Italy, Ukraine, and Paraguay are all related, but if they could all find a way to go for more wins, they would be in such better positions. Paraguay actually has tied for the Fourth best losing percentage so far at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for South America, and should be Top 5 with that statistic. But, they are tied for last in winning percentage so far, with Venezuela. So, their draws may be keeping them in front of Venezuela, but their lack of wins are keeping them behind everyone else in South America. If Paraguay wants to Qualify for the World Cup, which they can do, only 4 points behind Fourth and Fifth Place, then they need to start winning. Paraguay probably needs to go at least 3-0-1 in their last 4 matches to avoid Elimination and get either the Fifth or Fourth spot.

Venezuela: Venezuela is back to being the worst team in CONMEBOL, and who knows, maybe CONCACAF South American members, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana would all beat Venezuela right now too, making Venezuela truly the worst team on the Geographical South American Continent. I guess there is still Panama (Transcontinental country), but they surely would beat Venezuela right now too. But, Venezuela does not have to be this bad. Venezuela finished Seventh at the 2019 Copa America, and Ninth at the 2021 Copa America. However, Venezuela finished 10th last World Cup Qualification in South America too. From 2002-2014, it seemed Venezuela had turned a corner, but this traditional basketball and baseball nation has once again seemed to have thrown away the football cleats. Venezuela historically is the worst team in CONMEBOL, as they are the only nation in CONMEBOL to have never Qualified for a World Cup or win the Copa America, but in the present-day, it seemed Venezuela was challenging for both of these goals. Venezuela can and should be better, and Venezuelans should demand this from their national team.

Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Brazil
  • Argentina

Oceania (OFC):

No qualifications yet.

NCAA FBS Rankings Week 12:

  1. Georgia 10-0 SEC
  2. Cincinnati 10-0 AAC
  3. Oregon 9-1 Pac-12
  4. Ohio State 9-1 Big Ten
  5. Alabama 9-1 SEC
  6. Michigan State 9-1 Big Ten
  7. Michigan 9-1 Big Ten
  8. UTSA 10-0 C-USA
  9. Oklahoma State 9-1 Big 12
  10. Oklahoma 9-1 Big 12
  11. Notre Dame 9-1 Independent
  12. Wake Forest 9-1 ACC
  13. Ole Miss 8-2 SEC
  14. Baylor 8-2 Big 12
  15. San Diego State 9-1 Mountain West
  16. Houston 9-1 AAC
  17. Wisconsin 7-3 Big Ten
  18. BYU 8-2 Independent
  19. Louisiana-Lafayette 9-1 Sun Belt
  20. Pittsburgh 8-2 ACC
  21. Iowa 8-2 Big Ten
  22. Texas A&M 7-3 SEC
  23. Utah State 8-2 Mountain West
  24. NC State 7-3 ACC
  25. Utah 7-3 Pac-12

Next 10:

  • Clemson 7-3 ACC
  • Appalachian State 8-2 Sun Belt
  • SMU 8-2 AAC
  • Arkansas 7-3 SEC
  • Arizona State 7-3 Pac-12
  • Kansas State 7-3 Big 12
  • Coastal Carolina 8-2 Sun Belt
  • Fresno State 8-3 Mountain West
  • Kentucky 7-3 SEC
  • Nevada 7-3 Mountain West

Best Team in Each Conference/Division

Big Ten East: Ohio State 9-1

Big Ten West: Iowa 8-2

SEC West: Alabama 9-1

SEC East: Georgia 10-0

AAC: Cincinnati 10-0

Big 12: Oklahoma State 9-1

Pac-12 North: Oregon 9-1

Pac-12 South: Utah 7-3

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 9-1

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 8-2

Independents: Notre Dame 9-1

Mountain West West: San Diego State 9-1

Mountain West Mountain: Utah State 8-2

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 9-1

Sun Belt East: Appalachian State 8-2

C-USA West: UTSA 10-0

C-USA East: Western Kentucky 6-4

MAC West: Northern Illinois 7-3

MAC East: Kent State 5-5

Best Matchups Next Week:

Overall:

#6 Michigan State (9-1) at #4 Ohio State (9-1) on Saturday at 9 am PT

In Each Conference:

Big Ten (besides the top overall game):

#7 Michigan (9-1) at Maryland (5-5) on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT

SEC:

Arkansas (7-3) at #5 Alabama (9-1) on Saturday at TBA

AAC:

SMU (8-2) at #2 Cincinnati (10-0) on Saturday at TBA

Big 12:

#14 Baylor (8-2) at Kansas State (7-3) on Saturday at 2:30 pm PT

Pac-12:

#3 Oregon (9-1) at #25 Utah (7-3) on Saturday at TBA

ACC:

#12 Wake Forest (9-1) at Clemson (7-3) on Saturday at 9 am PT

Independents: NA

Mountain West:

Air Force (7-3) at Nevada (7-3) on Friday at 6 pm PT

Sun Belt:

Appalachian State (8-2) at Troy (5-5) on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT

C-USA:

UAB (7-3) at #8 UTSA (10-0) on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT

MAC:

Western Michigan (6-4) at Eastern Michigan (6-4) on Tuesday at 4:30 pm PT

Labels do not Equal Truth

Labels do not equal truth, but for many people, simply labeling yourself as one thing seems to present a dichotomy where those opposed to you, mean they are opposed to your label, or to what your label’s description is.

For example, on many occasions, when people criticize Black Lives Matter (BLM), a lot of defenders of BLM get upset and often ask how one can be against those who are against racism. Do they not realize there are so many methods and ways of being against racism? The idea of anti-racism, which BLM often espouses, are often seen as racism in itself, but against other groups of people. In fact, BLM and its related ideologies are often based on Afro-nationalism, which is ironic because many people who support BLM state they do not like nationalism (I guess they should be more specific on which versions of nationalism they support).

Another example are the defenders of Antifa, or the anti-fascists, who often ask how is it bad to be against fascism to the critics of Antifa. Do they not realize there are many methods of being against fascism? During the World War Two and post-World War Two era, there was an alliance against fascism, with the USA, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union as the three main powers in the alliance. But, just because the Soviet Union were against fascism does not mean it was good, and often times, the reasons for being against fascism, such as the lack of rights and liberties, especially for individuals not in line with those in power, appeared within the Soviet Union’s style of government as well. So, supporting the Soviet Union because they were against fascism was not really a policy you would hope to implement if there were other options.

And then, there is the latest example of the defenders of Critical Race Theory (CRT) who often ask how one can be against the teaching of history to those who are critics of CRT, as if there are not many different ways of teaching history. In fact, CRT often is said to lack evidence favoring storytelling and personal experience as if people cannot exaggerate or rather lie about their situation, and often rejects truth, merit, and the rule of law, labelling these as a form of racism, steeped in white supremacy, and often believes that reality is socially constructed. Therefore, historically speaking, CRT often is viewed as highly inaccurate. Part of the reason for this is its insistence on standpoint epistemology, the idea that someone who is a member of a CRT defined minority has the ability and authority to speak about racism and its effects in order to falsify the notion of the neutrality of laws. For this, authority belongs to a person’s personal knowledge and their perspectives. CRT furthermore criticizes meritocracy, a color-blind society, and often views an inequality of outcomes as a way to suggest that a system is institutionally racist, while failing to acknowledge that sometimes people can do better within a system, without there being discrimination of some sort based on racist beliefs. Thus, CRT’s critique’s of the Enlightenment, rationalism, liberal ideals, the nuclear family, and other things that have led to much of the modern-day Western World like equal opportunity as all steeped in white supremacy is not a historical fact, rather it is a viewpoint. There is a major difference there.

And, what all of these groups and theories seem to stem from are socialist ideologies, and sometimes Marxists as well, such as how BLM’s founder, Patrisse Marie Khan-Cullors Brignac, states that Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, bell hookes, and Audre Lord, have all “provided a new understanding around what our economies could look like”, as well as the fact that Critical Race Theory is grounded in Critical Legal Studies, which was founded by and popularized by Marxists, socialists, and other self-ascribed “legal activists” and radicals, based in radical 1960s thought and left wing activism, and the larger critical theories. Of course, Antifa is a whole other issue with regards to how they often equate white supremacy to just too many things, and thus, their already illegal methods of political violence is even seen in more negative light when instead of punching neo-Nazis (one of their largely popular methods), they are trying to disrupt speeches with violence, or at the very least, causing universities to spend exuberant amounts of money to have a non-Antifa approved speaker, or to cancel the speech altogether.

Being against Antifa does not mean you are not against fascism. Being against BLM does not mean you are not against racism. And, being against CRT does not mean you are against teaching history. Allowing these groups to falsely label themselves as such, in order to create this environment can have very dire consequences for the society we live in, because two of them (Antifa and BLM) directly call for the overthrow of the society we live in, and CRT presents the society we live in as one based merely on white supremacy, which many then take as justification to once again, revolt against the system.

While the ideologies may seem harmless, when attempted in places like the People’s Republic of China or the Soviet Union, this led to hundreds of millions of people dying, horrible economic ruin, and a lack of any rights. Just take for example, the USA’s own CHAZ that started up in the middle of Seattle during the summer of 2020. People there had a terrible time, living in constant fear of danger, with a lack of stability and rule of law to provide for a proper economic environment. Or take BLM’s co-founder’s call to defund the police this year and how awful those results have been. After all, she seeks to “to abolish prisons, policing, and militarization”, which she states “are wielded in the name of “public safety” and “national security”” (you know, how dare there be prisons for serial killers, police to stop people robbing convenient stores, and the US military to stop genocides in Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Niger). Yet, as seen with CHAZ, these proclamations have disastrous effects. Business owners lost their customers to danger, and they often had to provide their own security. These very business owners and their employees were threatened with violence and had their stores damaged a lot of times. It is ironic that people pushing for universalized healthcare argue against universalized protection of the law, because the law exists to help the weak out in an otherwise anarchist world, whereby the weak are dominated and made vassals to the strongest people. If toxic masculinity is a problem now, imagine when you need it to stay alive.

And see, just like how the Seattle Mayor referred to CHAZ as a “bloc party”, or how people pretend that kneeling for the national anthem or BLM does not come from a place of disliking and dismantling the USA (at least the USA as we know it currently), or how CRT is not taught in school, the defenders of all of these ideologies will always trivialize what is going on until it becomes a major issue. It uses the lack of trust of the media, especially right wing media’s sensationalism, as a way to pretend it is never as bad as it really is because you know Fox News or Breitbart are exaggerating the issue. Yet, this is merely a fallacy. As seen from the progenitor of the kneeling phenomena himself, it was exactly about the flag of the USA, just as for the co-founder of BLM, it is about how to “fight the U.S. state and do not make it stronger”. And for CRT, it is about teaching a perspective that leads to the destabilization of the U.S. state and its institutions, in a revolution, whereby the populace becomes so disgusted with their society and its history, where there are no longer any national heroes to look to for influence, that Americans abandon their country’s defense because its country has become indefensible.

Proponents of CRT keep stating how its critics cannot give a definition, but many can. In reality, most of the proponents cannot either, partly because if they could, if they knew about it, many would not be for it. And, other proponents keep stating how CRT is not being taught in most schools. Well, maybe it is not being taught in the most proper sense of the word in schools, but teachers are teaching the tenants and ideals of it in most schools, and some are most likely fully teaching it.

A good response to this form of manipulation are these two tweets:

These tweets really do a good job of summing up this debate, because what often happens in politics or business, and especially law, is that people tend to either not tell the truth or not follow the laws, or simply leave out a lot of the truth or find loopholes. For example, sure, maybe there is no CRT class, but if you teach students to view everything through the CRT perspective and teach that as truth, well, you are teaching CRT, and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

People need to remember people lie to make themselves look better. Think of that neighbor who drives you crazy because they constantly lie about what they are doing to make themselves look amazing when you do more. Or think of the office coworker who kisses up to the boss, and tattletales on all those who do not, while also lying about what they do while kissing up. That is the real world on all levels. We see it played out in Afghanistan this past year whereby the Taliban agreed to a ceasefire, so they could take more land and overtake the country eventually, knowing that the USA would trust the Taliban to follow through. This made the USA’s alliance weaker because they were not prepared to fight, and made the Taliban stronger because they took advantage of naivety on the alliance’s side, as they consistently fought and lied to make themselves look better and not draw any red flags until it was too late. Or, take the People’s Republic of China which is a democratic republic of course, as is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), the Republic of Nicaragua, and the Republic of Belarus. All of these are freely electing republics according to their own labels. Yet, we now have the common sense to question these. Like, the People’s Republic of China and North Korea both have freedom of religion according to their constitutions, but that does not mean that they actually allow each religion to worship freely, in fact many adherents have been persecuted, and some executed or put in prison labor camps. Even North Korea and the People’s Republic of China have freedom of speech, but as John Cena, many companies, tourists, and especially their own citizens have found out, freedom of speech might be in these two countries’ constitutions, but it does not mean the ruling powers at be follow these constitutions and allow such a freedom to really exist.

Thus, we must have common sense to address these issues we see today. The labels, especially the self-labels of these groups/theories do not equal what these groups/theories actually stand for, or what the end game for the use of them actually is.

This article is not about advocating against BLM, Antifa, or CRT. It is merely about advocating against the idea that because BLM labels themselves as against racism, Antifa labels themselves as against fascism, and CRT labels themselves as teaching history, that that does not make any of these labels true, and nor does it mean by supporting a competing ideology or group, that somehow, you are not against racism and fascism, or that you are against the teaching of history. It would be akin to believing a company’s self-tests as being 100% accurate, or believing a court’s decision in which the prosecutor was also the judge. Americans really need to take back common sense on these topics so that they either do not support them, or support them knowing what they are about.

NCAA FBS Week 11 Rankings:

  1. Georgia 9-0 SEC
  2. Oklahoma 9-0 Big 12
  3. Cincinnati 9-0 AAC
  4. Alabama 8-1 SEC
  5. Oregon 8-1 Pac-12
  6. Ohio State 8-1 Big Ten
  7. Michigan State 8-1 Big Ten
  8. Michigan 8-1 Big Ten
  9. UTSA 9-0 C-USA
  10. Notre Dame 8-1 Independent
  11. Oklahoma State 8-1 Big 12
  12. Ole Miss 7-2 SEC
  13. Texas A&M 7-2 SEC
  14. Wake Forest 8-1 ACC
  15. BYU 8-2 Independent
  16. NC State 7-2 ACC
  17. San Diego State 8-1 Mountain West
  18. Wisconsin 6-3 Big Ten
  19. Iowa 7-2 Big Ten
  20. Louisiana-Lafayette 8-1 Sun Belt
  21. Pittsburgh 7-2 ACC
  22. Baylor 7-2 Big 12
  23. Coastal Carolina 8-1 Sun Belt
  24. Nevada 7-2 Mountain West
  25. Utah State 7-2 Mountain West

Next 10:

Clemson 6-3 ACC

Purdue 6-3 Big Ten

Penn State 6-3 Big Ten

Auburn 6-3 SEC

Fresno State 7-3 Mountain West

Iowa State 6-3 Big 12

Appalachian State 7-2 Sun Belt

Utah 6-3 Pac-12

SMU (7-2) AAC

Kansas State 6-3 Big 12

Top teams in each division/conference:

Big Ten East: Ohio State 8-1

Big Ten West: Iowa 7-2

SEC West: Alabama 8-1

SEC East: Georgia 9-0

Big 12: Oklahoma 9-0

AAC: Cincinnati 9-0

Pac-12 North: Oregon 8-1

Pac-12 South: Utah 6-3

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 8-1

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 7-2

Independents: Notre Dame 8-1

Mountain West West: San Deigo State 8-1

Mountain West Mountain: Nevada 7-2

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 8-1

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 8-1

C-USA West: UTSA 9-0

C-USA East: Marshall 6-3

MAC West: Northern Illinois 6-3

MAC East: Kent State 5-4

Best Matchups next week:

Overall:

#13 Texas A&M (7-2) at #12 Ole Miss (7-2) on Saturday at 4 pm PT

Big Ten:

#8 Michigan (8-1) at Penn State (6-3) on Saturday at 9 am PT

SEC: (In addition to the Overall)

Mississippi State (5-4) at Auburn (6-3) on Saturday at 9 am PT

Big 12:

#2 Oklahoma (9-0) at #22 Baylor (7-2) on Saturday at TBA

AAC:

UCF (6-3) at SMU (7-2) on Saturday at 9 am PT

Pac-12:

Washington State (5-4) at #5 Oregon (8-1) on Saturday at 7:30 pm PT

Independents: NA

ACC:

#16 NC State (7-2) at #14 Wake Forest (8-1) on Saturday at 4:30 pm PT

Mountain West:

#24 Nevada (7-2) at #17 San Diego State (8-1) on Saturday at 7:30 pm PT

Sun Belt:

#20 Louisiana-Lafayette (8-1) at Troy (5-4) on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT

C-USA:

UAB (6-3) at Marshall (6-3) on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT

MAC:

Ball State (5-4) at Northern Illionois (6-3) on Wednesday at 4 pm PT

NCAA FBS Week 10 Rankings:

  1. Georgia 8-0 SEC
  2. Oklahoma 9-0 Big 12
  3. Cincinnati 8-0 AAC
  4. Michigan State 8-0 Big Ten
  5. Alabama 7-1 SEC
  6. Oregon 7-1 Pac-12
  7. Ohio State 7-1 Big Ten
  8. Michigan 7-1 Big Ten
  9. Wake Forest 8-0 ACC
  10. Notre Dame 7-1 Independent
  11. Oklahoma State 7-1 Big 12
  12. Baylor 7-1 Big 12
  13. Texas A&M 6-2 SEC
  14. Auburn 6-2 SEC
  15. Ole Miss 6-2 SEC
  16. UTSA 8-0 C-USA
  17. BYU 7-2 Independent
  18. Fresno State 7-2 Mountain West
  19. Louisiana-Lafayette 7-1 Sun Belt
  20. Houston 7-1 AAC
  21. San Diego State 7-1 Mountain West
  22. NC State 6-2 ACC
  23. Kentucky 6-2 SEC
  24. SMU 7-1 AAC
  25. Nevada 6-2 Mountain West

Next 10:

Wisconsin 5-3 Big Ten

Iowa 6-2 Big Ten

Minnesota 6-2 Big Ten

Utah State 6-2 Mountain West

Coastal Carolina 7-1 Sun Belt

Utah 5-3 Pac-12

Clemson 5-3 ACC

Appalachian State 6-2 Sun Belt

Air Force 6-2 Mountain West

Purdue 5-3 Big Ten

Best teams in each conference/division:

Big Ten East: Michigan State 8-0

Big Ten West: Wisconsin 5-3

SEC West: Alabama 7-1

SEC East: Georgia 8-0

Big 12: Oklahoma 8-0

AAC: Cincinnati 8-0

Pac-12 North: Oregon 7-1

Pac-12 South: Utah 5-3

Independents: Notre Dame 7-1

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 8-0

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 6-2

Mountain West West: Fresno State 7-2

Mountain West Mountain: Utah State 6-2

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 7-1

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 7-1

C-USA West: UTSA 8-0

C-USA East: FAU 5-3

MAC West: Northern Illinois 6-2

MAC East: Kent State 4-4

Best Matchup next week:

#16 UTSA (8-0) at UTEP (6-2) on Saturday at 7:15 pm Pacific Time

Big Ten:

#4 Michigan State (8-0) at Purdue (5-3) on Saturday at 12:30 pm Pacific Time

SEC:

#14 Auburn (6-2) at #13 Texas A&M (6-2) on Saturday at 12:30 pm Pacific Time

Big 12:

#11 Oklahoma State (7-1) at West Virginia (4-4) on Saturday at 12:30 pm Pacific Time

AAC:

#24 SMU (7-1) at Memphis (4-4) on Saturday at 9 am Pacific Time

Pac-12:

#6 Oregon (7-1) at Washington (4-4) on Saturday at 4:30 pm Pacific Time

ACC:

#9 Wake Forest (8-0) at North Carolina (4-4) on Saturday at 9 am Pacific Time

Independents: NA

Mountain West:

Boise State (4-4) at #18 Fresno State (7-2) on Saturday at 4 pm Pacific Time

Sun Belt:

Georgia State (4-4) at #19 Louisiana-Lafayette (7-1) on Thursday at 4:30 pm Pacific Time

C-USA: (Besides the Overall best Matchup)

Marshall (5-3) at FAU (5-3)

MAC:

Northern Illinois (6-2) at Kent State (4-4)

Best teams by region:

East: #9 Wake Forest (8-0) ACC

South: #1 Georgia (8-0) SEC

Midwest: #2 Oklahoma (8-0) Big 12

Rocky Mountains: #17 BYU (7-2) Independent

West: #6 Oregon (7-1) Pac-12

NCAA FBS Top 25 Week 9:

  1. Georgia 7-0 SEC
  2. Oklahoma 8-0 Big 12
  3. Cincinnati 7-0 AAC
  4. Michigan 7-0 Big Ten
  5. Alabama 7-1 SEC
  6. Michigan State 7-0 Big Ten
  7. Oregon 6-1 Pac-12
  8. Ohio State 6-1 Big Ten
  9. San Diego State 7-0 Mountain West
  10. Iowa 6-1 Big Ten
  11. Ole Miss 6-1 SEC
  12. Kentucky 6-1 SEC
  13. Wake Forest 7-0 ACC
  14. Notre Dame 6-1 Independent
  15. Oklahoma State 6-1 Big 12
  16. SMU 7-0 AAC
  17. UTSA 8-0 C-USA
  18. Pittsburgh 6-1 ACC
  19. Baylor 6-1 Big 12
  20. Texas A&M 6-2 SEC
  21. Iowa State 5-2 Big 12
  22. Coastal Carolina 6-1 Sun Belt
  23. Penn State 5-2 Big Ten
  24. Auburn 5-2 SEC
  25. UTEP 6-1 C-USA

Next 10:

Fresno State 6-2 Mountain West

Louisiana-Lafayette 6-1 Sun Belt

Houston 6-1 AAC

BYU 6-2 Independent

Virginia 6-2 ACC

NC State 5-2 ACC

Air Force 6-2 Mountain West

Nevada 5-2 Mountain West

Arizona State 5-2 Pac-12

Oregon State 5-2 Pac-12

Top teams in each division/conference:

Big Ten East: Michigan 7-0

Big Ten West: Iowa 6-1

SEC West: Alabama 7-1

SEC East: Georgia 7-0

Big 12: Oklahoma 8-0

AAC: Cincinnati 7-0

Pac-12 North: Oregon 6-1

Pac-12 South: Arizona State 5-2

Independents: Notre Dame 6-1

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 7-0

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 6-1

Mountain West West: San Diego State 7-0

Mountain West Mountain: Air Force 6-2

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 6-1

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 6-1

C-USA West: UTSA 8-0

C-USA East: FAU 4-3

MAC West: Northern Illinois 6-2

MAC East: Kent State 4-4

Best games next week:

Overall:

#4 Michigan (7-0) at #6 Michigan State (7-0)

In Conference:

Big Ten (besides overall best matchup):

#23 Penn State (5-2) at #8 Ohio State (6-1)

SEC:

#11 Ole Miss (6-1) at #24 Auburn (5-2)

Big 12:

Texas (4-3) at #19 Baylo (6-1)

AAC:

#16 SMU (7-0) at Houston (6-1)

Pac-12:

UCLA (5-3) at Utah (4-3)

Independent:

UMASS (1-6) at Liberty (6-2)

ACC:

Louisville (4-3) at NC State (5-2)

Mountain West:

Fresno State (6-2) at #9 San Diego State (7-0)

Sun Belt:

Troy (4-3) at #22 Coastal Carolina (6-1)

C-USA:

#25 UTEP (6-1) at FAU (4-3)

MAC:

Bowling Green (2-6) at Buffalo (4-4)

Why Scotland and the other home nations should get more historical credit for their World Championship achievements

Association football begins as a story coming out from the public school and city footballs that would come to dominate England. With a unionization of many football clubs into an association, The Football Association (The FA) was born in 1863.

The FA went through many changes early on, and by 1870, they had already proposed an unofficial match between Scotland and England, with representatives from both teams all playing in London, and Scotland only having one Scottish born player on the team. They tied 1-1, and then they played again that year and England won 1-0 over a Scottish side that only featured three Scottish-born players (Tony Collins “How Football Began”).

These early matches are considered unofficial friendlies and England won three and drew twice in the opening 5 unofficial matches all at The Oval in London. The first official friendly match, according to FIFA, was held on 30 November 1872 in Glasgow at Hamilton Crescent. By this time, Scotland and England were playing their best players, from their respective nations. The final score was 0-0. Following this international, England and Scotland, followed by Ireland and Wales, began to schedule each other regularly for friendlies, each year between January and April. By 1880, all nations had their own FAs. The Scottish Football Association was created in 1873, the Football Association of Wales was created in 1876, and the Irish Football Association was created in 1880. All of these had their own rules, but on 6 December 1882, they all met in Manchester and decided to formulate unifying rules, and with this, they decided to make official these regular friendlies by making these matches part of the first and oldest International National Team Competition in the world, the British Home Championship, which began in 1884.

The first match was 26 January 1884 between Ireland and Scotland at the Ulster Cricket Ground in Belfast. Scotland won 5-0. Scotland would go onto win 1-0 over England and then 4-1 over Wales, both at Cathkin Park in Glasgow, later on in 1884, to win the initial British Home Championship. Scotland would be considered the best team in the World in 1884, and their World domination would continue, winning three of the first four British Home Championships outright, while tying for first with England and sharing the Championship in the 1885-1886 edition. It was not until the 1887-1888 edition that Scotland did not win the premier international tournament in the world. As you can tell, later on, the British Home Championship would be played over two calendar years like a club league season, hence the two years in the editions.

Meanwhile, these championships almost did not continue after the second championship, as the Scottish FA announced they would refuse the Scotland National Team from playing England, if England used professional players as The Football Association announced they were allowing professionalism. From this dispute, the Irish FA proposed having an annual meeting to address these disputes and become the official body that determines the Laws of Association Football. Each FA agreed and met in London in 1886 to form the International Football Association Board (IFAB). IFAB eventually would include FIFA in 1913, nine years after FIFA was created.

What is interesting to note is that initially during these early years, the Irish FA represented Ireland, combined, as both were the same entity under the UK. It was not until 1921 that the present-day, Republic of Ireland, created their own separate FA called the Football Association of Ireland. The southern part of Ireland became Southern Ireland under the UK in 1921, and then the Irish Free State in 1922, and eventually the Republic of Ireland in 1937. The Football Association of Ireland and this southern half would not compete in the British Home Championship. Northern Ireland meanwhile, was created in 1921, and stayed a part of the UK and continued to be represented by the Irish FA and continued to compete in the British Home Championship. Another interesting fact is that the British Home Championship did not initially popularize this name until the 1890s in the public and there was not even a trophy until 1935. Still, this tournament held very big prestige, as it was these early years when the British nations were the best nations playing this code of football. In fact, for some of these years, they were the only nations with a national football association, and thus, the British Home Championship champions would become known as International Champions or World Champions. Similarly, the club champions of England and Scotland had already begun meeting in a friendly called the Football World Championship (also known as the International Club Championship) in 1876, and this lasted until 1904.

From The Courier (Dundee Courier): The British Home Championships after Scotland won their eight “International Championship” in 1896.

In fact, it was not until 1900 that there were other International Football competitive national team tournaments, and this 1900 competition was the Olympics. Yet, both the 1900 and 1904 editions featured makeshift club teams representing nations and is not even recognized by FIFA, and were originally recognized as demonstration sport events, but retroactively have been considered as official sport events by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Same with the 1906 Intercalated Games/Olympics (not recognized by IOC or FIFA anymore). This meant that it was not until 1908 that the Olympics officially, at the time the event took place, would consist of association football. FIFA eventually agreed to recognize the Olympic tournament as the “world football championship for amateurs”.

This meant that still, the only national team international championship that allowed professionals to play was the British Home Championship, and again, these were the best nations. And, each Olympics Great Britain entered, they won the Olympic Gold Medal. It was not until 1920, that they would not win a Gold Medal in an Olympic Football Tournament they entered. Great Britain would not compete in 1924 or 1928 due to a disagreement over professionalism status, as they viewed some of the other nations as having professional players due to improper benefits.

The Home Associations had a very interesting relationship with FIFA, as FIFA claimed to be the world governing body for association football, but the home nations initially refused to be a part of FIFA, while FIFA used IFAB Home Nations’ rules. Eventually, the two would come together with the home nations joining, but it was an off and on dispute, so much so that when FIFA decided to create a professional world championship called the World Cup, the home nations declined to go until the fourth world championship.

As such, the first three world cups were won by Uruguay (1930) and Italy (1934 and 1938). Yet, during these first three World Cups, membership in FIFA only included 16 in 1930, 36 in 1934, and 37 in 1938. And, none of the Home Nations attempted to play in these first 3 World Cups, with Charles Suttcliffe, a member of The Football Association committee stating that “the national associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have quite enough to do in their own International Championship which seems to me a far better World Championship than the one to be staged in Rome”. In fact, England would play World Cup Champions Italy in November of 1934 in a match dubbed the “Real World Cup Final” by the English press, and England won 3-2, again proving that the British Home Championship was the best competition and better World Cup in the British eyes, and even in the eyes of most Europeans as even Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini offered to buy all the Italian players Alfa Romeos if they won this match. And, in 1939, the English again played World Champions Italy, but this time to a 2-2 draw in Italy, followed by a 1948 4-0 win away over Italy.

These were the only matches during the pre-1950 era where British nations played a defending World Cup Champion and their record was 2-1-0.

Given these facts, and the facts that England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland were widely regarded as the best nations or among them during this period from 1930-1949, and given that the British Home Championship was the only international tournament from 1884-1899, and was the only professional national team world championship from 1885-1929, and given that the the home nations were the only countries that played the sport early on, and were the only nations with federations until 1889, it is reasonable to suggest that the nations to have won the British Home Championship should either be considered World Champions up to 1950, when the British nations first competed in the World Cup, up until 1949 once their tournament became part of FIFA World Cup qualifiers (1949-1950 British Home Championship was a qualifier for the British nations for the 1950 FIFA World Cup), up until 1930 when FIFA started the World Cup, up until 1920 when the Olympics became considered the World Championship by FIFA, up until 1908 when the Olympics became official at the time and recognized by FIFA as an international tournament, or up until 1900 when the first association football tournament at the Olympics were held. At the very least, winning the British Home Championship should be recognized as a world championship up until 1889, before there were any other federations or FAs besides the four competing in this historic competition.

Why is this important? It is important to remember and respect the roots of the game. The game was founded in the British Isles, and we often forget that historically speaking, these nations have been the best to play the sport. Right now, people at least recognize England as having been World Champions because of their 1966 FIFA World Cup victory, but people do not recognize Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland/Ireland combined as having been World Champions, when these sides used to be clearly the best nations in the world!

After all, all the FIFA World Cup is, is the competition in which the winner earns the title “World Champions”. This is what the British Home Championship did too. And in fact, for FIFA, this is what the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Olympic Football Tournament did as well. So, FIFA should include these early British Home Championships as a World Championship too.

People may be asking, well, how is it fair that a nation can be considered the World Champion if only four nations competed? This question comes about it from a confused logic. To be the best in something in the world, it just means that you are better than everyone else. If you are the only person to do it, yes, you are the best in the world. And, even with this failed logic, if winning the British Home Championship when it was the best tournament in the World is not a real World Championship equivalent to the FIFA World Cup because it only included four nations, then are the earlier versions of the World Cup when there were only 16 nations, and then less than 40 up until 1938 Real World Championshis? It was not until the 1978 FIFA World Cup Qualifications that over 100 nations were part of FIFA so do all world cups from 1974 and before not count? Even now, there have been more national teams added to FIFA since 2014 with Gibraltar and Kosovo joining, so does only the 2018 FIFA World Cup count (I would sure hope not)? What is the magic number of nations that legitimizes a World Championship? Surely, if the best four nations play in a tournament, that should count as the World Championship, especially if none other exist at that time. And, once one does, maybe they both can be considered as such? As we have seen with plenty of other sports and association football competitions, this is exactly how it works. Whoever was the best, regardless of the amount of participants, is the champion.

Then, people will say that the British Home Championship does not deserve to be held as highly as the FIFA World Cup because the British Home Championship did not allow other nations besides the British nations to compete in it. While the validity of the claim is there, this is actually also a failed logic in argument for FIFA World Cups only being considered World Championships as created by the precedent from FIFA in two separate World Championships. One, for the 1930 World Cup, Asia, Africa, and Oceania were not present. So, whom needs to be included for something to be considered a World Championship? Furthermore, in the FIFA Club World Cup, winners of the FIFA Club World Cup and Intercontinental Cup are both considered by FIFA to have been World Championship Football Clubs, even though the Intercontinental Cup, the precursor to the FIFA Club World Cup, only included the South American and European club champions and no one else. This recognition of Intercontinental Cup Champions as Club World Champions was made official in 2017 by FIFA. So, even by FIFA standards, just by having what many consider are the two best teams play each other, it can be considered a world championship, prior to the establishment of its own world championship, and/or on years they do not have their own world championship.

Still, people will ask how FIFA will recognize the World Champions title to a nation and allow the nation to claim such, when not having won a World Cup? But, people are mistaken because in fact, this is exactly what FIFA already does. Uruguay are considered to have been four time World Champions by FIFA and Belgium is considered to have been one time World Champions by FIFA, as Uruguay won the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Football Tournament, while Belgium won the 1920 Olympic Football Tournament, and FIFA considers these three Olympic tournaments as a senior world championship. This is why FIFA allows Uruguay to wear four stars on their crest, as opposed to only allowing them to where two for their two FIFA World Cups, because for FIFA, the stars represent being World Champions, and not just being World Cup Champions, although both have become synonymous. Now, FIFA does this, because this is what they did in 1914, but they have not retroactively given Great Britain this for their earlier triumphs in 1908 and 1912. FIFA does not count the 1900, 1904, nor the 1906 football tournaments at the Olympics/Intercalated Games as official either. But, having counted the 1920, 1924, and 1928 editions as senior World Championships, plus having already retroactively recognized the Intercontinental Cup as a world championship for clubs, as we read in the previous paragraph, this means that not only can non FIFA World Cup Champions be recognized as World Champions by FIFA, but also that FIFA can recognize these accomplishments retroactively.

So, why try for this? As seen in 2017, FIFA does retroactively award World Championships, especially if they did not have a World Championship of their own at the time. Furthermore, as we have seen in futsal and beach soccer, there can be two world championships on alternating years with different federations leading them as with futsal, and their can be world champions outside of the designated FIFA competition as seen with both, especially before FIFA had a competition. For futsal, the highest governing body was the AMF, and now it is both the AMF and FIFA. For Beach Soccer, the highest governing body was Beach Soccer Worldwide, and now is FIFA. In Beach Soccer, Brazil has 14 World Championships, 9 from 1995-2004 under Beach Soccer World Wide’s tournament called the Beach Soccer World Championship, which was held annually. And then, Brazil has won 5 world championships since 2005 in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which had been held annually until 2009, and since has been held once every two years. You can see from this description from FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup’s Facebook Page, they recognize the previous World Championships: “From the 16 tournaments held so far, only four nations have taken the title. Brazil is the leading and dominant national team, having won 13 titles. The other three champions are Portugal, in 2001, France, in 2005 and Russia, in 2011.” This was written for the 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup in The Bahamas. And then for futsal, there is the AMF, then under a different name, who were the sole world governing body until 1989, and have held World Championships (AMF Futsal World Championship/World Cup) once every three years from 1982 to 2003, and since 2003, once every four years. For FIFA, their FIFA Futsal World Cup has been held since 1989, once every four years, except in the 1992 and 2021 editions where there is an exception to the once every four years rule. This makes it so that there is a different world champion every two years. The reason both exist is because they could not come to an agreement, and thus both the AMF Futsal World Championship and the FIFA Futsal World Cup winners are considered world champions. Given the similarities to how The FA was the original governing body, and then all the home associations, and still to this day, IFAB who makes the rules is mainly the home nations, it is highly credible to suggest that since during those early years of the FIFA World Cup, and before it, that both competing governing bodies considered their own competitions World Championships, that both should be considered as such, including the British Home Championship up until 1949-1950, when the competing governing bodies stopped their competing claims and the home associations decided to join into the FIFA World Cup, similar to the current futsal situation. Or, if not good enough still, one should at least give the Home Nations credit for their World Championship teams prior to the FIFA World Cup being created or prior to the 1920 Olympics or the 1908 Olympics, or at the very least the 1900 Olympics due to the fact that FIFA recognizes The FA and the home nations as the former governing bodies for the world like they have done with Beach Soccer Worldwide and their World Championship winners.

The last question will have to be what to do if FIFA does count these as World Championships? In other words, will it be fare for Scotland and England especially, to have so many World Championships because their competition happened every year, while the FIFA World Cup has only been once every four years? In other words, would it be fare to let us say a Brazil that when they were the best, from 1964-1972, they will only get credit for three world championships instead of eight in proportion to a team who won the world championship when it was once every year? Well, as seen with beach soccer, FIFA still counts all of them from when they did it once every year as the same as now that they do it once every two years. And, in the future, FIFA will probably do the same thing if the World Cup goes to once every two years, and with FIFA’s plans to make the FIFA Club World Cup a once in every four years event, there is no sign from FIFA that all of a sudden, they will try to reduce the amount of Real Madrid’s World Championships by using some proportionality equation where 13 is multiplied by 1/4 to put Real Madrid’s 13 world championship titles into contextual proportionality with winners of the event since it has gone to once every four years.

But still, even if all British Home Championships are not counted, should not each home nation get to at least count one world championship and have at least one star on their patch? After all, Scotland was the best team early on in world football, dominating England, the next best team. And, Wales and Northern Ireland/Ireland combined proved to be the best sometimes too. And, England, like Scotland, was dominant early on as well, just not as early on into this competition as was Scotland.

If we look at the various ways you could break this down, here it goes (Total: Total divided by 4 to account for 1 FIFA World Cup every 4 years in relation to annual British Home Championship):

British Home Championships Won and Shared Won from 1883-1884 to 1949-1950:

  1. England: 29: 7.25
  2. Scotland: 28/29: 7/7.25
  3. Wales: 8:2
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 2: 0.5

British Home Championships Won Outright from 1883-1884 to 1949-1950:

  1. England: 19: 4.75
  2. Scotland: 18/19: 4.5/4.75
  3. Wales: 7: 1.25
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 1/0.25

British Home Championships Won and Shared Won from 1883-1884 to 1948-1949:

  1. Scotland: 28/29: 7/7.25
  2. England: 28: 7
  3. Wales: 8: 2
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 2: 0.5 (all as Ireland combined)

British Home Championships Won Outright from 1883-1884 to 1948-1949:

  1. Scotland: 18/19: 4.5/4.75
  2. England: 18: 4.5
  3. Wales: 7: 1.75
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 1/0.25

British Home Championships Won and Shared Won from 1883-1884 to 1929-1930:

  1. Scotland: 23: 5.75
  2. England: 21: 5.25
  3. Wales: 4: 1
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 2: 0.5

British Home Championships Won Outright from 1883-1884 to 1929-1930:

  1. Scotland: 16: 4
  2. England: 15: 3.75
  3. Wales: 4: 1
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 1: 0.25

British Home Championships Won and Shared Won from 1883-1884 to 1919-1920:

  1. England: 19: 4.75
  2. Scotland: 16: 4
  3. Wales: 2: 0.5
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 2: 0.5

British Home Championships Won Outright from 1883-1884 to 1919-1920:

  1. England: 13: 3.25
  2. Scotland: 10: 2.5
  3. Wales: 2: 0.5
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 1: 0.25

British Home Championships Won and Shared Won from 1883-1884 to 1907-1908:

  1. England: 15: 3.75
  2. Scotland: 14: 3.50
  3. Wales: 1: 0.25
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 1: 0.25

British Home Championships Won Outright from 1883-1884 to 1907-1908:

  1. England: 10: 2.5
  2. Scotland: 9: 2.25
  3. Wales: 1: 0.25
  4. Ireland/Northern Ireland: 0: 0

British Home Championships Won and Shared Won from 1883-1884 to 1899-1900:

  1. Scotland: 10: 2.5
  2. England: 9: 2.25

British Home Championships Won Outright from 1883-1884 to 1899-1900:

  1. Scotland: 8: 2
  2. England: 7: 1.75

British Home Championships Won and Shared Won from 1883-1884 to 1888-1889:

  1. Scotland: 5/1.25
  2. England: 2/0.5

British Home Championships Won Outright from 1883-1884 to 1888-1889:

  1. Scotland: 4/1
  2. England: 1/0.25

*Scotland’s 1945-1956 victory is not official as it is considered part of the Victory Internationals, but nonetheless, is counted with the slash because it was played.

As you can tell, that number after the semi-colon is the number divided by 4 or multiplied by 1/4. This would be in case members sought something like this. I feel in these cases, numbers should always be rounded down to the nearest whole number, unless that number is zero, meaning that any amount will guarantee you at least one.

While it may seem unfair to some that the Home Nations would receive credit as being the best footballing nations regardless of FIFA World Cup status, it is highly unfair to those very home nations for not having received such a proper title yet. For Belgium and Uruguay, their accomplishments are considered valid, even if done in an amateur tournament. But, for Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland/Northern Ireland, their accomplishments are not considered valid, and for most of the British Home Championship competition, it was fully professional, and considered a professional international/world championship. Plus, given how England was able to defeat a defending World Champion Italy twice, it proves that the British Home Championship had as much validity via talent as did the FIFA World Cup. Understandably, after 1950, and really the 1949-1950 British Home Championship, it should probably not be counted as a World Championship anymore as the British nations competed to qualify in the World Cup and at the World Cup, but the British Home Championship definitely should be considered a World Championship before the British nations attempted World Cup qualifying. And, everyone is in agreement that the British Home Championship should be considered a World Championship at some point in time, even if only between 1884 and 1900, prior to the Olympics having football, or between 1884 and 1889 at the very least when no other national football federation existed besides the home nations.

In the end, the legacies of the great footballers that made association football the sport it is today, that made the national team calendar important, that created the basis for national team tournaments, and who were at one point the best team in the world and champions of a tournament featuring the best nations of the world, should be remembered as World Champions by FIFA. And, that includes Scotland and England especially, and Wales and Ireland/Northern Ireland too!

After all, it was Scotland that was drawing 100,000 fans to matches from 1906 and it was Scotland who won 10 matches to England’s 2 from 1872-1887, the first 16 years of international football according to FIFA, and it was not until 1888 that England would win in Glasgow. This means that Scotland were clearly the best nation in World Football, for much longer than merely the British Home Championship even displays, and due to this development of the game and the international game at that, it is only right and respectful to list Scotland among the list of World Champions, because that is what they were many times over.

San Marino 🇸🇲 and the Vatican City 🇻🇦 should focus on National Team Baseball. Here is why:

The Italian Peninsula is full of baseball, the national past time of the United States of America (USA).

The Italian National Team is consistently one of the best national baseball teams, not just in Europe, but in the world! The Italians have won 10 European Championships, second to the Netherlands’ 24 European Championships. The Italian National Team currently ranks 17th in the World, and has competed in every World Baseball Classic (WBC) so far, winning at least one game every WBC, and finishing 7th and 12th once, and 10th twice.

Italy defeats Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Guadalajara from the New York Times

And it is not just at the national team level that Italy dominates, but so too at the club level. Italian teams have won 34 of the 55 European Cups (Club Championship), including the last 2 times. Their baseball club, Parma Baseball Club, has the most European Cups at 24, and has won the most recent cup. Furthermore, the Italian Baseball League has won 27 European Cups in total, as there have been 3 European Cups won by San Marino’s club, San Marino Baseball Club, which plays in the Italian Baseball League.

Italian Baseball League logo from Wikipedia

San Marino Baseball Club has won 4 Italian Baseball League titles (including the most recent one), and has won 3 European Cups as mentioned before. They have been a mainstay at the top level in Italy since 1985. The club was founded by Sammarinese boys who had just come back from the USA in 1970. Thus, San Marino Baseball Club’s quick rise to the top of the best league in Europe was impressive to say the least.

San Marino Baseball Club logo from Wikipedia
Stadio di Baseball di Serravalle is the home of San Marino Baseball Club and the San Marino National Baseball Team and holds 1,500 people; from Wikipedia

Yet, with these accomplishments, somehow, San Marino has never been able to find a way to convert their club eliteness into national team eliteness on the European Continent, let alone on the World Stage, at least not since 1985.

The San Marino National Team got 5th at the 1971 European Championship, and 6th at the 1985 European Championship, but outside of this, they have never entered any other European Championship, nor have they attempted to qualify for the World Baseball Classic.

San Marino Flag from Wikipedia

San Marino does not even feature in the WBSC World Baseball Rankings, as they do not play in any games, or very many if any anymore.

But, why would this country so connected to republican virtue and thus Italian and American culture not seek to compete in a sport not only embraced by both of their compatriots, but one they take pride in already in their own culture, and are already good at?

Guaita Fortress in the City of San Marino, one of three fortresses in San Marino’s capital city, from Britannica

When we look at small countries and success, it is usually finding niche sports or focusing on certain sports. For example, the Solomon Islands are great at beach soccer, while Lichtenstein, traditionally, has produced top skiers. Monaco, meanwhile, has produced top race car drivers, primarily in the Formula 1 circuit.

Baseball could be that sport at the national team level for San Marino. Their men’s soccer team is ranked 210th, the worst in FIFA, and their mens basketball team is ranked 127th out of 213 nations. And San Marino has put so much emphasis into these two sports at the national team level, whereas in baseball, if they just got the talent they could, they would probably be top 30. They would be pushing for WBC qualification. And, if they qualified, they would be among the best 20 nations in baseball. You would be able to see San Marino play in places like Tokyo, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Guadalajara, Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, Seoul, Taichung, Phoenix, and other major cities that have hosted the WBC. In these locations, you could see San Marino play at stadiums that seat more than their own country like Dodger Stadium and the Tokyo Dome! When it comes to the Americas and East Asia, this is the sport that will connect you across cultures and put your nation on the map and into billions of people’s households. And, if Sammarinese baseballers impress, the MLB, and other leagues like the Nippon League, will pay huge dollars to get their best baseball players as they do for the rest of the world. For a country that has relied on diplomacy for survival, playing a sport that major Pacific and Latin American powers pride themselves in would be instrumental in developing relations with these nations who are often outside their usual inner circle.

Tokyo Dome during a World Baseball Classic Game from NBC Sports MLB News

While San Marino really does not need national team success to boost national morale and pride, given its illustrious history as the world’s oldest sovereign state, and the world’s first republic still in existence, founded by a Catholic Saint, with USA President Abraham Lincoln as an honorary citizen, with not to mention a unique rotational head of state that has meant that San Marino has had the most women heads of state, it would be nice to see San Marino get to play an elite sport against the world’s best as a national team. Could you imagine seeing San Marino verse the USA, San Marino verse Japan, or simply San Marino verse Italy in a WBC game? For any country, seeking even greater potentials is something that is always wanted, and in San Marino, excelling in a World Championship may only be a pitch or a swing away, if they could just refocus their sports program to one they already have elite talent in.

And this is where the Italian National Team, San Marino, and the Vatican City State all come together in an Italian Peninsula Baseball trilogy.

The Italian Peninsula from WorldAtlas; Vatican City is fully surrounded by Rome, so, it is much smaller than San Marino, even though the map may make it seem like it is as big as that red square.

If you look at the Italian National Team in the World Baseball Classic, something will strike you immediately, and that is that a lot of the team are American-born baseballers of Italian descent. This is because the WBC has very lax nationality rules for playing for national teams. Basically, as long as you can qualify for the national team, you can play for that nation. Even if you are only a permanent resident, you can play for that nation.

Here is a list: A player is eligible if: (1) a citizen of the nation or has a passport for that nation, (2) a player is eligible to to receive citizenship or to hold a passport in the nation in question, but has not received either yet, and the player or team successfully petitions the WBC, (3) the player is a permanent legal resident of the nation, (4) the player was born in the nation, (5) the player has one parent who is or was a citizen of the nation, and (5) the player has one parent who was born in the nation.

Team Israel took advantage of a lot of these rules in a successful 2017 World Baseball Classic run that saw them go 4-2; from PRI.org

Thus, as seen by the WBC rules, the rules of jus sanguinis (citizenship by being born by a person or persons of that nationality) and jus soli (citizenship by being born in the country) are equally valid for the WBC, even if in their respective nations it is not. This has meant that Italy in 2017, used 23 non-Italian born players, while Israel used even more as all their players were American-born, except one who was born in Israel.

While the WBSC rules are more strict on national team eligibility for the initial qualifiers to the WBC, they really are only more strict in that they seek for national team players to be citizens, and for competitions like the Olympics, players must be citizens for one year before the qualifiers start. Even with this extra restriction, the rules are very lenient and this should not affect San Marino very much, as all it means is they would have to be more diligent leading up to the qualifiers. And, the qualifiers are easier than the WBC and Olympics itself, and the players San Marino are most likely to draw from that would not already be citizens would be player playing close by that should be eligible some way.

For San Marino, this means that in addition to Sammarinese citizens, as well as permanent residents in San Marino, such as those they probably have on their club team, they could find more talent in places like nearby Rimini who also field a very good professional baseball team and probably have some players with a connection or who could have a connection to San Marino.

San Marino is about a 20 minute car drive from neighboring Rimini; From GEOATLAS

Likewise, when looking at major sports, baseball seems the sport most conducive to allowing jus oficii citizenship, or in other words, citizenship by work or occupation. This is the citizenship by which the Vatican City State uses (along with the Holy See and Sovereign Knights of Malta). Currently, the Vatican City State is looking into having an Athletics (Track and Field) National Team at the Olympics. Vatican City already has numerous of national teams from soccer to basketball to cricket even. None are members yet of the main federations for these sports such as FIFA, FIBA, or the ICC respectively. This is often due to numerous reasons such as the can of worms that would be opened if these sporting federations allowed one nation to use jus oficii as a way to have national team players. It would have to be an exception to the rule, which if abused, or even if not abused but the Vatican City State were very successful, could push other national teams to try and do the same, using this as a loophole to essentially just pay players to be citizens and play for their national team. But, in baseball, this can has already been opened, yielding a lot of veracity to the idea that the Vatican City could support a national baseball team, eligible to play in the WBC and in WBSC competitions.

Flag of the Vatican City State from Wikipedia
Map of Vatican City State from Wikiwand
St. Peter’s Cricket Club/Vatican City National Cricket Team; from St. Peter’s Cricket Club Facebook Page

This even leaves it to chance that the Soveriegn Knights of Malta could join too? But, that is a whole other story. If you do not know who they are, they are sort of like the Holy See in that they are a sovereign entity that some may consider a sovereign state, but they only posses extra-territorial land, with their headquarters, also in Rome.

Sovereign Knights of Malta Flag from Wikipedia
Headquarters of the Sovereign Knights of Malta in Rome from Wikipedia

So, why would the Vatican City want to join the baseballing world? Well one, they are already integral to it. Baseball has been dominated by Catholics like “Babe” Ruth for a long time. New Yorkers of Italian descent popularized baseball to the whole country, and the Americas as a whole is very baseball playing, especially in the areas that are most Catholic like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Nicaragua, and Mexico. And, in East Asia, Catholicism is one of the fastest growing religions, and there is much potential for the Faith, especially given how largely non-religious these societies have become, thus making it easier for converting. When looking at Latin America and the need to keep them Catholic, while also looking at East Asia and the potential for them to be Catholic, having baseball and the Vatican City intertwined would do wonders for a good PR stunt and increase in popularity. In fact, the reason Vatican City created their cricket team was to grow the Church in the West Indies, Great Britain, South Asia, and the Arabian Gulf Countries, plus other locations that are big into cricket like Australia and New Zealand, and parts of East and Southern Africa. In fact, St. Peter’s Cricket Club often follows diplomatic missions of the Holy See when it is in cricket loving nations, and they often play matches against local teams. With a Vatican City Baseball Team, one could see the Holy See using their baseball team to promote diplomacy and the Church in many areas such as the Republic of China (Taiwan/Chinese Taipei) which the Holy See recognizes and struggles to find more Catholics in. The Holy See could send the Vatican City National Baseball Team to play a Chinese Professional Baseball Team like the Fubon Guardians and then against Taiwan’s top Catholic university, Fu Jen Catholic University, to grow relations between the China the Holy See recognizes and the Holy See itself, and grow Catholicism in the process.

Who would be on this team? Well, potentially North American scholars/seminarians at the Pontifical North American College on extra-territorial land belonging to the Holy See in Rome. Or perhaps, from the Pontifical Latin American College also in the same setup in Rome on extra-territorial land. Or maybe the Swiss Guards will take an interest in baseball since they have their traditional Swiss game of Hornussen. And, anyone working for the Holy See or Vatican City should be eligible to play, so maybe someone who works at the Vatican Museums is a great pitcher? The point is, there are probably 30 or so interested potential or actual baseball players that could play for the Vatican City, and whether they were good or not, it would go a long way to legitimizing the Vatican City’s role in the sports world. And, if you’re concerned where they would practice or play games, there are teams and baseball fields in Rome, and they do have a baseball field at the Pontifical North American College. So, there are fields around to play on, in addition to stadiums to play in.

The Pontifical North American College Sports Field can feature as a baseball field, in addition to other sports; from Pontifical North American College; It is a 7 minute drive or 14 minute walk and 5 minute drive from St. Peter’s Basilica.
“Giulio Onesti” Olympic Training Center is home to a 1,152 seat baseball stadium and is an 11 minute drive from St. Peter’s Basilica; from Google Maps
Stadio Steno Borghese seats up to around 8,000-10,000 people, and is located in the Metropolitan City of Rome, in a commune called Nettuno, and is a 58 minute drive from St. Peter’s Basilica; from Achysport.com

As far as potentially being good goes, baseball is a very difficult sport, but luckily, it is not an impossible sport to get good at fast. With the right recruitment and luck, the Vatican City could put together a team that really could compete well in Europe. They probably will not win a lot, at least initially, but with more hard work, who knows, maybe they will become good enough to get to the WBC Qualifiers. As for San Marino, they have the talent to be good now, especially if they can recruit well. San Marino would be likely to feature in the last qualifiers for the WBC, and potentially would qualify for the WBC itself, especially after a few years of running a national baseball team again.

Yet, it is not merely about how good the national team can be for the Vatican City. For San Marino, it is, because this is a sport San Marino has a rich tradition in, a sport which San Marino has come to dominate in at various levels. But, for the Vatican City, becoming a member of the WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) and furthermore, attempting to compete at the World Baseball Classic and European Championship, would set a precedent that the Vatican City can play sports in the major federations. Plus, for both nations, the ability to play baseball means the ability to play softball and Baseball5, and this means three new sports and five new senior level teams (for both genders, and Baseball5 has mixed-gender teams). Yes, the Vatican City does have women national teams, such as their new women’s soccer national team. And, one extra bonus for the Vatican City is that the WBSC is recognized and a part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), with men’s baseball and women’s softball often featured in the Summer Olympic Games such as at the 2020 Olympic Games and in the future 2028 Olympic Games, plus Baseball5 will feature in the 2026 Summer Youth Olympic Games. After all, the Vatican City seeks to be able to compete in the Olympics, and this is why they have set up their new Vatican Athletics Club as part of the Italian Athletics Federation (Holy See and Italian Olympic Committee agreed to this deal, to start the ball rolling on the Vatican City attaining their own National Olympic Committee). This is the goal of the Vatican Athletics President, Monsignor Melchor Jose Sánchez de Toca y Alameda. While their athletics national team may become the first national team to become part of an international federation, World Athletics, it would be good to try and become a member of the WBSC, especially since this a team sport that is so popular in many parts of the world, and might be able to join. Either way, to compete in the Olympics, they not only have to have a national association in one of these federations, they also have to obtain a National Olympic Committee. And that is why for the Vatican City, starting up a national baseball team and then trying to join the WBSC would be a really good start to this goal, one that surpasses its track and field accomplishment.

Vatican Athletics National Team running in St. Peter’s Square; from The Times

The openness of the World Baseball Classic makes baseball a more accessible sport for smaller nations, especially if they have a baseballing population. For San Marino, the potential is to play in the World Baseball Classic. For the Vatican City, it is more about the potential to create the precedent that the Vatican City can play sports in the major competitions, and to grow their Faith. These two nations playing national team baseball would be a good thing for both, as it is a chance for both to display their culture and nation to the world, something both do not get to do very often in sports.

NCAA FBS Rankings Week 8:

  1. Georgia 7-0 SEC
  2. Cincinnati 6-0 AAC
  3. Oklahoma 7-0 Big 12
  4. Michigan 6-0 Big Ten
  5. Michigan State 7-0 Big Ten
  6. Oklahoma State 6-0 Big 12
  7. Alabama 6-1 SEC
  8. Ohio State 5-1 Big Ten
  9. Iowa 6-1 Big Ten
  10. Penn State 5-1 Big Ten
  11. Coastal Carolina 6-0 Sun Belt
  12. San Diego State 6-0 Mountain West
  13. Oregon 5-1 Pac-12
  14. Notre Dame 5-1 Independent
  15. Baylor 6-1 Big 12
  16. SMU 6-0 AAC
  17. Wake Forest 6-0 ACC
  18. Kentucky 6-1 SEC
  19. UTSA 7-0 C-USA
  20. NC State 6-1 ACC
  21. Ole Miss 5-1 SEC
  22. Pittsburgh 6-1 ACC
  23. Texas A&M 5-2 SEC
  24. Louisiana-Lafayette 5-1 Sun Belt
  25. Air Force 6-1 Mountain West

Next 10:

Auburn 5-2 SEC

BYU 5-2 Independent

Utah 4-2 Pac-12

Arizona State 5-2 Pac-12

UTEP 6-1 C-USA

Purdue 4-2 Big Ten

Frenso State 5-2 Mountain West

Nevada 5-1 Mountain West

UCLA 5-2 Pac-12

Texas Tech 5-2 Big 12

Best teams in each division/conference:

Big Ten East: Michigan 6-0

Big Ten West: Iowa 6-1

Big 12: Oklahoma 7-0

AAC: Cincinnati 6-0

SEC West: Alabama 6-1

SEC East: Georgia 7-0

Mountain West West: San Diego State 6-0

Mountain West Mountain: Air Force 6-1

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 6-0

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 5-1

Pac-12 North: Oregon 5-1

Pac-12 South: Utah 4-2

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 6-0

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 5-1

C-USA West: UTSA 7-0

C-USA East: Charlotte 4-2

MAC West: Northern Illinois 5-2

MAC East: Kent State 3-4

Best Matchups this next week:

Overall:

#12 San Diego State (6-0) at #25 Air Force (6-1) on Saturday 4 pm PT

Big Ten:

Wisconsin (3-3) at Purdue (4-2) on Saturday 12 pm PT

Big 12:

#6 Oklahoma State (6-0) at Iowa State (4-2) on Saturday 12:30 pm PT

SEC:

LSU (4-3) at #21 Ole Miss (5-1) on Saturday 12:30 pm PT

Pac-12:

#13 Oregon (5-1) at UCLA (5-2) on Saturday 12:30 pm PT

ACC:

Clemson (4-2) at #22 Pittsburgh (5-1) on Saturday 12:30 pm PT

AAC:

East Carolina (3-3) at Houston (5-1) on Saturday 1 pm PT

Mountain West: (In addition to the overall game of the week)

Nevada (5-1) at Fresno State (5-2) on Saturday 4 pm PT

Sun Belt:

#11 Coastal Carolina (6-0) at Appalachian State (4-2) on Wednesday 4:30 pm PT

C-USA:

FAU (3-3) at Charlotte (4-2) on Thursday at 4:30 pm PT

MAC:

Northern Illinois (5-2) at Central Michigan (4-3) on Saturday at 9 am PT

World Cup 2022 Qualifying Updates after October Window:

Groups:

Ranking. Team: Points, Goal Differential, Goals For-Goals Against, Wins-Draws-Losses

Tiebreakers: overall points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a loss, and 0 points for a draw), overall goal difference, overall goals for, points in matches between tied teams, goal difference in matches between tied teams, goals for in matches between tied teams, away goals scored in matches between tied teams, fair play points (minus 1 point for first yellow card, minus 3 points for second yellow card/indirect red, minus 4 points for direct red card, and minus 5 points for yellow card and direct red card), and then drawing of lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee.

Asia:

In Asia, the top 2 teams in each group from this round of qualifiers qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the 3rd place teams from each group will play each other, with the winner going on to play in the Inter-confederation Playoff, to either face the North American 4th place team, South American 5th place team, or Oceanian 1st place team in a home and away two-legged tie.

Group A:

  1. IR Iran: 10, +5, 6-1, 3-1-0
  2. South Korea: 8, +2, 4-2, 2-2-0
  3. Lebanon: 5, 0, 3-3, 1-2-1
  4. UAE: 3, -1, 3-4, 0-3-1
  5. Iraq: 3, -3, 2-5, 0-3-1
  6. Syria: 1, -3, 4-7, 0-1-3

Group B:

  1. Saudi Arabia: 12, +5, 8-3, 4-0-0
  2. Australia: 9, +5, 8-3, 3-0-1
  3. Oman: 6, 0, 5-5, 2-0-2
  4. Japan: 6, 0, 3-3, 2-0-2
  5. PR China: 3, -4, 5-9, 1-0-3
  6. SR Vietnam: 0, -6, 4-10, 0-0-4

Updates:

IR Iran came off of a 1-0 away win in the UAE and a 1-1 home draw against South Korea. IR Iran is looking like the strongest team in this group. However, South Korea is most talented. South Korea had a home win 2-1 over Syria, but has failed to overtake IR Iran this round of qualifiers. South Korea has largely been unimpressive and uninspiring this World Cup campaign, which is disappointing for the “Tigers of Asia” who have become one of the most consistent nations on the world stage, having even gotten 4th place in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Lebanon currently sit 3rd, which is impressive for a country whose hopes at the World Cup has largely been on the basketball court. The Mediterranean nation is standing out over their UAE and Iraqi counterparts by obtaining a 3-2 away win over Syria, while also drawing Iraq 0-0 away. The UAE has come in with a lot of promise, after already having the leading scorer at this World Cup, Abu Dhabi’s own, Ali Mabkhout, in addition to some new naturalized faces who originate from Brazil. But, they have not found a win thus far in qualifiers, and now look to only hope at getting the 3rd place spot putting their World Cup chances in major jeopardy. They followed their 0-1 home loss to IR Iran with a 2-2 home draw to Iraq. Iraq, meanwhile, is also underperforming for their expectations. Having been one of the strongest nations in the Arab world, their 5th place status to the likes of the UAE and Lebanon makes this much larger nation very displeased with their current winless position. Syria, on the other hand, will be very disappointed for having loss twice this window of qualifiers, pushing a repeat of attaining 3rd place last World Cup in this round further away.

Saudi Arabia is off to a dazzling start, with 4 wins from 4, getting a 1-0 home win over Japan, and a 3-2 home over PR China this qualifying window. They currently look like the best nation in Asia, which is not how they looked at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Australia got an impressive 3-1 home win over Oman, only to follow that result up with a disappointing 1-2 away loss to Japan. The Socceroos, however, continue to stay in a comfortable 2nd spot, good enough for World Cup qualification. The Socceroos and The Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia play next for group supremacy. Oman sit in an impressive 3rd place, following their 3-1 home win over Vietnam. They already defeated their 4th place counterpart, Japan, in Japan, and look to hold onto this 3rd place spot to keep their 2022 World Cup hopes alive. Japan has been atrociously disappointing, but did get a sign of hope in their last match, with their 2-1 home win over Australia. The Blue Samurai will look to keep this momentum into the November window at SR Vietnam and at Oman, both very winnable matches. Japan is likely the most talented team in this group, so a World Cup elimination by staying 4th place or lower would be a major disappointment. PR China finally got a win this round with a 3-2 home win over SR Vietnam, and things were looking up for the PR Chinese who finished last World Cup campaign on 3 wins from 3, but their momentum did not last long as their next match saw them fall 2-3 away to Saudi Arabia. SR Vietnam saw themselves lose two away matches. While they appear to be the worst team in the group, SR Vietnam’s football program is way in front of where it should be in its development, so keeping close with a lot of the big name teams in Asia is mightily impressive for a resurgent footballing nation.

North America:

In this round of qualifiers, the top 3 advance to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, while the 4th place team advances to the Inter-confederation Playoff, to either face the Asian 5th place team, South American 5th place team, or Oceanian 1st place team in a home and away two-legged tie.

  1. Mexico: 14, +7, 10-3, 4-2-0
  2. USA: 11, +5, 9-4, 3-2-1
  3. Canada: 10, +6, 10-4, 2-4-0
  4. Panama: 8, 0, 6-6, 2-2-2
  5. Costa Rica: 6, -1, 4-5, 1-3-2
  6. Jamaica: 5, -4, 4-8, 1-2-3
  7. El Salvador: 5, -5, 2-7, 1-2-3
  8. Honduras: 3, -8, 2-10, 0-3-3

Mexico looks like the best nation so far in North America. Mexico came off of 1-1 home draw with Canada, a 3-0 home win over Honduras, and a 2-0 away win over El Salvador. Mexico dominates the points, goal difference, goals for, and number of wins category. Their next match is away against the USA, which is the main rivalry in North American soccer. The USA started off with a good 2-0 win at home over Jamaica, only to follow it up with a disappointing 0-1 away loss at Panama. But, their 2-1 comeback home win over Costa Rica puts the USA in 2nd place in the qualifiers. They are in a good spot, but without having played Mexico, their position on the table is a bit misleading, as is Mexico’s for not having played the USA. After this next match, all nations will have played each other once. Canada with away draws, 1-1 to Mexico, and 0-0 to Jamaica, but followed these up with a 4-1 comeback home win over Panama! This is Canada’s most impressive World Cup qualifying win, probably since the 1986 qualifiers, and the most impressive victory of the Octagonal group stage final phase of World Cup qualifiers so far. Panama had an interesting October window, of lows and highs, as they lost away to El Salvador 0-1, won 1-0 at home over the USA, and then lost 1-4 away against Canada. Still, their impressive start to their World Cup campaign sees The Canal Men in that coveted 4th place spot for those beneath them. Panama has been the 4th most impressive side this Octagonal, and their next match is against the worst performer so far, Honduras. Costa Rica has been on a down hill slope since 2018, but this window saw some heroics. They tied Jamaica 0-0 away, and then had a controversial 2-1 home comeback win over El Salvador where they probably should have not won, and then lost 1-2 away to the USA. Costa Rica may be 5th place, but their momentum is building with 8 matches still left to play. If Keylor Navas is back and healthy for next November Window, Costa Rica could legitimately win 3 from 3. Jamaica might be back as well. Following their disappointing 0-2 loss away to the USA, Jamaica drew 0-0 at home with Canada, and then won away, 2-0, against Honduras. Jamaica has long been considered the 4th most talented nation in North America, and with 8 matches to go, they may start a good run of matches to get 4th or higher and continue their World Cup dreams. El Salvador started off this window well, with a 1-0 home win over Panama, but they sort of got screwed out of a win away to Costa Rica, after much controversy, and a win turned to a 1-2 away loss. Then, they lost at home to Mexico, 0-2, after putting up a very poor attacking performance. El Salvador has played many home matches so far, which means they really should have at least 8 points in order to get 4th or higher. They needed a home win over Honduras, and they let the Costa Rican away win slip away. Still, they are only 3 points back from 4th, and if they focus on attacking, they can put together some impressive victories. They have the talent to get 4th, and they have the managerial expertise to. But, can they do it playing mostly away from here on out? Finally, last and so far least, Honduras, who had an awful November window, drawing Costa Rica 0-0 at home, losing away to Mexico 0-3, and losing 0-2 at home to Jamaica. Honduras looked like the #2 team in North America following the month of June this year, and they looked to be moving in that direction in the first 2 matches of the Gold Cup Group Stage, but, injuries plagued their next 2 matches, which saw the Los Contrachos eliminated in the Quarter-finals. Still, it seemed to only suggest this was due to unluckiness with injuries. However, their abysmal 0-3-3 start to their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign suggests that it was their June and early July performances that were surprising, and not their lack of performances since. For a nation that made it to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, and made it to the inter-confederation qualifier in 2018 World Cup, only to lose to Australia on aggregate, their 8th place ranking is highly unusual as of late. Yet, they only sit 5 points back from that coveted 4th position. They have the talent to defeat every team in the continent, and have proven it many times over. So, they just need to go out there and do just that.

Oceanian:

So far, Oceania has not started their qualifiers. But, when they do, only their top team will advance to the Inter-confederation Playoff, to either face the Asian 5th place team, South American 5th place team, or the North America 4th place team in a home and away two-legged tie.

Africa:

At this stage in qualifiers, the top teams from each group advance to the 3rd Round of African qualifiers.

Group A:

  1. Algeria: 10, +17, 19-2, 3-1-0
  2. Burkina Faso: 10, +8, 9-1, 3-1-0
  3. Niger (Eliminated): 3, -9, 5-14, 1-0-3
  4. Djibouti (Eliminated): 0, -16, 2-18, 0-0-4

While both Algeria and Burkina Faso have a match before their final match against each other in this group, it appears safe to say that that final match in group play will be crucial for both teams. Algeria won 6-1 at home and 4-0 away against Niger, while Burkina Faso won 4-0 away and 2-0 at home against Djibouti. Algeria have been the best and most talented team from top to bottom in Africa since possibly 2014, even though they failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and also only have won one African Cup of Nations in that span. But, that victory came in the most previous African Cup of Nations. Yet, Burkina Faso is hanging close. Burkina Faso has been a consistently good African nation in football, but African qualifiers for the World Cup are the hardest in terms of formatting. When you get to the later stages, you have to win your group, which means that there is no leeway for getting 2nd place. And, with 6 matches, that means means a 1-1 home draw and 0-0 away draw against the same team might mean elimination due to away goal tiebreaker. Thus, Burkina Faso has never seemed to qualify for a World Cup, but part of the reason is because even if they were a top 5 African nation, if the seeding matched them up with a top 4 nation, that means they will most likely get 2nd in their group and get eliminated. And this qualification year, winning your group is a necessity in two rounds, this and the next round, to qualify. So, while Burkina Faso got matched up with an almost impossible task to finish ahead of Algeria, they have managed to stay level on points. Niger has been the clear 3rd best team in this group, while Djibouti has not played very competitively throughout these matches. However, both of these bottom 2 teams are so below the rest in terms of competition.

Group B:

  1. Tunisia: 10, +8, 8-0, 3-1-0
  2. Equatorial Guinea: 7, 0, 4-4, 2-1-1
  3. Zambia: 4, -3, 3-6, 1-2-2
  4. Mauritania (Eliminated): 1, -5, 1-6, 0-1-3

Tunisia might have been known for their basketball heroics this summer winning Afrobasket, but their football team is continuing to impress Tunisian sports fans, leading this group. And, it is not an easy group either, as Equatorial Guinea is usually respectable in Africa, and Zambia is usually really good. Tunisia won at home, 3-0 to Mauritania, and then drew 0-0 away to Mauritania. This suggests that Mauritania does have more firepower than expected. But, still, Tunisians are disappointed with this draw, because it keeps Equatorial Guinea and Zambia with a chance to comeback and win the group, eliminating Tunisia in the process. Equatorial Guinea got a huge 2-0 win over Zambia at home, and then drew Zambia away 0-0. Equatorial Guinea will be happy to be within 3 points of Tunisia, making their next match against Tunisia crucial for qualification hopes. It is a home match for them too. Zambia, meanwhile, will be disappointed that yet again, they most likely will not qualify for the World Cup, and this time, will get knocked out before the last round.

Group C:

  1. Nigeria: 9, +4, 6-2, 3-0-1
  2. Cape Verde: 7, +1, 5-4, 2-1-1
  3. Central African Republic: 5, -2, 2-4, 1-1-2
  4. Liberia (Eliminated): 3, -3, 2-5, 1-0-2

Nigeria had an interesting World Cup window, losing at home to the Central African Republic, 0-2, and then winning against the Central African Republic, 1-0, away. Nigeria is the most talented team in this group, the clear favorites to advance, and the historically better side. But, their loss to the Central African Republic leaves the Central African Republic and Cape Verde with a shot to win the group. Cape Verde won 2-1 away, and 1-0 at home over Liberia, eliminating Liberia, and getting within 2 points of Nigeria. Cape Verde will play the Central African Republic next, followed by an away match against Nigeria, most likely to decide the group. Nigeria must travel to Liberia next, which should prove tough if Liberia is still playing hard. So, Nigeria must keep winning, and hope for Cape Verde to draw or lose against the Central African Republic next.

Group D:

  1. Ivory Coast: 10, +5, 7-2, 3-1-0
  2. Cameroon: 9, +4, 7-3, 3-0-1
  3. Malawi (Eliminated): 3, -5, 2-7, 1-0-3
  4. Mozambique (Eliminated): 1, -4, 1-5, 0-1-3

The Ivory Coast and Cameroon are the 2 best sides in this group, and there is not much to separate them. Ivory Coast is coming off of a 3-1 away win and a 2-1 home win over Malawi, while Cameroon is coming off of a 3-1 home win and 1-0 away win over Mozambique. Ivory Coast and Cameroon will need to take their next opponent seriously, before closing out in what is likely to be the group deciding match in the last match of this round for both teams. Malawi has been impressive to be the 3rd best side in this group thus far, given its size compared to Mozambique. Mozambique appears to have produced nothing besides a size advantage to get to this stage, something Mozambique fans will have to address next qualification cycle.

Group E:

  1. Mali: 10, +7, 7-0, 3-1-0
  2. Uganda: 8, +2, 2-0, 2-2-0
  3. Kenya (Eliminated): 2, -6, 1-7, 0-2-2
  4. Rwanda (Eliminated): 1, -3, 1-4, 0-1-3

Mali has been one of the best performing youth level nations for football, basketball, and other sports, but at the senior level, they have never reached their potential. Mali is coming off of a 5-0 home win and 1-0 away win over Kenya, while Uganda is coming off of back to back 1-0 wins at home and away against Rwanda. Mali and Uganda play each other in their last match in this group, but both will first have to get past their other opponents. Mali plays Rwanda, while Uganda plays Kenya. Kenya has been disappointing to not put up a better fight. For one of the largest countries in Africa, Kenya is underperforming. Rwanda is underperforming as well, as they are becoming one of the richest and safest countries in Africa, meaning that sport success should come with that. But, sadly for football fans in Rwanda, their football team does not play as well as their basketball team. Mali is the best team in this group, but their should be such a big gap between the top 2 and the bottom 2 nations in this group.

Group F:

  1. Egypt: 10, +5, 6-1, 3-1-0
  2. Libya: 6, -2, 3-5, 2-0-2
  3. Gabon: 4, -1, 5-6, 1-1-2
  4. Angola (Eliminated): 3, -2, 3-5, 1-0-3

Egypt was really good this past window winning 1-0 at home and 3-0 away against Libya. Libya looked to be taking this group, but Egypt silenced their efforts. However, the group is not yet over, yet all Egypt needs to do is get 1 more win, or hope for 1 loss from Libya and 1 draw from Gabon. Gabon lost away, 1-3, against Angola, but kept their World Cup hopes alive with a 2-0 home win over Angola. Angola should be 2nd in this group, and their fans will be devastated to see another Angolan national team struggling after their basketball team did this summer. Gabon have stayed in the fight, but probably a little too little too late. And, Libya most likely blew their opportunities away. Egypt is the best team by quite a wide margin in this group, and the standings are starting to reflect that.

Group G:

  1. South Africa: 10, +4, 5-1, 3-1-0
  2. Ghana: 9, +3, 5-2, 3-0-1
  3. Ethiopia (Eliminated): 3, -3, 2-5, 1-0-3
  4. Zimbabwe (Eliminated): 1, -4, 1-5, 0-1-3

South Africa defeated Ethiopia 3-1 away and 1-0 at home to keep their World Cup hopes very much alive, leading their group. But, Ghana also got 2 wins, 3-1 at home and 1-0 away over Zimbabwe. Ghana will host South Africa in the last match, but both have another match before this. Ethiopia is doing well to be 3rd, but for their size, they should be much better. Zimbabwe will be disappointed to be last in this group, but, they should not be top 2 either. South Africa has been very inconsistent in soccer, while Ghana had been doing well up until the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers when they got an impossible group in the last round featuring Nigeria, Algeria, and Zambia, and thus were eliminated.

Group H:

  1. Senegal (Advanced): 12, +9, 12-3, 4-0-0
  2. Togo (Eliminated): 4, -2, 3-5, 1-1-2
  3. Namibia (Eliminated): 4, -4, 4-8, 1-1-2
  4. Republic of the Congo (Eliminated): 2, -3, 4-7, 0-2-2

Senegal won 4-1 at home and 3-1 away over Namibia, while Togo drew the Republic of the Congo at home, 1-1, and defeated them away, 2-1. Togo used to be a top nation and was elite in the 2006 World Cup, but has not been elite since. Namibia is now doing much better than they have, and is starting to become a proper soccer nation, although Rugby Union is still their top sport. The Republic of the Congo has been very competitive, but they are still so average. They seem to never standout, even amongst the Congos. Senegal, meanwhile, is the other most talented team in Africa, with 1 more still left to mention. Senegal has been an elite footballing nation now since the 2018 World Cup, and if you ask a lot of Africans and others around the world, they would say Senegal is the best from Africa. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that not only are they leading the group, but that they have already advanced. The ease at which they defeated Namibia over two matches, suggests that Senegal is as good as advertised.

Group I:

Group J:

  1. Morocco (Advanced): 12, +13, 14-1, 4-0-0
  2. Guinea-Bissau (Eliminated): 4, -6, 5-11, 1-1-2
  3. Guinea (Eliminated): 3, -3, 5-8, 0-3-1
  4. Sudan (Eliminated): 2, -3, 2-5, 0-2-2

Yet, the last of the best teams from Africa has to be Morocco. Morocco proved in last World Cup that they can hang with anyone, they just have to get qualify. Out of all African nations, Morocco looks the best in qualifiers thus far. Morocco just came off a 5-0 home win over Guinea-Bissau, a 3-0 away win over Guinea-Bissau, and a 4-1 away win over Guinea. The other matches were a 1-1 draw between Sudan and Guinea, with Suan as the home team, and a 2-2 draw between the same teams with Guinea as the home team. Guinea-Bissau and Guinea are very even in this group, while Sudan is too. But, for Sudan’s size, they should be doing better, but for talent, the group standings seem expected. It must be noted that all matches this last window were in Morocco, so while Morocco looks the best, their ability to win away may not be there, and this test of their away strength will most likely come next round, as Morocco has already advanced.

  1. Tanzania: 7, +1, 5-4, 2-1-1
  2. Benin: 7, +1, 3-2, 2-1-1
  3. DR Congo: 5, +1, 4-3, 1-2-1
  4. Madagascar: 3, -3, 3-6, 1-0-3

This group is the most open. There are no clear favorites now, but in the beginning, it was DR Congo’s group to lose, which it looks like they may just do that. DR Congo are not only the largest, but also the most talented nation in this group, and are coming off of a disappointing window, as they won 2-0 at home to Madagascar, followed by a shocking 0-1 loss away to Madagascar. This put DR Congo into 2nd place, most likely needing to win their next match away to Tanzania and then most likely needing to win their final match at home to Benin. Benin and Tanzania decided to not use home field advantage, as both won 1-0 against each other, but away this window. This group may come down to goals for as the tie breaker, which pushes Tanzania into 1st. Tanzania is impressive as they also have a region called Zanazibar which had their own team, meaning that Tanzania has 2 African national teams, a situation that does not seem to repeat itself on the African continent, outside of with France who has 2 national teams in Africa, Mayotte and Reunion. However, none of these other nations are FIFA members, rather only members of CAF.

Europe:

In this stage of qualifiers, all group winners qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the second place teams, plus the next two best group winners from the 2020-202 UEFA Nations League that did not finish to 2 in their group advance to the 2nd round of qualifiers for Europe.

Group A:

  1. Serbia: 17, +8, 16-8, 5-2-0
  2. Portugal: 16, +12, 16-4, 5-1-0
  3. Luxembourg (Eliminated): 6, -9, 5-14, 2-0-4
  4. Republic of Ireland (Eliminated): 5, 0, 8-8, 1-2-3
  5. Azerbaijan (Eliminated) : 1, -11, 4-15, 0-1-6

The October window saw the Republic of Ireland finally wake up, and defeat Azerbaijan, 3-0 away, followed by a 4-0 friendly win over Qatar. But, the Irish from the Republic were too late as they have been eliminated for some time now. The most important match was Serbia getting the 1-0 away win over Luxembourg, which forced Luxembourg to have to get a win away against Portugal, and Portugal said no, and won 5-0! Sadly for Luxembourg, their 2018-2019 Nations League 1st Place Group finish does not count for qualifiers, and Luxembourg is now eliminated. Still, they should try to win their next 2 matches to close out their World Cup campaign with 12 points, and signal that Luxembourg is a favorite to qualify next World Cup. Portugal moves closer to winning this group. They have a match in hand, having to go to the Republic of Ireland before going back home to play Serbia in the group deciding match. These matches are not guaranteed by any means. Serbia has this final match left, and will probably have to win it unless the Irish continue their winning streak. Azerbaijan, meanwhile, have been competitive, but their loss to the Republic of Ireland put them in last place, and that is where Azerbaijan will most likely finish. Considering the geographical position of Azerbaijan, it should be a much harder to play at place than it is, so the Azerbaijanis should work on this, or think about playing in Asia instead.

Group B:

  1. Sweden: 15, +9, 12-3, 5-0-1
  2. Spain: 13, +8, 13-5, 4-1-1
  3. Greece: 9, +1, 7-6, 2-3-1
  4. Georgia (Eliminated): 4, -8, 4-12, 1-1-5
  5. Kosovo (Eliminated): 4, -10, 4-14, 1-1-5

Sweden continued their World Cup Qualifying dominance with a 3-0 home win over Kosovo and a 2-0 home win over Greece, while Georgia lost 0-2 at home to Greece, but won 2-1 away against Kosovo. Sweden is now level on matches with Spain, and they play each other in their last match in Spain. That both have to get by their other opponents 1st. Greece still has a way outside chance of winning the group, and still outside chance, of getting 2nd. They play Spain next in Greece, and are likely to win at home, especially since Spain will be focused on the Sweden match. The Swedish are likely to have a tough match away in Georgia, and it will be Georgia’s last match these qualifiers, but a Swedish away win is still expected. This may make Sweden take off their foot from the gas which could see Spain get 3 points off of Sweden. So many possibilities exist. But, likely, if Sweden is not more than 3 points ahead of Spain going into that final match, Sweden will be focused and will most likely get a draw. This would make the Greeks have a better chance to comeback. But, most likely, it will be Sweden in 1st, and Spain in 2nd. Still, Sweden could be the team that gets eliminated on strange turn of events.

Group C:

  1. Italy: 14, +11, 12-1, 4-2-0
  2. Switzerland: 14, +9, 10-1, 4-2-0
  3. Bulgaria (Eliminated): 8, -4, 6-10, 2-2-3
  4. Northern Ireland (Eliminated): 5, -2, 5-7, 1-2-3
  5. Lithuania (Eliminated): 3, -14, 4-18, 1-0-6

Lithuania finally got a win, this time at home over Bulgaria 3-1, which was a huge blow to Bulgaria, as Bulgaria came back the next match and won 2-1 at home over a much better Northern Ireland side. Bulgaria would have been 3 points back, with a chance to qualify still, but, their surprising defeat in Lithuania is really what  got them eliminated. Tough luck for the Bulgarians who played so well last World Cup qualifiers in a group which featured France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belarus, and Luxembourg. Switzerland, meanwhile, won 2-0 at home against Northern Ireland, and won 4-0 away in Lithuania. This puts Switzerland level on points with Italy and guaranteed to stay in contention for the 2022 World Cup, along with Italy, no matter how the group finishes. Switzerland plays away to Italy next, to decide the group, followed by an away trip against Bulgaria, while Italy will finish their qualifiers in the UK, in Northern Ireland. While Switzerland verse Italy is the match that everyone will be talking about, it very well may be these later matches that prove to be the deciders of this group.

Group D:

  1. France: 12, +5, 8-3, 3-3-0
  2. Ukraine: 9, +1, 9-8, 1-6-0
  3. Finland: 8, 0, 7-7, 2-2-2
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina: 7, +1, 8-7, 1-4-1
  5. Kazakhstan (Eliminated): 3, -7, 5-12, 0-3-4

This group started off with 2 crucial away wins, as Bosnia and Herzegovina went into the city that should still be called Astana and won 2-0 over Kazakhstan, while undefeated Ukraine picked up their first win of the qualifiers, over Finland 2-1! Finland then won 2-0 away in Kazakhstan, while Ukraine drew at home to Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-1. Currently, only Kazakhstan is eliminated, and like Azerbaijan, they should think of switching to Asia, but to be fair, Kazakhstan is dominated in club futsal in Europe, so that may not be too smart. Kazakhstan proved to be competitive throughout the group, and their record in Asia would probably be much better. Finland might have lost to Ukraine, but Ukraine’s home draw against Bosnia and Herzegovina means that Finland sits only 1 point back with an extra match to play. Ukraine did not win their group in the 2020-2021 Nations League, rather they did in the 2018-2019 edition, so Ukraine needs to finish top 2 to stay in the World Cup. Ukraine and Finland play in Bosnia and Herzegovina next round, and Bosnia and Herzegovina has now made their case to potentially either win the group or get 2nd place. But, that seems unlikely, as France is 3 points ahead of Ukriane with a match in hand and 4 points and 5 points ahead of Finland and Bosnia and Herzegovina respectively. And their next match is a home match against Kazakhstan in the Kazakhs last 2022 World Cup qualifiers match. This means that the French are likely to win the group in their next match. So, the battle seems to be for 2nd, and Ukraine will need to most likely win in Sarajevo to keep their World Cup hopes alive. France also plays in Finland, for the last match of the group, and that will be a good one.

Group E:

  1. Belgium: 16, +17, 21-4, 5-1-0
  2. Czech Republic: 11, +3, 12-9, 3-2-2
  3. Wales: 11, +1, 8-7, 3-2-2
  4. Estonia (Eliminated): 4, -8, 8-16, 1-1-4
  5. Belarus (Eliminated): 3, -13, 6-19, 1-0-6

The Czech Republic drew 2-2 with Wales at home,  and then won away against Belarus 2-0. Estonia won at home, 2-0 to Belarus, but lost 0-1 at home to Wales. Belgium are the clear favorites to win this group and will close out at home to Estonia and away to Wales. Belgium should win against Estonia and earn qualification. This will be good for Wales as they will be playing an already qualified Belgium at home, who will be playing for nothing other than maybe pride and for a higher ranking. Wales also plays at home against Belarus, while the Czech Republic plays at home to Estonia. So, the Welsh-Belgian match will most likely decide who is gets 2nd place. But, currently speaking, Wales or the Czech Republic will go as one of the top 2 Nations League Group winners from 2020-2021 Nations League that did not finish top 2 in their World Cup qualifying group. So, most likely, all 3 sides will be happy, as Belgium will most likely win the group and qualify for the 2022 World Cup, while both the Welsh and Czechs will continue in qualifiers and have a chance to qualify. Estonia will be proud to have beaten Belarus, but they simply have not improved much. Belarus has dropped off a lot and this is very disappointing for the side that had impressed so much last World Cup qualifiers. But, with all that is going on in Belarus, not too much can be expected from them either.

Group F:

  1. Denmark (Qualified): 24, +27, 27-0, 8-0-0
  2. Scotland: 17, +6, 13-7, 5-2-1
  3. Israel: 13, +3, 18-15, 4-1-3
  4. Austria: 10, -3, 11-14, 3-1-4
  5. Faroe Islands (Eliminated): 4, -13, 4-17, 1-1-6
  6. Moldova (Eliminated): 1, -20, 4-24, 0-1-7

Real talk, Denmark has been the best and most impressive nation through qualifiers, and their 2020 European Championship semi-finals run was not something unexpected, rather, their meager 1-0-2 start in the Group Stage was. Ever since their resounding 5-1 2nd leg home win over the Republic of Ireland in the European World Cup Qualifiers 2nd Round to advance to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, this Danish side has been spectacular. Peter Schmeichel talked about how good Denmark was following their loss to Croatia in penalty kicks in the Round of 16, because he knew how good Croatia was too. And, with his son at goalkeeper, Denmark has gone through, perfect so far in qualifiers, winning 8 from 8 with a +27 GD! They have let in no goals against, and scored 27! Denmark were the 1992 European Champions, and their 2022 World Cup Qualifying suggests they are a favorite to win the 2022 World Cup. Denmark won 4-0 away against Moldova and 1-0 at home against Austria. Scotland has been impressive too. Scotland used to be the best team in the world, along with England, but that was prior to the World Cup being created, when the British Home Nations Championship was the effective World Championship. Scotland won a very important home match 3-2 against Israel, and then won a close match away to the Faroe Islands, 1-0! Austria had a bad qualifying week, as they are no longer guaranteed to have a chance to finish top 2, but their 1st place group finish in the Nations League means that in the current standings, they would qualify for the 2nd round anyway. They won 2-0 away to the Faroe Islands, but lost 0-1 away to Denmark. Israel has stayed within reach, having lost in Scotland 2-3, but having won 2-1 at home to Moldova. Israel looked like the better nation than Scotland as Scotland seemed to have a curse of not qualifying for the World Cup, having not qualified since 1998. The Faroe Islands have been really impressive during qualifiers sort of like Luxembourg from 2018 qualifiers, and now will be expected to win in more qualifiers. They still had some troubling results, but nonetheless, they are playing competitively. Moldova has been very unimpressive, while at the club level, Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova has looked amazing. Sheriff’s play should lift Moldova’s level of play, but clearly has not.

Group G:

  1. Netherlands: 19, +23, 29-6, 6-1-1
  2. Norway: 17, +9, 15-6, 5-2-1
  3. Turkey: 15, +4, 19-15, 4-3-1
  4. Montenegro: 11, 0, 11-11, 3-2-3
  5. Latvia (Eliminated): 5, -5, 8-13, 1-2-5
  6. Gibraltar (Eliminated): 0, -31, 3-34, 0-0-8

The Netherlands won away against Latvia 1-0 and then won 6-0 at home against Gibraltar. Norway drew 1-1 away against Turkey and Norway won 2-0 at home to Montenegro. Turkey ended their week with a 2-1 away against Latvia. Right now, the Netherlands looks like the best team on the group. Historically and presently, they are the best team, but Norway has the best player in the group, and Turkey should be the 2nd best team in the group. These 3 provide a thrilling finish to the end of this group, but 1 last team could make its mark with a dramatic and unlikely comeback, and that is Montenegro, who does have a chance to finish 2nd. Norway plays at home to Latvia, then away against the Netherlands. Turkey plays home to Gibraltar, and then away to Montenegro. Montenegro’s other match is at home to the Netherlands. The other match is Gibraltar home against Latvia. The Netherlands and Montenegro have the hardest schedules left, while Turkey and Norway both have a very tough match left. But, all World Cup Qualifying matches are hard.

Group H:

  1. Russia: 19, +8, 13-5, 6-1-1
  2. Croatia: 17, +10, 13-3, 5-2-1
  3. Slovakia (Eliminated): 10, +1, 9-8, 2-4-2
  4. Slovenia (Eliminated): 10, 0, 9-9, 3-1-4
  5. Malta (Eliminated): 5, -9, 8-17, 1-2-5
  6. Cyprus (Eliminated): 5, -10, 3-13, 1-2-5

This group has been an interesting group. At one point in September, all nations were 3 points apart. Since then, Russia and Croatia have separated from the rest. Croatia are the defending world runners-ups, who lost a World Cup Final on dubious circumstances and has since been quite awful for them. While their European Qualifiers and Championship campaign were good, and while their 2018-2019 Nations League campaign saw Croatia finish well, and almost got to the Semi-finals, their 2020-2021 Nations League campaign was atrocious. Croatia seems to not be able to win against the big time teams. Russia, in the meantime, have been equally as disappointing. Neither has been amazing. And Russia went to a World Cup Quarter-finals. Now, both find themselves in a good position to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Both will not be eliminated, yet, as one will go to the 2nd Round, while the other will automatically qualify. Croatia had been winning often to keep the group lead, having beating Cyrpus away, 3-0, but their home draw against Slovakia meant that Russia passed them up after Russia won 1-0 home against Slovakia, and then won 2-1 away against Slovenia. Unfortunately for the other Slavic nations in this group, they have both been eliminated. Slovenia did get a win though, this window, defeating Malta away, 4-0. The other match was a 2-2 draw between the home team, Cyprus, and Malta. These two Mediterranean Islands sides have also been eliminated. Slovenia has not been good enough since 2010, and neither has Slovakia. They both are good teams, but they Slovenia has the curse of having 2 of arguably the top 10 players in the world, who both play goalkeeper. Cyprus too have been bad. Cyprus has such a good club system, but for some reason, like Israel, they seem to not have it altogether for the national team. Malta, in the meantime, have gone from a small nation that is always expected to lose, to one who is competitive against a lot of nations. Still, Malta should be last in this group, and Cyprus should be more competitive in this group. With that, the most focus should be placed on Russia and Croatia. Russia plays home to Cyprus next, while Croatia plays away against Malta. Then, on the final night of qualifiers for this group, Croatia will play Russia in Split, Croatia, home to the loudest and most controversial football supporters in Croatia. The stadium will be rocking. Croatia and Russia should both be aiming for automatic qualification, as both have been inconsistent, but are also still really good. Making it the World Cup will most likely ensure that each nation has a good group they can win in. Both nations ceilings are very high, but like with their nations and their former nations (SFR Yugoslavia and USSR), neither has reached it yet.

Group I:

  1. England: 20, +21, 24-3, 6-2-0
  2. Poland: 17, +17, 25-8, 5-2-1
  3. Albania: 15, +4, 11-7, 5-0-3
  4. Hungary: 11, +1, 13-12, 3-2-3
  5. Andorra (Eliminated): 6, -12, 7-19, 2-0-6
  6. San Marino (Eliminated): 0, -31, 1-32, 0-0-8

England looked to have control of this group, but Poland has come out from nowhere to bring it within 3 points. With goal difference being the first tiebreaker if even on points, England should finish out on top of this group even with a slip up. Plus, England has what many would have considered to be the easier schedule between the two. England plays home to Albania, before a away match against San Marino. Poland meanwhile plays away to Andorra, before a home match against Hungary. Hungary’s other match is home to San Marino, while Albania’s other match is home to Andorra. However, Albania has been the 3rd best team in this group. So, presumably Albania is the tougher team than Hungary. This past window saw England win 5-0 away in Andorra, followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Hungary. Hungary lost 0-1 to Albania at home. Albania lost to Poland 0-1 at home. Poland won against San Marino, 5-0 at home, while Andorra won 3-0 away to San Marino. Hungary has a very limited chance to qualify for the top 2. Especially since they no longer can qualify via the Nations League Group winners route. Poland may want to win this group, but probably will rather secure 2nd and hope for England to defeat Albania because Poland has a tough match against Hungary. Albania will need to win at least 1 match, or potentially earn 2 draws, but realistically, they will need to win both matches to advance to finish top 2. Poland may only need to win 1 match. England, on the other hand, just needs to win 1 match and earn 1 draw to win the group, and most likely will just need 1 win, if they can win against San Marino by a lot which they can. England has sort of had a gift and a curse this World Cup Qualifying campaign, because while their group features 2 nations that are known for almost always losing, in Andorra and San Marino, this also means their other opponents do, which has meant a tighter race to the finish, because they too have had big wins, when they would usually struggle in patches like in most groups. England has been the best nation in this group. Poland has finally come around to being the 2nd team in this group as expected, while Hungary sits in a disappointing 4th. Hungary has been bad this qualifying campaign, while in the European Championships, they gave the Group of Death a good run. Albania is a surprise as they have turned up well. Albania still has a good chance of finishing top 2, which is something most people did not predict, but they no longer can via the Nations League Group Winners route. Andorra will be happy to gave gotten 2 wins, but disappointed they could not get any other wins against other nations. San Marino should be very disappointed they did not challenge Andorra more, or any of the other nations more. San Marino may be more of a baseball nation for club lately, but they should be better at football.

Group J:

  1. Germany (Qualified): 21, +20, 23-3, 7-0-1
  2. Romania: 13, +3, 11-8, 4-1-3
  3. North Macedonia: 12, +5, 15-10, 3-3-2
  4. Armenia: 12, -3, 8-11, 3-3-2
  5. Iceland: 8, -4, 11-15, 2-2-4
  6. Liechtenstein (Eliminated): 1, -21, 2-23, 0-1-7

Germany became the first team, outside of Qatar, to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after winning 4-0 away against North Macedonia, following a 2-1 home win over Romania. Germany is by far the best nation in this group, but they were struggling originally, and they struggled in the European Championships, in the Nations League, and of course in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Germany may be qualified, but now they will be focused on getting better for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Romania might have lost to Germany, but their 1-0 home win over Armenia brought Romania into 2nd place in the group. Romania has been very average, but they will be happy with advancing to 2nd round of qualifiers if they can hold onto to 2nd place. Armenia messed up, as their other match was a 1-1 away draw against Iceland. North Macedonia won 4-0 away against Liechtenstein, while Iceland won 4-0 at home over Liechtenstein. North Macedonia plays away to Armenia before returning home to play Iceland. Iceland’s other match is away to Romania. Romania will play away against Liechtenstein. Germany plays home to Liechtenstein and then away to Armenia. Armenia, Iceland, North Macedonia, and Romania all have chances to get 2nd place still, but this is the only way for all 4 of these nations to now qualify. Liechtenstein will be disappointed they did not put up a better fight in this group, but will be looking forward to gaining experience against their German speaking rivals in Germany once again. Iceland has been very disappointing, as the team from 2016-2018 would have done very well in this group, but this new team is struggling to win matches. Iceland needs 2 wins and help from Liechtenstein to hold Romania to a draw at the very least. North Macedonia and Armenia will most likely need a win against one another as Romania is sure to defeat Liechtenstein. Romania will probably need to win 1 match and draw another, but they need to push for 2 wins, especially depending on how the penultimate matches go.

2020-2021 Nations League Rankings for the Group Winners:

At this point in time, only the top 7 Nations League Group Winners can advance to the second round via this route. Currently, Wales and Austria are the nations that would qualify for the second round via the Nations League Group winners route, while every team from Hungary and down will not be able to qualify via the 2020-2021 Nations League Group Winners route anymore.

  1. France
  2. Spain
  3. Italy
  4. Belgium
  5. Wales
  6. Austria
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Hungary
  9. Slovenia
  10. Montenegro
  11. Albania
  12. Faroe Islands

South America:

The top 4 teams from the group qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, while the 5th place team advances to the Inter-confederation playoff, to either face the Asian 5th place team, North American 4th place team, or Oceanian 1st place team in a home and away two-legged tie.

  1. Brazil: 31, +22, 26-4, 10-1-0
  2. Argentina: 25, +13, 19-6, 7-4-0
  3. Ecuador: 17, +7, 20-13, 5-2-5
  4. Colombia: 16, 0, 16-16, 3-7-2
  5. Uruguay: 16, -3, 14-17, 4-4-4
  6. Chile: 13, 0, 14-14, 3-4-5
  7. Bolivia: 12, -8, 17-25, 3-3-6
  8. Paraguay: 12: -8, 9-17, 2-6-4
  9. Peru: 11, -9, 10-19, 3-2-7
  10. Venezuela: 7, -14, 8-22, 2-1-9

This round of South American qualifiers was competitive. The first round of matches saw Uruguay host Colombia and Paraguay host Argentina to 0-0 draws, while Brazil came back to win 3-1 away against Venezuela, Ecuador won 3-0 at home against Bolivia, and Peru won 2-0 at home against Chile. The next round saw Bolivia win 1-0 at home against Peru, Venezuela win 2-1 at home against Ecuador, Colombia draw 0-0 at home to Brazil, Argentina win 3-0 at home against Uruguay, and Chile win 2-0 at home against Paraguay. The final matches of the October window came in South America with some big results! Bolivia won 4-0 at home against Paraguay, Colombia drew Ecuador 0-0 at home, Argentina won 1-0 at home over Peru, Chile won 3-0 at home over Venezuela, and Brazil won 4-1 at home over Uruguay. There are 6 qualifiers left for most of the nations except Brazil and Argentina who each have 7 matches left. Brazil is so far the best team, and is most likely already qualified with the points they have already earned. But, they will seek to solidify it and continue their winning momentum. They most likely will be ranked #1 in the World by the time the next FIFA/Coca-Cola Rankings come out. Argentina continued to push their gap between 2nd place and 3rd place, and look to be favorites to finish 2nd place. They do not want to have a World Cup Qualifying scare like last time. Both Argentina and Brazil are so far ahead of the rest, with a match in hand, that they may even qualify by the end of the next window. Ecuador has been the 3rd best team, even though they are not purely based off of talent. Ecuador is playing it well, opposite that of Colombia, as Ecuador has mostly won and lost, while Colombia mostly has drawn. Colombia had 2 scoreless draws at home which negatively affect them. But, they are still in 4th place, good enough to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Uruguay is 3 points ahead in 5th place, level on points with Colombia. Uruguay may have a negative goal difference, but they will be happy to stay within the top 5 as they have not played great football. Chile won 2 matches from 3 this past window, and has moved into 6th place. For a nation who was top 5 and did not qualify for the last World Cup, their lackluster play might be good enough to get them into this World Cup. If they can carry this recent winning momentum, they may just qualify for the World Cup after all. But, the top 5 seems very solidified right now. Bolivia also won 2 matches from 3 and had a huge win over Paraguay. This is the best Bolivia has played in a very long time. They may be 4 points from World Cup qualification, but they are trending in the right direction. Paraguay is trending in the wrong direction, but is still only 4 points out of a World Cup qualification spots. And Peru sits 5 points off, and they are also trending in the wrong direction. Venezuela sits at the bottom, and has been by far the worst team this qualifiers, but has started to do better lately. All nations are still within reach of a qualification spot, as all have been very inconsistent, but it does appear that the top 5 will probably stay the same.

Cross-Enrollment Football: A modern technique to enhance College Football players aspirations

Football at the NCAA level can often feature up to 125 players on each team, meaning that battling it out for playing time, or just to be able to travel to away games is fiercely competitive.

For example, the average number of players on a team for FBS that actually get playing time is usually somewhere below 70, and often below 60. Furthermore, the amount of players that can travel away to games is 70. And only up to 85 players can be on full-scholarship.

This means that a lot of players, especially in positions like Quarterback, as well as younger players, do not get any playing time at all the whole season.

For some players, the solution to this issue is transferring, but for many, they wish to stay at the school they are presently at.

So, what if there was a way to do both?

Fans of Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association know very well that players that are good enough to be on their favorite teams, can often be sent down to minor leagues during parts of their seasons, and can be called up to the “big leagues” when their skills are needed by the manager or coach.

One of the biggest names in basketball during the 2011-2012 NBA Season was notable for going through this process. Jeremy Lin was assigned to the Erie BayHawks of the then, NBA Development League (now NBA Gatorade League), by his NBA team, the New York Knicks, in January of 2012. He played only one game scoring 28 points in a triple-double performace, and was recalled to the Knicks on 23 January. By 4 February, Lin-sanity broke the basketball world, as Jeremy Lin would score 25 points against the New Jersey Nets with an additional 5 rebounds and 7 assists. He finished out that season averaging 14.6 points per a game.

Of course, baseball fans know this all too well. Most MLB players have to spend time in the minor leagues, usually as young players, and sometimes, after injuries. Others switch between both. In MLB, you have the Rookie level, Single-A level, Double-A level, and Triple-A level beneath the MLB level for MLB teams. As players do better, they often get called up to play at the higher levels by their baseball organization (each MLB team (organization) has a series of Rookie, Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A affiliates where they send their players, sort of like a Freshman, Sophomore, JV, and then Varsity level team in high school). This allows a lot of players to become part of the professional circuit, get meaningful game time, and advance in their organization. The NHL has something similar.

However, the best example of this has to be with the ability to loan players in many international sports, such as basketball and soccer. Americans will most likely be familiar with soccer loans, because this is the lingo used even in US Soccer, often times, for players who get assigned to lower level teams. In the soccer world, due to its domination by Europe and thus their use of European systems for sport across the board, loaning has become essential. What it is, is when a club agrees to a payment in exchange for the use of one of their players for a specified amount of time. For example, let us say you have a really good 23 year old goalkeeper named John, but you already have two goalkeepers, and another team needs a really good goalkeeper, that other team may try to pay you a fee to loan out the use of this goalkeeper for let us say, one season. At the ending of the loan period, the one season, that player returns to his original club/your club. It is a transaction usually best for all parties involved, as it allows the player to play in matches, allows the loanee to use the talents of a player they did not feel they had, and allows the loaner to make extra money and to see one of their players in action without risking using the player in one of their own matches. And, a lot of players have succeeded in this setup, because they get to display their talents and if they do well, they may either move permanently to the loanee club, stay with the loaner club and get more minutes there, or move to a whole other club altogether.

And, with loans, it is not just a better team loaning players to worse teams, although this is often the case. Fans of Major League Soccer will know that many of their teams have loaned players during their off-season (and sometimes in-season) to clubs that are considered better, giving their players chances to play at the highest levels of the sport. For example, the Los Angeles Galaxy loaned David Beckham out to AC Milan of the Italian Serie A in 2009 and in 2010. The reasons for these moves were to allow David Beckham to display and play at the highest levels so that he could continue to play on the English National Team. Another example, could be Landon Donovan, who actually experienced loaning both ways. While at Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga, Landon Donovan was loaned to the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS as he wanted more playing time, from 2001-2004. Then, as a player for the LA Galaxy, he was loaned out to FC Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga in 2009, and to Everton FC of the English Premier League in 2010 and 2012.

Furthermore, there are cases where players get loaned out to a club on equal footing for numerous of reasons, such as with James Rodríguez who was loaned for two years from Spanish LaLiga Real Madrid to FC Bayern Munich, as well as Philippe Coutinho, who was loaned from Spanish LaLiga FC Barcelona to FC Bayern Munich in the 2019-2020 season.

These loans have done wonders for numerous of players too, such as Philippe Coutinho, as well as many others. However, one of the best known beneficiaries of the loaning system had to have been one of the world’s top players, Kevin De Bruyne. Kevin De Bruyne was a player at Chelsea in the English Premier League, and came midseason in the 2011-2012 season. He did not play much. He was thus loaned out to German Bundesliga Werder Bremen. At Werder Bremen, Kevin De Bruyne had an unbelievable season as an attacking midfielder scoring 10 goals in league play. He would then go back to Chelsea, but a lack of playing time and German suiters meant Kevin De Bruyne would go back to Germany and play for Bundesliga VfL Wolfsburg where he excelled winning them the German Cup and German Super Cup. Now, he plays for English Premier League Manchester City and is considered one of the best, if not the best midfielder in the world. But, without a loan spell at Werder Bremen, Kevin De Bruyne would have most likely sat on the bench with no chance to display his talents. And yet, from that same team, Chelsea, came two other players that dominated on loan spells, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku. Mohamed Salah left Chelsea on loan to Italian Serie A Fiorentina and would score 9 goals in the 2014-2015 season, and then would be loaned to Italian Serie A Roma the next season scoring 15 goals, which made Roma buy Mohamed Salah. His goalscoring continued to improve the next season, and Liverpool signed him, since making Mohamed Salah one of the best goalscorers in the world, and a top winger. Romelu Lukaku, meanwhile, was loaned out by Chelsea to then English Premier League West Bromwich Albion, and scored 17 goals during the 2012-2013 season, followed by being loaned out to Everton and scored 16 goals that season. Everton would buy Romelu Lukaku the next season, where he continued to score goals, and has since made moves to English Premier League Manchester United, Italian Serie A Inter Milan, and now back to Chelsea. Without the ability to loan players out, two of the games best goalscorers, and one of the games best assisters, would have most likely never been able to display their talents.

In College Football, the ability to loan would vastly improve the ability of football players to display their talents. College Football teams used to have JV teams, and much like at the various levels of high school football, the ability to move players around different teams allowed coaches to see in game talent. JV teams in college had done the same for the younger players. But, with no JV available for FBS programs, as well as most divisions, it appears that loaning would be another great option.

How would this be done? Of course, loaning players is more difficult for colleges, as each player is taking classes and has to be on track to graduate. However, thanks to many colleges being in a public state system, the ability to loan players within a system should make it easier to do just that. And, loans can most likely happen across systems too, especially at the early ages. For example, many junior colleges exist and for Freshmen and Sophomores, a stint at the JC level would be mighty beneficiary. And, for the JC players, it would too, as they would get the chance to display their skills against already established D1 players. And, given the ability of JCs to transfer credits well into 4 year universities, this would probably not be too much of an inconvenience. For 4 year universities, this process may even be easier, especially for colleges in existing public state school systems, or for New York City and Houston, public city school systems.

A lot of these school systems have something often called cross-enrollment. It allows students to take online classes at other colleges in the system, in order to receive credit for a class, that is often not taught at their own college. But, it would be really great for student athletes to be able to use this cross enrollment to open up new opportunities in their sports, especially if cross enrollment can be physically done. Would it not be nice for players at the University of Texas at Austin (Texas Longhorns) to have a chance to play at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP Miners) for example? And then, the next season, to be able to come back to the Texas Longhorns after proving their skills for the UTEP Miners. Or, imagine a lower division school that uses the exact formations and plays as an upper division school, and for the upper division school to be able to send some players to the lower division school to instill more confidence, and give these players playing time at the collegiate ranks, getting them more acclimated to their formations. Better yet, imagine a division 2 college, like Valdosta State (GA), being able to tell recruits that if you do well enough, a loan move is available to the University of Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, or Georgia Southern to play FBS Football their last year of eligibility. This could possibly be extended across borders too, especially if NCAA would allow players to play in multiple seasons. For example, Boise State and Hosei Univeristy in Japan have a partnership where they exchange students, and other things, such as how Hosei University has instilled a blue football field. Imagine Boise State players being able to play in the Japanese College spring league instead of Spring football, or playing a whole year in Japan. More likely however, if cross border enrollment happened, you would see players playing in U Sports in Canada for football, whereas possibly for other sports like basketball, you will see players moving across more borders.

This would be especially beneficial for the numerous of quarterbacks that are young and need game time experience at the college level, but will not get any because their school is so deep in that position. And, keep in mind this can be used for all sports in the NCAA, it is just that with college football’s depth in numbers, it will probably see the greatest use of this system there.

Think about 2010 Pro Bowler, Matt Cassel, who barely played at USC, behind the likes of Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. He got lucky playing so well at USC’s Pro Day in 2005, but had he not, he would have never been a NFL starter and Pro Bowler. With a loaning system, he at least would have been able to display his skills at another university, even at the lower levels like nearby then Division 2 football side, Azusa Pacific, or at other Division 1 FBS schools like San Diego State, or FCS Schools like the University of San Diego. He could have played under Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.

With the ability to cross-enroll online, and sometimes physically, it makes sense to allow student-athletes to be able to cross-enroll and be loaned out if you will to other college teams that will use them, all while not inhibiting their educational careers. How this can be best adjusted to be compatible with NCAA rules is something for a further discussion.

2021 brought about the future of college sports, which is NIL, allowing student-athletes to control their name, image, and likeness, to make money that is beneficial to those paying them through sponsorships, beneficial to their universities who get more publicity, and beneficial to the players who receive greater benefits and more money for their hard work on the field. And, the transfer portal before this allowed greater player freedom of mobility. With the NCAA giving more options to players now, it makes a lot of sense for them to implement a rule that allows players to cross-enroll and play for other colleges on loans, for a specified period of time, thus allowing these very players to not to have to transfer.

NCAA FBS Week 7 Top 25:

  1. Georgia 6-0 SEC
  2. Iowa 6-0 Big Ten
  3. Oklahoma 6-0 Big 12
  4. Cincinnati 5-0 AAC
  5. Michigan 6-0 Big Ten
  6. Penn State 5-1 Big Ten
  7. Alabama 5-1 SEC
  8. Oregon 4-1 Pac-12
  9. Ohio State 5-1 Big Ten
  10. Michigan State 6-0 Big Ten
  11. Coastal Carolina 6-0 Sun Belt
  12. Oklahoma State 5-0 Big 12
  13. Kentucky 6-0 SEC
  14. San Diego State 5-0 Mountain West
  15. Notre Dame 5-1 Independent
  16. Ole Miss 5-1 SEC
  17. SMU 6-0 AAC
  18. Wake Forest 6-0 ACC
  19. BYU 5-1 Independent
  20. Arizona State 5-1 Pac-12
  21. UTSA 6-0 C-USA
  22. NC State 4-1 ACC
  23. Baylor 5-1 Big 12
  24. Houston 5-1 AAC
  25. Pittsburgh 4-1 ACC

Next 5:

Texas A&M 4-2 SEC

Arkansas 4-2 SEC

Florida 4-2 SEC

Texas 4-2 Big 12

Utah 3-2 Pac-12

SEC East: Georgia 6-0

SEC West: Alabama 5-1

Big Ten West: Iowa 6-0

Big Ten East: Michigan 6-0

Big 12: Oklahoma 6-0

AAC: Cincinnati 5-0

Pac-12 North: Oregon 4-1

Pac-12 South: Arizona State 5-1

Mountain West West: San Diego State 5-0

Mountain West Mountain: Air Force 5-1

Independent: Notre Dame 5-1

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 6-0

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 4-1

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 6-0

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 4-1

C-USA West: UTSA 6-0

C-USA East: Charlotte 4-2

MAC West: Northern Illinois 4-2

MAC East: Kent State 3-3

Best Matchups:

Overall:

#13 Kentucky (6-0) at #1 Georgia (6-0) Saturday 12:30 pm PT

In Conference:

SEC (Additional to the Overall Matchup of the Week):

#7 Alabama (5-1) at Mississippi State (3-2) Saturday 4:00 pm PT

Big Ten:

#10 Michigan State (6-0) at Indiana (2-3) Saturday 9:00 am PT

Big 12:

#12 Oklahoma State (5-0) at Texas (4-2) Saturday TBA

AAC:

UCF (3-2) at #4 Cincinnati (5-0) Saturday 9:00 am PT

Pac-12:

#20 Arizona State (5-1) at Utah (3-2) Saturday 7 pm PT

Independents: NA

Mountain West:

Air Force (5-1) at Boise State (3-3) Saturday TBA

ACC:

#22 NC State (4-1) at Boston College (4-1), Saturday 4:30 pm PT

Sun Belt:

Appalachian State (4-1) at Louisiana-Lafayette (4-1) Tuesday 4:30 pm PT

C-USA:

Louisiana Tech (2-3) at UTEP (5-1) Saturday 6 pm PT

MAC:

Kent State (3-3) at Western Michigan (4-2) Saturday 12:30 pm PT

FIFA Rankings are Misunderstood

A lot of people get upset about FIFA Rankings because some nations do very well on average, but may not have the most talented players according to experts or video games or themselves even, and furthermore, many high ranking FIFA Nations often fail to win trophies, which further creates criticism of FIFA Rankings.

But, this is because people may not understand the purpose of the rankings to begin with. The purpose is to find out which teams are playing the best match in and match out, in the most unbiased way possible. It is not to see who the top finisher at the World Cup or a Continental Championship is. Nor is it meant to rank teams based off of who they have on their national team.

In each tournament, they have a final standing for that tournament, such that in the 2018 World Cup, all 32 teams were ranked due to their performance with France being #1 from the 2018 World Cup for having won it. The standings for these are self-explanatory, much like with the cup competitions at the club level. The #1 team in The FA Cup for example, is the team that wins The FA Cup, so Leicester City would have been The 2021 FA Cup #1.

And, with regards to overall talent, the rankings do not take that into account because it does not want to be biased and it wants to judge off of results. Just because Senegal has Sadio Mané, Kalidou Koulibaly, Édouard Mendy, Idrissa Gueye, and other big name players does not mean that Senegal will be ranked ahead of Mexico who has the likes of Raúl Jiménez, Jesús Corona, Hirving Lozano, Héctor Herrera, and others. Mexico made it to the Round of 16 out of their group which featured Germany, Sweden, and South Korea, whereas Senegal did not advance out of their group in a group which featured Poland, Japan, and Colombia. Mexico consistently does better, and their league is far superior to Senegal’s. While it may make sense for people to expect Senegal to be better with players that start for major clubs, you cannot rank unbiasedly if you are placing teams ahead of others not off of results, but off of expectations, because your expectations are opinionated. If you want a talent based ranking system, go to the FIFA video games instead.

FIFA Rankings are thus more akin to league rankings for a club, except that for this league, all matches are considered league matches. FIFA Rankings has different weights to each match, sort of like a class gives more weight/more points to a test than to homework. You can find the formula here: FIFA Rankings formula. In other words, your opponent’s rankings, your competition, and your result, plus how far into a competition you are, gets put into a calculation to give you a certain amount of points, or to take away a certain amount of points, after each match. Nations are ranked by how many points they have accumulated over a period of time. This means that just like in league play, like the Premier League, a club not expected to do as well like Burnley, could finish higher than a club expected to do much better like Arsenal. This also means that just because a Manchester City may have the best record, does not mean they will necessarily win all the other competitions.

Henceforth, the arguments raised against some of these nations for high ranking status is sort of misunderstood. For example, Belgium has frequently been ranked #1 in the Coca-Cola FIFA Men’s World Rankings. In part of 2015 and 2016, Belgium was #1 and then, since partway through 2018, Belgium has been #1. Yet, in this time span, Belgium has not won any trophies. Many people take this as a reason for Belgium not being able to be ranked #1. Yet, just like for clubs, the best club team throughout the season may not be able to win in a knockout/playoff competition. A good example can be seen when a domestic league champion does not win the domestic cup competition. The only difference for club and nation, is that being the #1 ranking for national teams only gets you an award called the Team of the Year and not a trophy. There are no league competitions in national competition. Even the Nation’s League incorporates a playoff/knockout round.

So, when you look at the top 5 nations in the world since 2018 and you look at their records, you will see this (matches that go into penalty shootouts are considered draws no matter the result of the shootout):

  1. Belgium 39-5-5; 122 Points; 2.489 Points per Match
  2. Brazil: 40-7-4; 124 Points; 2.431 Points per Match
  3. England: 34-7-9; 109 Points; 2.18 Points per Match
  4. France: 36-12-4; 120 Points; 2.307 Points per Match
  5. Italy: 29-12-4; 99 Points; 2.2 Points per Match

Now, each team had a ranking they started off with prior to 2018, and each team played various weighted types of matches. Each team also did not play as many matches. But, when looking at the Points per Match, Belgium is the best one out of the current top 5.

Then, we look at tournament performances for competitive tournaments:

  1. Belgium: 3rd at 2018 World Cup, 5th at 2020 European Championship, 5th at 2018-2019 European Nations League; average = 4.33
  2. Brazil: 6th at 2018 World Cup, 1st at 2019 Copa America, 2nd at 2021 Copa America; average = 3rd
  3. England: 4th at 2018 World Cup, 2nd at 2020 European Championship, 3rd at 2018-2019 European Nations League; average = 3rd
  4. France: 1st at 2018 World Cup, 11th at 2020 European Championship, 6th at 2018-2019 European Nations League; average = 6th
  5. Italy: NA at 2018 World Cup, 1st at 2020 European Championship, 8th at 2018-2019 European Nations League; average = 14th (put NA at the highest number of 33rd it could be at)

Now, with the 2020-2021 Nations League, these numbers will change even more. However, the concept and the fact remains that when you look at overall performance on a match in and match out basis, the top performer is Belgium. And, when you look at it from a purely tournament perspective, it could be England or Brazil. However, when you take into account the average weights of each competition, this would mean that Belgium is still #1 because they have higher finishes in the most important competition, the World Cup.

The idea that because Belgium is #1 without having won any trophies, that it makes the FIFA Rankings illegitimate, is a misinformed notion because the rankings are not about winning competitions, rather the rankings are about each match. As heartbreaking as it must be for Belgium to have not won another tournament they were one of the favorites to win, the fact still remains that with another top 4 finish guaranteed, Belgium will stay consistently toward the top of the World Rankings, and possibly will stay #1, and rightfully so.

Instead of Arguing for Banning CRT, “Conservatives” Should Implement Their Own Theory to Balance the Education System

Proponents of free speech have long stated how they prefer a free market place of ideas where the best ideas will inevitably come to the top and win out. Sort of like free market capitalism, the good speech like the good companies do well.

Now, whether this is true or not, is not the point. What is the point is that for Americans who call themselves conservatives, this truth is self-evident, especially with regards to freedom of speech.

Banning CRT is not a bad idea, with regards to the younger ages, as it is designed for law students and other students in college and advanced graduate degrees. But, the truth is, especially since President Trump signed the free speech on college campus executive order, “conservatives” have made a pact and identity to defend free speech, even to the extreme. This has been one of the more popular versions of conservatism in fact, and has been embraced by people like Bill Maher, on the other side, who rant against cancel culture all the time.

Banning CRT will raise questions to the conservative sincerity of holding such a belief. In other words, do Conservatives believe this for all people’s views, or do they only believe this to advance their point of views? Because conservatives often write off critical theories and its studies that arrive from it as totally false, without even taking a class or exploring in good faith the possibility that some of what these teach are correct, or good to at least study. Like, now, bringing up teaching the Race Riots of 1920 comes with groans from conservatives as if that is revisionist history, when in fact it is a bad part of American history that is just not taught or focused on as much as it should be. And, do not even bring up redlining to them.

Furthermore, it would not do much anyway to ban CRT. The idea that CRT is going to be implemented into American schools at younger ages is misleading by CRT proponents to begin with. It is already taught. While full CRT may not be taught, although no one seems to know how far CRT goes (except those maybe in North Korean “labor camps”), elements and principles of CRT are already taught. And, if kids are somehow getting lucky enough to escape the self-hate education for the 60% majority of Americans, then they are learning it from social media, media, and other avenues of communication.

So, instead of fighting a battle already lost, and just trying to mitigate the losses, it may be best for conservatives to launch plan B, and when I say conservatives, I really mean the majority of people who are against CRT. What this alternative theory will be is something like Hillsdale College has already come up with called “1776 Curriculum”. There are other conservative colleges out there as well, but not many as reputable as Hillsdale. It would not replace CRT, but it would be implemented in schools to be a counter-narrative told side by side with CRT. This way, the children could be taught things like how White people did have slaves, but were also the majority that gave up their lives to free the slaves. They can be taught that a lot of the money that European countries made during colonialism came on the backs of African-descended slaves, but how the African countries made their money from this too, and actually fought the European countries to keep slaves once the European powers like the British Empire decided that slavery was evil and fought against it. That way, kids do not grow up ignorant enough to wear the cloth of an empire that was notorious for capturing and selling Africans as slaves in order to stand up to the institutions they claim were built on slavery (i.e. Democratic congress people wearing Kente Cloth to signal their stances against “structural racism”). In other words, that way the ideas that “only White people can be racist” or only “White people are bad”, along with the ideas that “America is irredeemable” or “America is built on structural racism” can be disputed in academics.

Instead, right now what is being taught is that European countries and “White” people were always awful, and that this has put other groups of people at such a disadvantage that they can never break out of this cycle, and that the American Constitution is forever racist because people who wrote it had slaves (an example of ad hominem fallacy to a tee). Yet, where is the counter-narrative? The answer is of course no where, unless you have a very fair and balanced teacher.

Thus, kids have grown up being taught to think reparations are a good thing because Black Americans and Africa have never been given reparations, while ignoring how maybe hundreds of thousands of lives dying for a cause, or years of affirmative action or disproportional amount of scholarships as well as tons of foreign aid and so many more examples have already been a form of reparations. It is not to suggest that reparations should not happen, rather it is to point out how only the further left wing views are often taught to students, while the right wing views are buried in suspensions and a coercive grading system whereby writing conservatively is quashed, as is being an open conservative. This, in effect, erodes American democracy because it neglects to educate the youth on contextualized history, and presents a one sided view of the world, meaning that Americans are not being taught knowledge to help them vote, rather Americans are being taught which way to vote. The whole story is being left out, and it is often the story that puts more pride in America, and creates less hate against the majority of the people that make up America.

So, instead of trying to quash freedom of speech, maybe conservatives should instead fight to expand it. So that way, 60% of the people in the USA can learn about the good and bad that people that look like them did, while also learning about the good and bad others did to properly contextualize this information.

The honest truth is right now, conservatives are concerned with conserving an education that teaches their children to think like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in order to prevent it from teaching their children to think like former Cuban President/Dictator, Fidel Castro. Obviously, conserving this is a good thing for conservatives and moderates, but maybe introducing a parallel theory that teaches their children to think like Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Kristi Noem, or someone like that would be a better idea. Because right now, there is no balance anyway.

Week 6 NCAA FBS Rankings:

  1. Alabama 5-0 SEC
  2. Georgia 5-0 SEC
  3. Iowa 5-0 Big Ten
  4. Oklahoma 5-0 Big 12
  5. Penn State 5-0 Big Ten
  6. Cincinnati 4-0 AAC
  7. Michigan 5-0 Big Ten
  8. Oregon 4-1 Pac-12
  9. Ohio State 4-1 Big Ten
  10. BYU 5-0 Independent
  11. Coastal Carolina 5-0 Sun Belt
  12. Michigan State 5-0 Big Ten
  13. Oklahoma State 5-0 Big 12
  14. Notre Dame 4-1 Independent
  15. Kentucky 5-0 SEC
  16. San Diego State 4-0 Mountain West
  17. Auburn 4-1 SEC
  18. SMU 5-0 AAC
  19. Ole Miss 3-1 SEC
  20. Arkansas 4-1 SEC
  21. Wake Forest 5-0 ACC
  22. NC State 4-1 ACC
  23. Arizona State 4-1 Pac-12
  24. UTSA 5-0 C-USA
  25. Texas 4-1 Big 12

Next 5:

Baylor 4-1 Big 12

Pittsburgh 4-1 ACC

Oregon State 4-1 Pac-12

Houston 4-1 AAC

Clemson 3-2 ACC

Best Teams in Each Division/Conference:

SEC West: Alabama 5-0

SEC East: Georgia 5-0

Big Ten West: Iowa 5-0

Big Ten East: Penn State 5-0

Big 12: Oklahoma 5-0

AAC: Cincinnati 4-0

Pac-12 North: Oregon 4-1

Pac-12 South: Arizona State 4-1

Independents: BYU 5-0

Mountain West West: San Diego State 4-0

Mountain West Mountain: Wyoming 4-0

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 5-0

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 4-1

C-USA West: UTSA 5-0

C-USA East: Charlotte 3-2

MAC East: Buffalo 2-3

MAC West: Western Michigan 4-1

Best games next week:

Overall:

#5 Penn State 5-0 at #3 Iowa 5-0

In Conference:

SEC:

#2 Georgia 5-0 at #17 Auburn 4-1

Big Ten: (Overall Game)

(Additional Game):

#7 Michigan 5-0 at Nebraska 3-3

Big 12:

#4 Oklahoma 5-0 v.s. #25 Texas 4-1 (Neutral Site Game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas)

AAC:

East Carolina 3-2 at UCF 2-2

Pac-12:

Stanford 3-2 at #23 Arizona State 4-1

Independents:

UCONN 0-6 at UMASS 0-4

Mountain West:

Wyoming 4-0 at Air Force 4-1

ACC:

Virginia 3-2 at Louisville 3-2

Sun Belt:

Georgia Southern 2-3 at Troy 2-3

C-USA:

#24 UTSA 5-0 at WKU 1-3

MAC:

Northern Illinois 3-2 at Toledo 3-2

SL Benfica is the best current team on the Iberian Peninsula and other Observations from the 2nd Round of Group Matches in the UEFA Champions League

What did we learn from the 2nd Round of Group Stage Matches?

Group A:

We learned that Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG’s) (France) 8 wins from 8 matches start in Ligue 1 is legit and that they really are a top side. While they got outplayed on most metrics of their match this week, they came out victorious, because they have the top level talent to score goals with limited chances, and a goalkeeper who will save point blank shots. Their draw against Club Brugge now says more about Club Brugge than about PSG. So far, PSG’s only blemish was a loss to Lille OSC (LOSC) in the French Super Cup.

Club Brugge (Belgium) is a legit contender to advance out of this group. They have won the Belgian Super Cup, they are currently first in the Belgian League with a 5-2-1 record, and they are behind PSG in leading the group on head to head away goals only. So far, Club Brugge is putting themselves in a good position to qualify out of this group, and with Man City’s lack of scoring (on some days), and with PSG having already shown two off matches, Club Brugge could surprise some people. They have the talent to draw against Man City, which would keep them at least top 2.

Manchester City (England) suffered their third loss against PSG this season, but looked the better team. They did not convert their chances, which may mean a striker will be needed, but they have been doing well so far without one. For a club like Man City, it is not as important to get out of the group stage as the top team in the group, rather, it is most important to have an opportunity to win all competitions left. This was Man City’s first loss to PSG, but they really did look the better side. Man City have not been perfect this season by any means with losses to Leicester City in the FA Community Shield (England’s Super Cup), to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, and now to PSG. However, Man City sits second in their league with a 4-1-1 record, one point off of first place. Plus, Man City are still in the Carabao Cup (England’s League Cup) with 1 win from 1 match in that competition so far.

RB Leipzig (Germany) has been very bad this season for them, with a 2-1-3 record in the Bundesliga for 10th place, and a 0-0-2 record for 4th place in this UEFA Champions League Group. The good news for RB Leipzig is that they have the talent to beat every team in this group. The bad news is that they have the talent to lose to every team in this group. And, it may be best for RB Leipzig to focus on the one competition they still realistically have a chance to win left, the DFB-Pokal (German Cup), which they are 1-0-0 in. But, RB Leipzig should keep trying to win these matches because they have a good team overall, and there is always a chance for slip ups by other teams later on. So, I do not think it is time to be ultra-pragmatic yet, because there are 4 matches left in the UEFA Champions League, and there is always the UEFA Europa League if they finish 3rd in their group, which is possible.

So far, Group A has been exciting because it has shown that every team in this group has a realistic chance to advance out of this group.

Group B:

Liverpool (England) is now 4-2-0 in league play in 1st place and 2-0-0 in Group Stage play, with wins over tough opposition. Liverpool has a habit of only winning the biggest trophies lately, from the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League, to the 2019 UEFA Super Cup, to the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, and to the 2019-2020 Premier League. Yet, Liverpool is even competing well in the Carabao Cup so far with 1 win from 1 match in that competition. And, their 5-1 victory over FC Porto, plus their 3-0 win in the Carabao Cup last week suggests that the 2018-2020 Liverpool may be back.

Atlético Madrid (Spain) was lucky to win in Milan against AC Milan, and Atlético Madrid is not doing amazing in their league so far with a 4-2-1 record sitting in 4th, but only 3 points back from 1st. Atlético Madrid is currently 1-1-0 in their group. However, they do not seem to have the goalscoring capability to really be elite this season, yet, that has not stopped them before and they have players that can score lots. Plus, as long as they

FC Porto (Portugal) so far looks good in Portuguese League play with a 5-2-0 record in 2nd place, 4 points off from 1st place. And, they had looked to be doing well in the UEFA Champions League until they lost 1-5 against Liverpool. However, it is yet to be seen if this is just a Liverpool thing or if FC Porto is not quite good enough to compete this season with the big teams outside of Portugal. Liverpool is really good at times, and so the jury is still out on FC Porto.

AC Milan (Italy) is looking really good this season in Serie A with a 5-1-0 record and 2 points off from 1st place. However, they have started off their UEFA Champions League campaign with 2 losses from 2 matches. I think they will be focused more on Italian competition, and especially Serie A this season. Despite this, they do have an ability in this group to advance. Atlético Madrid is not amazing so far, and nor is FC Porto. The only team standing out in their group is Liverpool. So, AC Milan still has a good chance of advancing, especially since their next match is against the supposed weakest team in the group, FC Porto.

Group B, like Group A was expected to be very tough. Group A was considered the Group of Death to most, while Group B was considered the alternative Group of Death for others. Both are so far proving as such, as all teams in each group are competitive, except that Liverpool is out and beyond the rest in their group thus far, and RB Leipzig is far behind in their group.

Group C:

Ajax Amsterdam (the Netherlands) is arguably the best team in Europe right now, not in terms of expected talent maybe, but definitely in terms of results. It did not start off that way, as Ajax lost to PSV Eindhoven 0-4 in the Dutch Super Cup, but since then, Ajax has dominated going 6-1-0 in league play with 30 goals for and 1 goals against, and then has gone 2-0-0 in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, with 7 goals for and 1 goal against. Ajax is currently in 1st place in their league and group.

Borussia Dortmund (Germany) is 2-0-0 right now in group play, but with only a +2 goal differential. It appears Ajax and them will make it out of this group. However, Borussia Dortmund is not looking impressive doing it. And, they have already lost the German Super Cup, and are in 4th in league play with a 4-0-2 record. They are 1-0-0 in the German Cup so far.

Beşiktaş (Turkey) is not looking amazing this season with a 4-2-1 record in league play in 4th place 2 points back, and is 0-0-2 in the group stage so far. However, they still find themselves in 3rd place for a chance to qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout stages. And it is only 2 games in thus far.

Sporting Club de Portugal (SCP) has been having a good league season thus far with a 5-2-0 record and is in 3rd place, 4 points back from 1st place. Plus, SCP won the Portuguese Super Cup already this season. However, they sit in 4th place in their group for the UEFA Champions League, with 1 goal for and 6 goals against, with a 0-0-2 record. They look to be not good enough to compete in their group thus far, which is strange because their recent successes in Portugal suggest they would be pushing for a top 2 spot.

Group C is surprising because many people find Ajax where they thought Borussia Dortmund was going to be. Ajax has seasons of brilliance in the UEFA Champions League every now and then, and so far, it looks like this will be another one of those seasons. This group should be competitive for 2nd place between SCP and Ajax, but Ajax is way out in 1st place.

Group D:

Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova) is leading Group D with 2 wins from 2 matches so far with 4 goals for and 1 goal against. However, they lost the Moldovan Super Cup, and are 6-1-1 in league play, 8 points back from 1st, with 3 matches in hand (they have played 3 less matches than the first place team). Sheriff Tiraspol beat Teuta (Albania) 0-4 and 1-0, then Alaskhert (Armenia) 0-1 and 3-1, then drew Red Star Belgrade (Serbia) 1-1 and then beat them 2-1, and then defeated Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) 3-0 and then tied 0-0 to get to the group stage. So, thus far in their Champions League campaign, Sheriff Tiraspol is 8-2-0. When Sherif defeated Red Star Belgrade, many people had thought Red Star Belgrade had on off night, and then, when Sheriff beat Dinamo Zagreb, again, people assumed Dinamo Zagreb had an off night. It was quite surprising given how good Dinamo Zagreb has been lately. Then, when Sheriff beat Shakhtar Donestsk in the group stage, people once again assumed Shakhtar Donestsk is not good. However, now after defeating Real Madrid, this club located in an unrecognized country called Transnistria (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic) which is claimed by and largely recognized as Moldova, has proved to be lucky too many times to not be good. It cannot be that all their opponents had off days. While it is surprising that Sheriff Tiraspol is not doing better in Moldova, their performances in Europe suggest they can compete and defeat most of the clubs on the continent. While it is true Real Madrid has been struggling more over the years, they have still stayed as one of the top 16 clubs of Europe. With Sheriff’s record so far, they are likely to advance out of this group. They have appeared to have recruited well, like Shakhtar Donestsk is often known for. You can often find better players for less when you have a good recruiting team.

Real Madrid (Spain) has been doing very well in LaLiga with a 5-2-0 record, in 1st place. And, with a win over Inter Milan in the group, it looked like Real Madrid was going to dominate the group. However, their lost to Sheriff leaves Real Madrid in 2nd place in their group. Plus, it was a loss at home. Still, Real Madrid should stay confident that they can win this group, and they should stay confident they can advance from this group. They will be favored the next time they play Sherrif, and if they win, depending on the score, they could see themselves on top of the group.

Inter Milan (Italy) is 4-2-0 this season in Italian play and is in 3rd place 4 points back from 1st. They are doing good there. But, in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Inter Milan is in 3rd at a 0-1-1 record. Even though Shakhtar Donestk and Real Madrid are usually good, Inter Milan was still expected to finish top 2. But, Sheriff was definitely not expected to be ahead of Inter Milan, and definitely not 5 points ahead of Inter Milan. Inter Milan were the Italian Champions last season, but it has been been while since they have gone far in the UEFA Champions League. While this season may not look like it, they still have a good chance to advance out of this group if they win the rest of the matches they are supposed to win.

Shaktar Donestk (Ukraine) is currently in 4th place with a 0-1-1 record. Shakhtar Donestk has so far won the Ukrainian Super Cup, and is 7-1-1 in league play, 3 points back from 1st. They defeated KRC Genk (Belgium) twice, and then defeated AS Monaco (France, but located in Monaco) on aggregate in extra time (winning 1 and losing the other match in regulation). However, in the group stage, Shakhtar Donestsk has been bad thus far. They are not in the easiest group, but they are not playing against the best Real Madrid side, and they should be better than Sheriff Tiraspol. As it is, they have been doing well against Inter Milan as of late as well.

The top team is a new guy, while the bottom 3 are teams with lots of experience. This group is interesting because it has the underdog of the tournament, Sheriff Tiraspol, and they are dominating, and even beat the best UEFA Champions League club of all-time, Real Madrid, at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

Group E:

FC Bayern Munich (Germany) is probably the best team in Europe, as they are 5-1-0 in Bundesliga play, 1st place. They won the German Super Cup. And they have won 1 match from 1 match so far in the German Cup. The Bavarian Giants are also 2-0-0 thus far in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage with 8 goals for and 0 goals against. So far, so good. They have so much talent, and they just bought a lot of their rival talent this past season.

SL Benefica (Portugal) has become elite again, as they are 7-0-0 to start the Portuguese League, in 1st place, and in UEFA Champions League play, they defeated Spartak Moscow (Russia) twice and defeated and drew PSV Eindhoven (the Netherlands) once to get to the group stage. Once in the group, SL Benefica is 1-1-0, in 2nd place. While their draw against Dynamo Kyiv left a lot to be desired, their 3-0 win over FC Barcelona signaled that SL Benefica is currently the best team on the Iberian Peninsula, better than any Spanish, Portuguese, Gibraltarian, Andorran, and French Cerdagne club. However, FC Barcelona usually finds a way to come back, which means SL Benefica should not be sitting comfortably.

Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) is currently in 3rd place with a 0-1-1 record. Dynamo Kyiv has not looked very impressive, having scored 0 goals and having given up 5 goals against. And, their Ukrianian Super Cup match also left a lot to be desired with a 0-3 loss to Shakhtar Donestk. However, in the Ukrainian Premier League, Dynamo Kyiv is 8-1-0 and in 1st place. They have a good team, but right now look only good enough to play defensive. They need to go for goal more in their upcoming match, and most likely in all the rest of the Group Stage matches to advance to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

FC Barcelona (Spain) is 3-3-0 thus far in LaLiga, currently sitting in 6th place, but with a match in hand and only 5 points back from 1st place. FC Barcelona tends to be really good eventually in the season, but without Lionel Messi, it may be too difficult. Still, they are missing some key players and a win over Dynamo Kyiv may turn this UEFA Champions League campaign around. Right now, FC Barcelona is 0-0-2 in group play.

FC Bayern Munich look really good, as does SL Benefica. But, what makes this group very interesting is that FC Barcelona is doing so bad, because they usually comeback later on, which should make this group competitive down to the last round of matches.

Group F:

Atalanta (Italy) is currently not having the best Serie A season ever, as they are 3-2-1 and in 7th place. However, so far in the UEFA Champions League, they are 1-1-0 and in 1st place in their group. But, they do not look like a 1st place team and right now, and their next match against Manchester United may be crucial to seeing if Atalanta can advance from this group, given that Villarreal has not played BSC Young Boys yet, who are supposed to be the weak team in the group.

BSC Young Boys (Switzerland) are 4-2-1 in league play, 4 points from 1st. They had to drew and defeated Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia), CFR Cluj (Romania), and then defeated Ferencváros (Hungary) twice to get to the UEFA Champions League Group Stage. So far, in group, BSC Young Boys find themselves in 2nd place with a 1-0-1 record on Head to Head points. They look formidable enough, but they are the weak team in the group according to most. So, it will be difficult for them to get another win, but they are very capable.

Manchester United (England) are 4-1-1 in league play and 4th place, and lost their only match of the Carabao Cup and are knocked out. They have not played well in group play yet, as they were mostly outplayed by Villarreal, but got the late win, and they were outplayed by BSC Young Boys. However, with Christiano Ronaldo back at at club, and with their win this week, they look like favorites to win this group with time.

Villarreal (Spain) looked really good this weak, but could not finish. Villarreal is currently 1-5-0 in LaLiga, sitting in 11th place with a match in hand, 9 points from 1st place. They lost in penalty shootouts in the UEFA Super Cup. And, they are 0-1-1 in group play so far in the UEFA Champions League. This club is competitive. But, they cannot seem to win much this season. If they fet their finishing boots on, they will advance from this group. But, if not, last place or 3rd place is likely.

The two favorites are 3rd and 4th right now. Manchester United are the story of this group, as they seem to never go away. Yet, they also are capable of losing, hence why BSC Young Boys are in 2nd.

Group G:

FC Red Bull Salzburg or FC Salzburg (Austria) as they are known for UEFA Competitions, is 9-0-0 in the Austrian Bundesliga, with a 2-0-0 record in the Austrian Cup. They look really good domestically in Europe, they had to defeat Brøndby (Denmark) twice to get to the Group Stage. So far, they are 1-1-0 in their UEFA Champipns League Group Stage, with an away draw to what is supposed to be the best team in their group, Sevilla, and a win over the defending French Champions, Lille OSC. They are 1st in their group, and look the part to advance out of their group, and even look like the favorites. They win matches, and winning is contagious. Plus, Austria has good competition so they are getting wins against respectable teams.

Sevilla (Spain) is the favorite to win this group. Currently, they have a 4-2-0 LaLiga record, 3 points from 1st place with a match in hand. In the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, they sit in 2nd in their group with a 0-2-0 record. While Sevilla may be the most experienced and talented team in this group, and probably the overall best team in this group, they have been suffering from a lack of scoring so far in group play with both matches ending in 1-1 draws, with both goals for Sevilla scored from the penalty kick spot by Ivan Rakitić. They need more attacking prowress in this group to advance out. However, their consistency mixed in with maybe only 2 wins will probably get them through.

VfL Wolfsburg (Germany) has been very impressive since last season, not quite as impressive as they were with Kevin De Bruyne, but still impressive. They are currently 4-1-1 in the Bundesliga 3 points back from 1st, in 3rd place. And, they sort of got screwed over in the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) as they had won 3-1 in their 1st match in the competition, but had used 6 substitutions instead of the 5 allowed, and thus the match was awarded to the other team after their opposition protested the result. It is strange that an official would even let a team make that mistake, but apparently they would. So, VfL Wolfsburg, has mostly done well in Germaby for playing on the field, but maybe not in substituting. So far, in the UEFA Champions League, VfL Wolfsburg has tied both matches against Lille OSC and Sevilla. Their next match is away against FC Red Bull Salzburg and could prove crucial to VfL Wolfsburg’s self-esteem and tenacity to fight for the knockout rounds. Their record in the Bundesliga is so good right now that they may focus on winning that. But, with no German Cup opportunity left, VfL Wolfsburg should be able to concentrate on both the Bundesliga and the UEFA Champions League. It is going to be difficult to win in Salzburg though.

Lille OSC (LOSC) (France) started off the season winning the French Super Cup, but since then, nothing has been very super by the defending French Champions. LOSC is currently 3-2-3 in Ligue 1, with a 0-1-1 record in group play for the UEFA Champions League, sitting 4th place in their group. For Ligue 1, LOSC is in 9th place, 13 points back from 1st place. LOSC should be happy they won another trophy already this season. And they have started to look better as of late, with even their FC Red Bull Salzburg match being entertaining. However, LOSC does not look very good this season. They do not look like a team that can advance from this group thus far.

This is the most even group. All clubs can defeat one another. But, FC Red Bull Salzburg stands out above the rest because of how much they are dominating their domestic competitions and how attack minded they are. FC Red Bull Salzburg’s style of play is very exciting.

Group H:

Juventus (Italy) has not been the best in Italy thus far, with a 2-2-2 Serie A record, sitting in 10th place, 10 points back from 1st place. However, in the UEFA Champions League, Juventus looks strong, and is 2-0-0 thus far with wins over the defending European Champions, Chelsea, and over the defending Swedish Champions, Malmö FF. They have started to play much better in Serie A. And, they look like the team to beat in this group.

Chelsea (England) is 4-1-1 in the Premier League, in 3rd place, and 1 point back from 1st place. They won the UEFA Super Cup on penalty kick shootouts, and they won their only match thus far of the Carabao Cup (England’s League Cup) on penalty kick shootouts. Chelsea is 1-0-1 right now, in 2nd place in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, with the Head to Head points tiebreaker over Zenti Saint-Petersburg. Chelsea looks like the favorite to get 2nd place right now, especially with their next match being against Malmö FF. Chelsea seems to be putting up unimpressive results that keep them winning or staying close to the top. The ability to do this is crucial to continue fighting across all completions they are in.

Zenit Saint-Petersburg (Russia) is 7-2-0 in the Russian Premier League, in 1st place, and won the Russian Super Cup. So far in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Zenit Saint-Petersburg is 1-0-1, with a huge win over Malmö FF this week, and a tough 0-1 loss against Chelsea in their 1st group match this season. Zenit’s huge win this week might spur them on to defeat Juventus next. Zenit has the talent to compete at the highest levels of the sport, but they must play well to do so.

Malmö FF (Sweden) has a different domestic setup than the others mentioned, as their season is overdoing as Sweden does their whole season in a calendar year. So, currently, Malmö FF is 12-5-4, 3 points back from 1st place. In the UEFA Champions League this season thus far, Malmö defeated and drew Riga FC (Latvia) once, defeated and drew HJK (Finland) once, defeated Rangers (Scotland) twice, and then defeated and loss to Ludogorets Razgard (Bulgaria) once, but won on aggregate to advance to the Group Stage. So far, Malmö FF has proved to be the weakest team in the Group Stage out of all teams. But, they still have a lot of talent that could do well. Either way, they will be happy for this opportunity, and hoping to stay healthy and energized to win the Swedish League for their 2021 season.

Juventus finds themselves back at the top of some standing, and Zenit Saint-Petersburg won a match to keep this group competitive. There are 2 clear favorites, with Zenit Saint-Petersburg a formidable foe.

Current Ranking of UEFA Champions League Teams Only (Opinion):

  1. FC Bayern Munich
  2. Liverpool
  3. PSG
  4. Manchester City
  5. Ajax Amsterdam
  6. Juventus
  7. Chelsea
  8. SL Benfica
  9. Atlético Madrid
  10. FC Red Bull Salzburg
  11. Borussia Dortmund
  12. Sheriff Tiraspol
  13. Manchester United
  14. Club Brugge
  15. Sevilla
  16. Real Madrid
  17. Inter Milan
  18. VfL Wolfsburg
  19. AC Milan
  20. Atalanta
  21. Villarreal
  22. LOSC
  23. Zenit Saint-Petersburg
  24. FC Barcelona
  25. FC Porto
  26. Shakhtar Donetsk
  27. Sporting Club de Portugal
  28. Dynamo Kyiv
  29. BSC Young Boys
  30. RB Leipzig
  31. Beşiktaş
  32. Malmö FF

Louisiana should accept the Haitian Refugees

Louisiana, like most of the area around the Mississippi River, used to be a part of the Kingdom of France.

Louisiana was a part of the Louisiana Territory of France, as an administrative district under New France, from 1682-1769 and from 1801-1803, although a few of these years are debated. Bourbon Spain ruled this territory in between France. The territory encompassed the full states of Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma, parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas, and Minnesota, as well as parts of the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. These parts were all bought by the USA in 1803, and in 1818, the parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta would be given to Canada, while Canada gave the USA parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Other parts of New France also saw some territorial changes, but earlier on. All of Quebec, most of the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) and parts of Ontario, Manitoba, and Newfoundland and Labrador that were part of New France, were ceded to Great Britain after the Seven Years’ War in 1763.

The Louisiana Territory of New France was immense. It was named after King Louis XIV, who is still currently the longest serving monarch ever as he ruled 72 years and 110 days from 1643-1715. The first capital was present-day Mobil, Alabama (1702-1720), followed by Biloxi, Mississippi (1720-1722), and then New Orleans, Louisiana after 1722, even under the Spanish. Once the USA took over the Louisiana Territory, the capital would go to St. Louis, Missouri, and continued to be the capital when most of the Louisiana Territory changed to the Missouri Territory until 1821. St. Louis is named for Roman Catholic Saint and King of France from 1226-1270, Saint Louis/King Louis IX. New Orleans, on the other hand, is named after Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who served as Regent of France from 1715-1723 on behalf on King Louis XV.

Therefore, the modern-day state of Louisiana and its largest city, New Orleans, served as the home for overseas France in the USA for over 80 years. And as such, Louisiana and New Orleans have continued to have their own special Louisiana-French culture.

Let us just look at some examples of French heritage for both places. New Orleans is known for its French Quarter and Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street is named after the House of Bourbon that ruled over France for a very long time, and who now continues to rule over the Kingdom of Spain. The French Quarter is known for famous French, Spanish, and Creole Architecture. Famous places include Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, a minor-basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. This basilica is the cathedral or mother church/seat/home of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, the second oldest archdiocese in the USA, after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. And there are plenty of other buildings too that resemble French architecture, whether they were built in French times or after. For example, the Pontalba Buildings were paid for and designed by New Orleans born Micaela Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba, daughter of a Spanish aristocrat father and a French aristocrat mother. She would spend a lot of her life in Paris and designed the famous Hôtel de Pontalba in Paris, in 1855. Since 1971, it has served as the official residence of the US Ambassador to France. New Orleans’s French Quarter is further known for its French cafe, Café du Monde, which was founded in 1862. Café du Monde and the greater cuisine of New Orleans is famous for its French pastries called beignets. Adrien de Pauger was a French cartographer and engineer who designed the French Quarter, as well as created the first maps of New Orleans, and would name most of the streets in the French Quarter after Roman Catholic Saints and French Royal Houses. Possibly what New Orleans is most famous for is Mardi Gras, which is celebrated two weeks before and up to Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and start of Lent in the Roman Catholic Church’s calendar. New Orleans’s Mardi Gras was first celebrated by the French in 1699 and has continued to be a main stay in New Orleans since.

Then, when we look at Louisiana as a whole, we can see the French intertwined into the identity of Louisianians. For example, Louisiana has parishes instead of counties, which were used during French and Spanish colonial times. They have a separate legal system (Louisiana Civil Code) not based on English Common Law, rather based on French, German, and Spanish legal codes, via Roman law, with similarities to the Napoleonic Code, but not descended from it. And, the south of Louisiana is largely either French speaking, or descended from native French speakers. While Huguenot French people were among many of the largely Protestant-European ethnic groups to dominate the north of Louisiana, and thus make it mostly English speaking, the South of Louisiana had stayed mostly French speaking after the USA took over the present-day state. The Huguenots largely joined other Protestant sects and started to speak English in their early generations. The Protestants of Louisiana eventually primarily became part of the Southern Baptists. The Southern part of Louisiana, however, largely stayed Roman Catholic, and is where the most French speakers are, primarily in a region called Acadiana. Acadiana is mostly Roman Catholic, and formerly mostly French speaking. Currently, 4.5% of the people of Louisiana speak some version of French at home, while 7% (150,000-200,000 people) can speak it. However, Louisiana used to have more than 1,000,000 French speakers as late as 1968. The reason for the large French language decline in Louisiana is because in the 1800s and 1900s, the Anglophone Louisianians controlled the state and would create discriminatory rules against Francophone Louisianians, such as restricting the ability to write laws, teach at schools, and so on in French. Mobs would persecute French speakers. Businesses and the elite of Louisiana would privately discriminate against French speakers. A lot of the French speakers opted to send their children to private Catholic schools who would teach in French, after the State of Louisiana banned the teaching of French in public schools. These Catholic schools would teach Standard French (proper/Parisian French). However, Louisiana eventually banned private schools from teaching French too, and would even subject students who spoke French on school grounds to corporal punishment. There were many campaigns against French speakers such as the slogan, “Don’t speak Cajun. Speak White!” Cajuns and other French speakers were often considered poor, stupid, and backwards by English speaking Louisianians, which further weakened French in Louisiana because there was a lack of pride amongst French speakers in the state, who often sought out to distance themselves from these negative stereotypes. So, by 1968, there were still plenty of the older generation who spoke French, but their younger descendants were largely non-French speakers, as their parents feared retribution for their children speaking French. Thus, once this older generation were no longer alive, their younger generation and its kids were largely not able to speak French.

But, since 1968, Louisiana has changed their constitution to once again incorporate their French identity into their state. They created a French language state agency to promote and rejuvenate French into Louisiana. This revival has done a good job encouraging newer generations to learn French once again, and to speak it. The agency is called the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL)/le Conseil pour le développement du français en Louisiane. It is based in the City of Lafayette, named after Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a famous French aristocrat and military officer who served the Kingdom of France and the United States of America in the Revolutionary War, and then helped write The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which would help spur France into a liberal democratic society. He thus would become Commander-in-Chief of France and would try to steer the middle ground in the French Revolution (which radicals would then turn on him for). The City of Lafayette is the primary city of Acadiana (not all of Southern Louisiana is in Acadiana), hence why CODOFIL was put in Lafayette. CODOFIL seeks to “provide access to economic, educational, cultural and professional opportunities in French to all Louisianians.” It has many language emersion programs, such as their famous Escadrille Louisiane program, which allows Louisiana French speakers to study French at the Université de Rennes in France on scholarship, in exchange for a promise of at least three years of teaching French in Louisiana. It seeks to make French a sizable second language in Louisiana, by encouraging and sponsoring French classes. They recruit many teachers from France, Belgium, and Canada especially. And, CODOFIL wants to use this to increase business and tourism with French speaking nations. In fact, the State of Louisiana is now an observer member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, an international organization for Francophone countries/regions. Louisiana joined in 2018.

There are primarily three versions of French spoken in Louisiana. The first version is Standard French, which is being taught in schools, often times, and is the proper dialect of French. It is not the primary French dialect in Louisiana, however. The next one is Cajun French. Cajun French comes from the Acadians, who were French settlers in the Maritime Provinces of Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island), but following the French and Indian Wars of the 1750s and 1760s, as well as some earlier conflicts, they were expelled from the Maritime Provinces, and then expelled from New England. Bourbon Spain welcomed them in, and thus their dialect came to be called Cajun French, as well as their ethnic group. They also speak a dialect of English called Cajun English. However, the Cajun French used to simply be part of the ethnic group called Louisiana Creoles. The Louisiana Creoles are mainly descendants of Louisianians of the colonial era, and thus are mainly French, Spanish, African, and Native American descended. They speak French, Spanish, English, and a French dialect called Louisiana Creole. It mostly comes from a mixture of French and West African languages, and now is highly endangered. Together with Cajun French and French spoken in Louisiana, it forms Louisiana French. Ironically, while the Spanish attempted to make Louisiana Spanish-speaking, they never really could and they often recruited French speakers and brought over enslaved French speaking Africans. Even the Isleños, descendants of Canarians from the Canary Islands of Spain became largely French speakers in Louisiana. After all, it was the Spanish who brought in the Cajuns that provided an extra spark in the expansion of the French language in Louisiana. It is important to note too, that the ethnic group of Louisiana Creole is not a racial identifier, rather is one to just signify a French speaker born in the “New World” (the Americas), as opposed to one born in/from the “Old World” (Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania). And, speakers of Louisiana French come from all ethnic and racial groups, especially when admixture is taken into account, such that many African, European, and Native American descended peoples are French speaking in Louisiana, and most of these are Roman Catholic.

Now, with the recent increase of Haitian refugees into Texas, the President Biden Administration has done what it was brought in not to do by its own voters, and that is deport tons of people who have sought asylum, under a President Trump era policy, using COVID-19 as a cover. But, most people believe President Biden is cracking down on immigration because it is considered deeply unpopular among many groups in the USA. Many people are worried that Haitians and people from other countries “will take American jobs”, “not assimilate”, “will make America more dangerous”, and many other accusations like “will bring down wages” and “will change the identity of America”. Now, whether any of these accusations are true is one issue (hint, they usually are not/are largely exaggerated). But, let us just entertain the idea that these accusations are true. And, if true, yes, maybe Haitians do not exactly fit the classic Texan fold. Texans are largely Hispanic, White, and Black English and Spanish speakers. But, in Louisiana, it really is a melting pot of Jumbo when it comes to race and ethnicity. Addressing some of these points is key.

Haitians are actually a very important part to Louisiana history. After the Haitian Revolution of 1804, many Haitian refugees came to New Orleans and the surrounding areas of Louisiana, and this influx of Haitians helped keep French a main language among Louisianians and in New Orleans especially. They supposedly doubled the population of New Orleans at the time. With these Haitians and Haitians that have come after, they have grown the Roman Catholic faith too, which is integral to the identity of Louisiana. They also brought with them Haitian Voodoo, which along with Louisiana Voodoo, is the voodoo practiced in Louisiana. But, for the most part, they just brought Roman Catholicism in.

Haitians speak Haitian Creole (French based) and Standard French, and are still largely Roman Catholic. And, with the State of Louisiana seeking to increase the use of the French language, CODOFIL should really support more Haitian refugees coming into Louisiana to increase the amount of Francophones. Considering that only 7% of Louisianians speak French, and considering Louisiana wants an increase in French speaking tourism and education, I doubt that Haitians “will be taking American jobs”. Already, Louisiana brings in Belgian, Canadian, and French people to work in their French language fields. Hence, most of the jobs Haitians will probably take will be jobs for French speakers, which they would probably be most qualified for anyway. As shown in history, and the present-day culture of Louisiana, Haitians would easily assimilate into the Louisiana culture because they are already a main part of the Louisiana culture. It would be akin to being concerned if Asians could assimilate into Hawaiian culture at this point. Louisiana is already known for having a large Black population, and a large Haitian population. And, Louisiana is unique in that it has a very big Black Catholic tradition, with many Black communities being predominantly Catholic. In fact, New Orleans is home to the only Catholic HBCU (Xavier University of New Orleans founded by St. Katherine Drexel, the only American Catholic university founded by an American-born Saint). As to making America more dangerous and bringing down wages, if Haitians are given legal asylum status, this will force companies to have to pay them regular state wages, which should decrease their incentive to commit crimes. Furthermore, the risk to deportation if one commits crime is high, and most Haitians will not want to go back to Haiti if they are trecking across the Gulf of Mexico, deserts, and rivers to get to the USA. Already, New Orleans is considered a sanctuary city, which means that even if these Haitians did not get proper asylum status, or other immigration status, they would still be largely safe from deportation as long as they did not commit any crime. As for “changing the identity of America”, that is sort of irrelevant when thinking of Louisiana. Louisiana is the USA’s Quebec, the USA’s Northern Ireland, is the USA’s well, the USA’s Louisiana. Louisiana is already unique in the American identity, and it does not fit its own region even. It is unique in that it has a vibrant Catholic history and population in the largely Protestant Deep South, with a history of free Blacks who even fought for the Confederates (well tried to, but were not as successful at fitting in as their Native American and White counterparts), to being French speaking, to having a pro-life Democratic Governor. It is also home to French speaking Native Americans, who too fought with the Confederates, an odd history indeed for people who do not quite understand the unique situation of Louisianian culture. It is the LA people do not think of when bringing up the USA. Haitians already fit the Louisiana culture, and more Haitians in Louisiana would not change the USA that much, because Louisiana is already a different identity in itself.

As for the Governor, Governor John Bel Edwards is a very pro-immigrant/refugee governor. As a Catholic, he and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops were quick to say that Louisiana would continue to welcome refugees in 2019, against President Trump’s wishes, using many Catholic charities to do so. Louisiana has a good Catholic governance structure, as all diocese are under the Ecclesiastical Province/Archdiocese of New Orleans, which helps with organizational efforts. And, the worry of non-citizens voting in American elections that is often brought up when speaking of refugees is not as founded in Louisiana, as Governor John Bel Edwards supports Voter IDs, meaning that if anything, most likely, voter fraud would not happen in federal elections in comparison to most other states. The only concern for refugees voting would be within the cities, parishes, and the state itself, but considering that Louisiana is largely Republican, with strong Democratic pockets, where Haitians will move into, they really would not change much (given their projected party preference).

Given the federal nature of the USA, this appears to be a situation best left to the State of Louisiana to decide. Currently, Louisiana is classified as one of the poorer states, with a poor environmental record. There is lots of gangs and drug trading, due to a lack of opportunity. And, therefore, increasing programs like French learning and French scholarships, and increasing industries such as French tourism, while working more closely with private charity networks, could create a more economic boom for Louisiana. It would be such an advantage for young Louisianians to be able to communicate fluently in both English and French, because most of the wealthiest countries, and most of the highest paying jobs are largely in both languages. It would expand the job market for the people of Louisiana, while making their identity more unique, more prideful, and making the people smarter and more well-rounded. Imagine how many more opportunities the cooking industry could provide Louisianians if they spoke the main language for cooking, French, and of course the world-wide lingua franca, English. They would have so many opportunities to work in France and across the European Union. And, as far as other jobs go, the ability to work with most of Africa, which is expected to be 4 Billion people by 2100, will be massive as almost all countries in Africa either speak English or French as an official language. Plus, Louisiana entertainers would be able to enter into the Francophone entertainment industry, possibly making French movies, music, and shows that would be popular across the Francophone world. French is often ranked as the third most useful language after English and Standard Mandarin Chinese for business, but unlike Standard Mandarin Chinese, French is an official language in 29 sovereign states and a further 10 territories/regions, along with being a major second language for a further 55 countries. In other words, it may not be the language of the largest country in the world, but it is the language of many more places making it more useful in most situations. It is expected to soon be spoken by more than 500 million people. It is the former world lingua franca and world diplomatic language and it is one of six official languages of the United Nations. Furthermore, if the European Union were to become one country, it would be highly likely that French would become the main language, which would mean the second most powerful and important country would be French speaking, behind the English speaking USA. And, that is without even mentioning the benefits for having Louisianians learn French in helping them learn other Latin languages like Spanish and Portuguese, which would further increase their opportunities across the Americas to do business.

Plus, there is a foreign policy goal of the USA to be had here. France is very proud of their French identity and of their language. If the USA can show that they have a state actively increasing French speaking numbers, the French are likely to look more favorably upon the USA. This is important after France recalled their ambassador to the USA over the submarine deal USA made with Australia, that undercut and canceled France’s deal with Australia. In addition to France, both Belgium and Canada allow their federal first level administrative divisions to have embassy missions and foreign relations, and as such, not only would an increase in French learning be good for relations with both countries, it would be extremely successful with the French Community (Belgium) and Quebec (Canada), as well as potentially Wallonia (Belgium), New Brunswick (Canada), and other Canadian provinces with high levels of French speakers putting diplomatic missions in Louisiana. It would be really advantageous for the Maritime Provinces who have their Acadian heritage in Louisiana, and who have little influence worldwide. It is interesting to note too, that the Maritime Provinces share a common Confederate past with Louisiana, that sets this potential future alliance as one steeped in a historical ally that too has progressed for the better. With fishing such a big industry, it may behoove the Maritime Provinces, and possibly nearby French Saint Pierre and Miquelon to all team up to work together. Furthermore, this could connect Louisiana more with other French speaking countries and territories across the Caribbean and Americas, Africa, Oceania, and even Asia like how the South Vietnamese became big in Louisiana for a while. In fact, one interesting group to help with the banking and finance industry, would be to try and recruit Lebanese French-speakers, and their diaspora (often Catholic and other Christians) to help build a better industry in banking. Lebanese are very good in banking, and their diaspora is found throughout the Americas with some of the richest people in the world being Lebanese in Latin America. And, this is not even to mention how there can be greater associations between French speaking nations like Morocco, Andorra, Luxembourg, Monaco, and Switzerland (these countries themselves are amazing with banking), as well as with other French aligned states like the UAE and Rwanda that have become good in the finance sectors for their regions. Then, when looking at agriculture, the French connections to France, Belgium, and Switzerland would really help out the agriculture sectors, especially with making more nutritious options to eat. Louisiana suffers from obesity, and the European French speaking areas tend to be really good with nutrition and how they grow their crops, which Louisiana can learn from, decreasing healthcare costs. Many French speaking areas are also experts in mining, which Louisiana is dependent on and could learn more from, as well as in oil extraction and nuclear energy. And, the service sectors, specifically hospitality is something that Louisiana, and New Orleans especially, is largely dependent on, and it is in this industry that French speakers are the utmost experts in, with the best hospitality university being located in the French speaking part of Switzerland (École hôtelière de Lausanne), and with France being the most travelled to country (plus, its overseas French Polynesia (Tahiti)). The governing/public, political, and diplomatic sectors would be greatly enhanced by the increase in French literacy too given the number of places that speak French, the number of people who speak French, and given that the most important places for politics outside of Washington, D.C. are Brussels and Strasbourg, both French speaking cities (although Brussels is also Dutch speaking, and Strasbourg has a large German speaking population). And, the historical sectors would be really good to know French as so much of history is written in French, including in England. The potential is endless, but as it is, New Orleans could compete better with Miami for Caribbean tourism if New Orleans can once again be seen as the French capital of the Americas, given its location close to the Caribbean. And, if better in finances, the Caribbean connection could mean a secondary location to Miami in the USA in bringing in lots of money. Plus, the knowledge of French law in French would greatly enhance the ability to do business overseas, as New Orleans and the State of Louisiana is known for having a strong legal industry. Plus, the casino sectors could team up with places like Monaco and other areas on the French Riviera to improve their casino industries. Even the sports industry could see more growth, as the French speaking world is known for being good in sports, and thus Louisiana based teams could enhance their popularity and their skill level by attracting more French speaking fans and personnel. And, the medical industry could see improvements too, with Francophones often being highly established in the medical industry.

Therefore, there is a lot of potential growths in industries available for Louisiana with a more openness to use their French identity to their advantage. And, increasing their Haitian population could help increase these very numbers. Furthermore, the Catholic governing structure of Louisiana, especially in Acadiana, can provide a parallel government structure to assist in additional funds for various projects, potentially making the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Holy See (Catholic Church’s Sovereign Government Entity) much closer. There is really an endless amount of opportunities. The best part is that learning French would be super useful because French speakers like French speakers, and would rather do business with people who speak French. French speakers would like to have an area to go to in the USA where they can speak their native tongue, and Louisiana could become that place, more so than it already is. In effect, Louisiana could get that favored nation status, or rather, a favored state status by many French speakers and French speaking places.

Not only would this be good for increasing economic activity in Louisiana, but this would also provide more opportunities to Haitians, as having a Haitian area to go to would help with their economy, governance, and livelihoods. This could increase the stability of Haiti, if they were to have a strong Haitian diaspora so close by, and if successful, would make the Americas more stable, and would help the USA in the future. Many countries have used their American diasporas to their advantage in increasing their opportunities, and this subsequently decreases the need for many to become asylum seekers/refugees. And, with Haiti not being communist or authoritarian (as much as other states), it should be easier for the Haitian diaspora to help with Haiti.

Louisiana is a state riddled in Frenchness and Catholicism. They have parishes instead of counties. They have a separate legal system (Louisiana Civil Code) not based on English Common Law, rather based on French, German, and Spanish legal codes, via Roman law. They have French names of cities, parishes, and other things from New Orleans to Lafayette to its capital, Baton Rouge, and to Louisiana itself. They have a Catholic plurality in terms of denominations while being in the Deep South, and their flag features a Mother Pelican and her young pelicans, a classic Catholic social symbol. Their sports teams are Catholic or French influenced often times, from the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, to the New Orleans Saints, to the New Orleans Pelicans, and to the Geaux Tigers slogan for LSU. They are known for French derived music, whether it be from their Afro-French or Cajun French populations (Jazz and Cajun music). Their Afro-French, French, and Cajun cuisine is famous and desired throughout the world (Beignets, Seafood, Fried Chicken, and Gumbo). The fleur-de-lis can be seen a lot across État de Louisiane (La Louisiane). With one of the largest Black Catholic populations in the USA, and with the largest French speaking population on average, Haitian refugees would fit right into the Louisiana way of life. If the USA wants to uphold the laws they signed onto, Louisiana would be the best place to place Haitian refugees.

Turkey Not Recognizing the Taliban Would be a Huge Win for Afghanistan, NATO, and the USA

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey has been called by critics as a dictator, a danger to the secularism or rather religious pluralism of Turkey, a danger to the West and NATO, a danger to the World, a trader, backstabber, bad for Turkey, and even bad for women. He has been accused of promoting homophobia and radical Islamist stances. He has been accused of locking up lots of journalists and spying on dissenters. And, his actions and words have not always helped him get out of trouble. In fact, recently, he has turned the Hagia Sophia, from a museum to a mosque, against the wishes of the Holy See and the World Council of Churches. And Turkey is currently alleged to have the second most amount of jailed journalists out of any country. He has also been accused of transforming Turkey into a neo-Ottoman Empire like state, increasing Turkish nationalism.

In other words, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been given lots of criticism, whether fair or unfair, for turning Turkey into what many see as a more conservative Muslim state at the expense of minority religious groups, as well as a state more hostile to other minority groups, with a more authoritarian lean, who often has made NATO and the West weaker by siding with other groups and supporting other groups against the wishes of NATO.

Sort of like Pakistan, many in the West have questioned why the USA and its allies still support Turkey, especially after Turkey has grown more against Israel, more hostile to Greece, and basically coerced the USA to abandon their Kurdish allies in Syria, and are continuing to try and coerce the USA to stop supporting the Kurds anywhere. Furthermore, when the Taliban took over most of Afghanistan, Turkey seemed to be welcoming to the idea.

Turkey is in the mists of buying Russian missile defense systems and other military weapons and planes as this is written while President Erdoğan is accusing US President Biden of arming and supporting the Kurdish terrorist groups in Turkey. The USA denies this and further has said that they only support Kurdish movements in places like Syria and Iraq (presumably in IR Iran too), but not in Turkey. There are radical Kurdish terrorists in Turkey, hence why President Erdoğan is upset.

And, Turkey was also rumored to be helping the Taliban with the restarting up of Kubul’s main international airport. With the Taliban’s hardline Islamist stances, it has been thought that Turkey may align with them, especially since Turkey has been criticizing the USA in Afghanistan for sometime now, in terms of how they have led there.

However, in a recent “Face the Nation” interview, President Erdoğan has spoken out against the Taliban’s current state of affairs. President Erdoğan has stated that Turkey will not recognize the Taliban so long as it is not inclusive to the other ethnic groups, continues to be brutal to its enemies, and does not allow women to be present in all aspects of life.

These are two quotes by President Erdoğan in CBS News’s “Face the Nation” from 26 September 2021: “The government in Afghanistan is not inclusive, is not embracing all different factions. So long as that will be the question we won’t be present in Afghanistan, but if the government shall be more inclusive, we can be there, present, as Turkey.” “Our views would apply to Afghanistan as well as we would expect all women to be involved in every aspect of life in Afghanistan in a very active way. And whenever women become more active in every aspect of life, we can support them.”

Furthermore, President Erdoğan has stated that it is Qatar who is currently helping the Taliban with their airport. And, with regards to the buy of Russian defense systems, President Erdoğan has simply stated that he is doing this to protect Turkey, because he believes, or states, that the USA did not follow through on its promise to deliver Turkey a special type of plane, and that NATO should not be trying to force their member nations to be weaker by claiming that some technology and weapons are too dangerous for their member countries. Henceforth, President Erdoğan has gone to Russia to get what he believes will strengthen Turkey.

While these words may be lies from President Erdoğan, it at least shows that he wants to portray his country in a way that supports what his allies in NATO want. And if his words are true, it may signal that Turkey is once again a reliable partner in NATO.

Sure, Turkey may disagree with the Kurdish support, and they may disagree on some other issues, but if these issues are minimized, then Turkey can still be a reliable partner in the countless other endeavors of NATO.

At a time when the European Union is calling for its own military, separate from NATO, the USA should really seek some support in Europe, which Turkey can bring. And, Turkey also is good for being in Western Asia.

The only issues for the USA would be that Turkey could join the European Union (EU) with better actions, and this would most likely weaken the Turkish NATO alliance if the EU does get its own military, and would weaken the EU in terms of its European values, or Turkey could use its new found strength to bully the USA around into giving into their demands, considering that Turkey wants to control more of Turkish Straits that connect the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. And, due to Turkey’s closeness with so many important areas for world peace, and control of the world, it is important for the USA not to allow Turkey to become so powerful that it puts the USA under its wing for foreign policy in the region. Rather, the USA needs to stay powerful enough to control some of Turkey’s more radical actions.

In conclusion, Turkey not supporting the Taliban’s ultra-traditional laws and society will help put pressure on them to open up and not be as repressive or authoritarian, which should help out Afghanistan. And, by doing this, it signals that that Turkey is not as extreme as previously feared, and it shows that Turkey is still willing to standup against values counter to NATO, giving the USA greater reassurance that Turkey can remain an ally, at least on some things, into the future.

NCAA FBS Top 25 after Week 4:

  1. Alabama 4-0 SEC
  2. Georgia 4-0 SEC
  3. Oregon 4-0 Pac-12
  4. Iowa 4-0 Big Ten
  5. Oklahoma 4-0 Big 12
  6. Penn State 4-0 Big Ten
  7. Notre Dame 4-0 Independent
  8. Cincinnati 3-0 AAC
  9. Ole Miss 3-0 SEC
  10. Arkansas 4-0 SEC
  11. Michigan 4-0 Big Ten
  12. Florida 3-1 SEC
  13. BYU 4-0 Independent
  14. Frenso State 4-1 Mountain West
  15. Michigan State 4-0 Big Ten
  16. Ohio State 3-1 Big Ten
  17. Auburn 3-1 SEC
  18. Texas A&M 3-1 SEC
  19. Coastal Carolina 4-0 Sun Belt
  20. San Diego State 4-0 Mountain West
  21. UCLA 3-1 Pac-12
  22. Oklahoma State 4-0 Big 12
  23. SMU 4-0 AAC
  24. Wake Forest 4-0 ACC
  25. Baylor 4-0 Big 12

Next 5:

  • Boston College 4-0 ACC
  • NC State 3-1 ACC
  • UTSA 4-0 C-USA
  • Kentucky 4-0 SEC
  • Arizona State 3-1 Pac-12

SEC West: Alabama 4-0

SEC East: Georgia 4-0

Big Ten East: Penn State 4-0

Big Ten West: Iowa 4-0

Big 12: Oklahoma 4-0

Pac-12 North: Oregon 4-0

Pac-12 South: UCLA 3-1

Independents: Notre Dame 4-0

Mountain West West: Fresno State 4-1

Mountain West Mountain: Wyoming 4-0

AAC: Cincinnati 3-0

ACC Atlantic: Wake Forest 4-0

ACC Coastal: Pittsburgh 3-1

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 4-0

Sun Belt West: Louisiana Lafayette 3-1

C-USA West: UTSA 4-0

C-USA East: Charlotte 3-1

MAC West: Eastern Michigan 3-1

MAC East: Bowling Green 2-2

Best matchups next week:

Overall: #8 Cincinnati (3-0) at #7 Notre Dame (4-0)

In Conference:

SEC: #9 Ole Miss (3-0) at #1 Alabama (4-0)

Big Ten: #4 Iowa (4-0) at Maryland (4-0)

Big 12: #25 Baylor (4-0) at #22 Oklahoma State (4-0)

Pac-12: Arizona State (3-1) at #21 UCLA (3-1)

Independents: No Independent verse Independent game this week

Mountain West: Nevada (2-1) at Boise State (2-2)

AAC: Memphis (3-1) at Temple (2-2)

ACC: Louisville (3-1) at #24 Wake Forest (4-0)

Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette (3-1) at South Alabama (3-0)

C-USA: Marshall (2-2) at Middle Tennessee (1-3)

MAC: Western Michigan (3-1) at Buffalo (2-2)

PM Johnson’s Climate Change Speech is a Tad Bit Worrying

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a brilliant person and someone who at least in the past, was not afraid to go against “popular demand”, or in other words, was not afraid to speak the truth that most people felt, but which was silenced from mainstream, the establishment. However, PM Johnson’s speech on climate change at the UN General Assembly and his recent actions are a bit worrying. I whole heartedly am in support of the reduction in pollution and in trying to mitigate or promote anything that helps out humanity. But, it is a fine line between supporting the eradication of industries and supporting a greener world. Like in the Northwest of Europe this year, too much of the time, our scientific establishment is focused on future causes so far away, instead of focusing on and diverting money to things like flood protection. Climate change seems to be an excuse for inadequate prevention and mitigation to various natural disasters, as well as a very convenient method of seemingly moving money around to institutions paid to find the very evidence that supports this circular relationship, with little accountability. It almost seems like a protection racket, in that the people that are being paid to protect are simply exaggerating the danger because without them, no one would really bat an eye. Of course, this is not fully true, but it is partly true, which is why a push back is often needed to maintain some semblance of a sane society.

Yet, PM Johnson has seemed to have an epiphany that somehow, this pandemic has brought more legitimacy to this “scientific community”, which is of course sort of silly since both of these communities are on very different topics in the sciences. One is for our own bodies while one is more for our planet. Not that they are not connected, rather, more that the legitimacy of one should not necessarily create new found legitimacy for the other. In fact, the very nature of trying to present a one policy fits all in terms of listening to this collective group is merely a politicization of the topics in the first place. And, often times, the formalization of these policies often comes at the cost of ignoring other scientists and labeling them as dissenters or doing other things that affect their careers, hence why scientific community is in parentheses because it is often a certain group within the community which is listened to.

Unlike, PM Johnson, I think if anything, this pandemic has showed that not only do we need to be more skeptical of our “scientific establishment”, but also more suspicious of them as well. It is strange that the very people who flip-flopped on all sorts of policies can never be wrong or questioned, when by result of their flip-flopping they have effectively questioned themselves and admitted to being wrong, and how this certain establishment is once again getting tons of money and tons of control from a very exaggerated (***to the extent to which they say) pandemic with little to no accountability. They have effectively banned certain treatments that might have worked and did work for many people, under the guise of they were not proven yet to be safe, while subscribing methods which themselves were not proven safe yet, but somehow whose investors and owners shared connections with the people creating these very policies. What is most strange, is how while the scientists themselves do not often change from one part of the accepted community to the next, it is often the same cheerleaders and investors there, suggesting it is more like a political party than an actual objective group. And, their remedies always seem to suggest rapid change and more control that often results in the undermining of sovereignty and competitiveness in comparison to others which often increase in both (i.e. Paris Climate Agreement).

There are very few things in this world which can directly cause anything on a legal basis, let alone in fact. One such example is how killing a person will end a life. Making killing illegal at least will remove the legal possibility of this happening, but not that it actually can. But, when it comes to most policies, all it is is an extent based measure even on the de jure side (legal side). There is no policy which can directly reduce or increase COVID deaths or cases both in reality and if all people followed the rules. And, likewise, there is no policy that can truly directly increase or decrease Earth’s temperature. Rather, there are policies more or less likely to do either. This does not mean we do not try to improve our various situations, but when a policy can only be indirectly helpful, one must look at if the remedies are better or worse. Unlike with killing a person, going outside and shaking a hand (unless covered with some sort of poison…be careful of Russian spies…) is not comparable to stabbing someone in the heart.

For COVID, creating policies which appeared to be highly politicized to the point that massive protests with people side by side were okay, but going to Church was not, while also shutting down numerous of businesses which created more poverty and combine this with the isolation effects of a lock down and how suicides and mental health issues have been on the rise, with the added cost of how most of the world’s aid has been decreased, largely due to the fact there is less money to go around, all while money and control has seemingly gone to the people preaching most about the harms of this pandemic and creating these policies and remedies, seems like a near perfect example of when a remedy might be worse, and not just worse, but very corrupted. It is not to suggest to not listen to the experts. Rather, all of this is to simply suggest that there needs to be more dialogue and more counter-appeals within these committees and industries so that public policy makers and other bureaucrats do not simply rule with an iron fist. There has to be rules, but there has to be more debate and more openness and transparency in order to create these very rules. Plus, it is not very sciencey to shut down debate or decide that a virus is very progressive and will understand that people are in crowded locations for a protest and will not attack.

With regards to the climate specifically, one must figure out the correct policies and the remedies for this solution, and if anything is at all possible. Frankly, there should even be more discussions on the validity of some of these claims. Because, spending so much money on having a group of people paid to find information that fits a specific narrative to tell us why and what is to happen, seems less effective than to pay people who can find a way to mitigate and work within these existing problems. It is not to suggest this other group should not be funded, rather it is to suggest that the latter group should get more funding than they do now, or simply most of the funding period. In other words, instead of spending most of our energy and money on trying to convince the populace that climate Armageddon is upon us, maybe more focus should go on building better damns, dikes, levees, and other flood protection systems.

If PM Johnson is entertaining a Green New Deal like plan, it must be met with pushback, and if discussed and corrected and agreed upon, maybe then, implemented. But, the idea that any pushback to climate policies is somehow childish, or any resentment of an idea which would destroy many people’s livelihoods is somehow more dangerous than one not even likely to improve upon the situation at hand, seems highly corrupted.

But, if PM Johnson is simply stating that we need to find ways to fight humanity’s worse problems ahead that are likely to come, then, that makes sense. For example, aquaculture and vertical farming could be keys. Cloud seeding is another technique. Better water infrastructure like the Netherlands could be key. There is a reason the Dutch suffered much less than the Germans or Belgians and it is because they were focused on the main matter at hand.

Places like California and Australia have used climate change so much with regards to fires, while conveniently leaving out how arsonists or how extremely poor fire mismanagement is often a main cause of these fires. Yet, this does not mean that we should not fund or listen to our establishment. It just means that we should not be blindly led by them like by God. They are people. Instead of a Governor suggesting there is nothing he can do unless we all suddenly decide to stop driving gas powered cars, maybe he could instead not cut the budget on clearing under brush and thin forests that would decrease the amount of fuel buildup. Not holding these politicians and the establishments, which support them and they support, accountable actually does lead to more deaths and more livelihoods lost as fires have greatly increased in both jurisdictions mentioned in the paragraph, largely due to mismanagement. So, in fact, not questioning and not pushing back would most likely just lead to more issues, not less.

There are so many merits to be had for an all powerful ruler, boss, bureaucracy, etcetera. If the specific scientists that have been given the chance to formulate policies on this very topic are correct, then yes, it might be best to follow through without any debate or any pushback. The unfortunate thing, however, is that without these debates, without any pushback or counter points, this could also produce highly disastrous effects. Each interest group always feels they are most important. The Military must be listened to or else an enemy will attack that minute. The business owners must be listened to or else there will be less efficiency and jobs and the economy will no longer work and people will be poor. The labor rights people must be listened to or we will go back to slave like wages and hours. The health officials must be listened to or else we will all die. But, if no one ever pushes back to any of these demands, we would never have anything as we would have given up everything from our privacy to our lives away from work to our ability to drive a car or cook food. There has to be a balance. And in the environmental debate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party were a balancing factor in that debate. Without them, there may be little to no pushback against any radical policy that could come our way. And that is why it is worrying, because who knows, will air planes be flying, will stoves be firing, will cars be driving? We must remember that even with the environmental damages, humanity has greatly improved due to the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, policies must be balanced and work for the common good, and some of these policies simply would eliminate too much of our livelihoods and may be dangerous too, not just possibly of waste of time and resources that could go to fighting the crisis at hand. After all, we have survived this long from adapting.

So, in conclusion, no, you do not have to put on a tin foil hat or simply never follow any guidelines, rather, you also should not just blindly follow any policy that is put out there, because after all, a policy, no matter where it comes from, is still a policy that could be wrong, corrupted, manipulative, and counter-productive. Not only this, but it could also be far worse, leading to more problems.

A Midseason NBA Cup Will Spice up the Regular Season

Recently, there have been proposal to create a midseason cup competition for the NBA which would feature all 30 teams divided into their division as groups. Each team would play each other once in the group stage, meaning that there would be a total of 4 group games. The top 2 teams in each divisional group, plus the next best 2 teams (various tie breakers could be used), would qualify for the conference quarterfinals in various seeds. The knockout rounds would be single-elimination and bracketed!

There are many details that need to be worked out. For one, supposedly, they will not add games to the season, at least not in the group stage, so there will be a 78 game regular season. Maybe, these 4 group games will count for both the regular season, making it 82 games again, or maybe not. Most likely, they will, meaning that the knockout rounds will only add 4 games to the NBA season.

Secondly, how will the tiebreakers, seeds, and home court advantage be settled? Well, there are a few ways to do this. One, you could seed teams by their overall number of points and then go to point differential. Points would be like FIBA, 2 for a win and 1 for a loss. Or, they could do like what Volleyball essentially does, or international ice hockey does, 3 points for a win, 2 points for an overtime win, 1 point for an overtime loss, and 0 points for a loss. Or, they could just have the regular record standings. As for point differential, it would just be the overall number of points scored minus the overall number of points given up. There also could be head to head tiebreakers, and this is most likely. So, for example, 2 teams finish 3-1, then whoever won the game between the two teams is first. This is how FIBA does it. Frankly, they should just go with FIBA standing system as it is already in place, or the NBA tiebreakers in place. Secondly, for the conference 7 and 8 seeds, it could either be handed out to the best third place teams using one of these standings formats, or it could be given out to the best two regular season teams not qualified for the knockout round, or something like that. Three, there how would the 1-6 seeding work. Well, again, you could use one of the standing formats to decide this, or you could do like head to head games that NBA season, so far, to decide it. Or, you could simply just have a randomized draw like a draft lottery, whereby each of the first place teams will either get the 1 seed, 2 seed, or 3 seed, and each of the second place teams will either get the 4 seed, 5 seed, or 6 seed. Maybe there could be a further rule where the two teams in the same division cannot play each other first round of this cup knockout round. And, finally, the home court advantage would just be the same as the NBA playoffs, where the better seed is the home team. Maybe they could have the NBA Cup Final at the better seeded teams arena, or maybe, they could give the Final to a city without a NBA team, like Kansas City, Seattle, Las Vegas, Anchorage, Albuquerque, Boise, Anaheim, Montreal, Vancouver, San Jose, San Diego, Honolulu, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and others. And, who knows, maybe they can do this for the group stage games or all the knockout rounds. It could be like a mini-NCAA Tournament where there are regions that host each round. I sort of prefer this setup. However, most likely, only the NBA knockout rounds will have this neutral site atmosphere, because the group stage games will most likely still count toward the NBA season and therefore, teams should be able to have their allotted home games against an opponent.

Here would be a mock tournament, and for this, I will be using FIBA tie breaking rules (with over time wins leaving you with +0 point differential because you were tied at end of regulation), regional non-NBA knockout round cities, but with the group stage being hosted by the teams’ respected arenas, and the 7th and 8th seeds going to the next best third place teams using the two best 3rd place teams in that season’s NBA standings thus far. The overall seedings will also use overall NBA records at the time for tiebreaker among the first place teams, and then second place teams, and then third place teams.

NBA West-Pacific:

  1. Los Angeles Clippers 3-1
  2. Los Angeles Lakers 3-1
  3. Phoenix Suns 2-2
  4. Golden State Warriors 1-3
  5. Sacramento Kings 1-3

NBA West-Northwest

  1. Portland Trailblazers 4-0
  2. Denver Nuggets 3-1
  3. Utah Jazz 2-2
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder 1-3
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves 0-4

NBA West-Southwest:

  1. Dallas Mavericks 3-1
  2. San Antonio Spurs 3-1
  3. Houston Rockets 3-1
  4. Memphis Grizzlies 1-3
  5. New Orleans Pelicans 0-4

NBA East-Atlantic:

  1. Toronto Raptors 4-0
  2. Brooklyn Nets 2-2
  3. Boston Celtics 2-2
  4. New York Knicks 1-3
  5. Philadelphia 76’ers 1-3

NBA East-Central:

  1. Milwaukee Bucks 4-0
  2. Chicago Bulls 2-2
  3. Indiana Pacers 2-2
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers 1-3
  5. Detroit Pistons 1-3

NBA East-Southeast:

  1. Miami Heat 3-1
  2. Atlanta Hawks 3-1
  3. Washington Wizards 2-2
  4. Orlando Magic 1-3
  5. Charlotte Hornets 1-3

NBA West First Place Tiebreaker (Current NBA Record):

  1. Los Angeles Clippers 42-13
  2. Dallas Mavericks 39-16
  3. Portland Trailblazers 35-20

NBA West Second Place Tiebreaker (Current NBA Record):

  1. Denver Nuggets 45-10 (4th)
  2. Los Angeles Lakers 40-15 (5th)
  3. San Antonio Spurs 25-30 (6th)

NBA West Third Place Tiebreaker (Current NBA Record):

  1. Phoenix Suns 41-14 (7th)
  2. Utah Jazz 37-18 (8th)
  3. Houston Rockets 31-24

NBA East First Place Tiebreaker (Current NBA Record):

  1. Milwaukee Bucks 48-7
  2. Miami Heat 38-17
  3. Toronto Raptors 32-23

NBA East Second Place Tiebreaker (Current NBA Record):

  1. Brooklyn Nets 50-5 (4th)
  2. Chicago Bulls 33-22 (5th)
  3. Atlanta Hawks 27-28 (6th)

NBA East Third Place Tiebreaker (Current NBA Record):

  1. Boston Celtics 40-15 (7th)
  2. Indiana Pacers 28-27 (8th)
  3. Washington Wizards 20-35

NBA West First Round:

1. Los Angeles Clippers 121 vs 8. Utah Jazz 113 @ Pechanga Arena, San Diego

4. Denver Nuggets 105 vs 5. Los Angeles Lakers 109 @ Arena Auditorium, Laramie

3. Portland Trailblazers 121 vs 6. San Antonio Spurs 119 @ Climate Pedge Arena, Seattle

2. Dallas Mavericks 106 vs 7. Phoenix Suns 107 @T-Mobile Center, Kansas City

NBA East First Round:

1. Milwaukee Bucks 145 vs 8. Indiana Pacers 117 @ Resch Center, Ashwaubenon

4. Brooklyn Nets 143 vs 5. Chicago Bulls 110 @ Prudential Center, Newark

3. Toronto Raptors 130 vs 6. Atlanta Hawks 126 @ Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa

2. Miami Heat 119 vs 7. Boston Celtics 121 @ Amalie Arena, Tampa Bay

NBA West Second Round:

1. Los Angeles Clippers 135 vs 5. Los Angeles Lakees 131 @ Honda Center, Anaheim

3. Portland Trailblazees 115 vs 7. Phoenix Suns 123 @ Rogers Arena, Vancouver

NBA East Second Round:

1. Milwaukee Bucks 106 vs 4. Brooklyn Nets 114 @ Canada Life Centre, Winnipeg

3. Toronto Raptors 121 vs 7. Boston Celtics 117 @ Vidéotron Centre, Quebec City

NBA Cup West Final:

1. Los Angeles Clippers 123 vs 7. Phoenix Suns 107 @ T-Mobile Center, Las Vegas

3. Toronto Raptors 114 vs 4 Brooklyn Nets 119 @ Bell Centre, Montreal

NBA Cup Final:

1. Los Angeles Clippers 145 vs 4 Brooklyn Nets 144 @ Stan Sherrif Center, Honolulu

This would allow for teams to win an extra trophy and for teams that are having a bad season to continue to try and get better so that they might win the NBA Cup. There is a rumored prize of 1 million dollars.

Having a single-elimination knockout format would make it super exciting, as every game would be a Game 7. Furthermore, an idea of playing games in cities that do not have NBA teams, at least in the knockout rounds, would be really cool to grow the sport. The host for each knockout game could rotate around various cities in the USA and Canada, to give more places a chance to watch competitive NBA basketball.

Considering that a lot of fans can find the NBA games toward the middle of the season as redundant and not watch, this addiction would greatly enhance the fan experience. And, considering how daunting it is to win a NBA Final, the NBA Cup would greatly increase the ability of teams without a NBA Championship, or with a very small amount of NBA Championships, to compete for another trophy.

They have these style of tournaments in many other countries for a lot of different sports, including basketball. And, while winning the NBA Finals would stay the primary objective of any NBA team, the NBA Cup Final will now be an extra opportunity to win a tournament. This allows for multiple top tier trophies, something most North American sports do not have besides mainly professional soccer. I would also be interested in if this NBA Cup could include NBA G-League teams, or other minor leagues including the NBL in Canada.

NCAA FBS Division 1 Top 25 Rankings:

1. Alabama 3-0 SEC

2. Georgia 3-0 SEC

3. Penn State 3-0 Big Ten

4. Iowa 3-0 Big Ten

5. Oregon 3-0 Pac-12

6. Texas A&M 3-0 SEC

7. Ole Miss 3-0 SEC

8. Oklahoma 3-0 Big 12

9. Cincinnati 3-0 AAC

10. Michigan 3-0 Big Ten

11. Notre Dame 3-0 Independents

12. Michigan State 3-0 Big Ten

13. Ohio State 2-1 Big Ten

14. Clemson 2-1 ACC

15. Fresno State 3-1 Mountain West

16. BYU 3-0 Independents

17. Florida 2-1 SEC

18. Auburn 2-1 SEC

19. Coastal Carolina 3-0 Sun Belt

20. San Diego State 3-0 Mountain West

21. Kansas State 3-0 Big 12

22. Arkansas 3-0 SEC

23. UCLA 2-1 Pac-12

24. North Carolina 2-1 ACC

25. Wake Forrest 3-0 ACC

Next 5:

Rutgers 3-0 Big Ten

Maryland 3-0 Big Ten

UTSA 3-0 C-USA

Kentucky 3-0 SEC

Wisconsin 1-1 Big Ten

SEC West: Alabama 3-0

SEC East: Georgia 3-0

Big Ten West: Iowa 3-0

Big Ten East: Penn State 3-0

Mountain West West: Fresno State 3-1

Mountain West Mountain: Wyoming 3-0

Independents: Notre Dame 3-0

Pac-12 South: UCLA 2-1

Pac-12 North: Oregon 3-0

ACC Atlantic: Clemson 2-1

ACC Coastal: North Carolina 2-1

Big 12: Oklahoma 3-0

C-USA West: UTSA 3-0

C-USA East: Marshall 2-1

Sun Belt Group A: Coastal Carolina 3-0

Sun Belt Group B: South Alabama 3-0

MAC West: Western Michigan 2-1

MAC East: Kent State 1-2

Why the UK’s return to the Imperial System is vital to national interest, sovereignty, and the Anglosphere

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a plan earlier this year to return the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to an Imperial state, well, an Imperial Units state.

This is good news for Brexiteers as part of the yearning for Brexit was to return the UK back to its measuring system. Believe it or not, it is actually very important for international relations as to who controls systems of measurements, and this will increase the Anglophone sphere, while decreasing France’s influence. For example, we all get our time from the United Kingdom (GMT/UTC), and most of the world gets their measurements from France (Metric/SI units).

Former British colonies and other English speaking countries should really follow the UK’s return to Imperial Units. The Imperial units and similar units like the US Customary units (which predate it and are both descended from English Units), were once the major units worldwide, as they were the units of the world’s greatest empire for sometime. These countries have a very good history of industrial growth with these units, and as seen in the USA, uses of these units does not hold your country back in science or math as the USA has achieved the greatest feats in these, while many other countries that have gone solely metric have only come at most in second place. Part of the reason for this is that Americans based in construction or the sciences and mathematics industries need to be experts in both their US units and Metric/SI units, plus other measuring systems, making their minds better at deciphering among measurements. In fact, in many industries in the USA, Canada, and the UK, workers have been continuing to use both depending on the situation, as both units can be more useful in various situations. In fact, Imperial and US Customary units are far better in many measurements. And, these units are even preferred in a lot of cases too. Who wants to be 1.83 meters? Why not say 6 feet? And, look at the temperature! Fahrenheit allows for greater description and more exactness in terms of weather than does Celsius (exactness at the point of not having to go into decimals).

When the USA was a part of Great Britain, the USA used English Units, which were the most popular form, but not the only form of units used in Great Britain at the time. Once the USA left, they would eventually modify it a little to US Customary units. In 1823, Great Britain created their Imperial Units to make official across the British Empire to help with trade and such, and was very similar to both English and US Customary units, but was slightly different on various measurements as it sought to combine other unit systems into the primary English Units. Eventually, in the 1950s and 1960s, officials would make the Imperial Units and US Customary units even more similar, as they would become the exact same on many measurements.

Yet, international organizations and an increasing anti-nationalistic academic establishment across the English speaking world has sought a move to the Metric/SI Units system, and away from Imperial Units or US Customary units.

See, this return to Imperial Units fights internationalism that seeks to destroy any form or sovereignty, nationalism, or regionalism. Organizations like the EU and UN and various bureaucrats in many countries has sought to change the traditional measuring systems in many countries, sometimes by making the Metric/SI Units the more prominent measuring system on a side by side or sole basis, or by eradicating the use of legally using the traditional systems at stores and other forms of industries. Breaking rules might even get you thrown in jail, and are generally guaranteed to give you large fines and/or other penalties. And while I agree that there should be unifying units in each country, and while I agree they all should be convertible to a worldwide measuring lingua franca if you will of measuring systems, I do not think that within countries, it is smart to regulate how they measure, or even within some regions of countries. It would be like asking each country to be able to translate their language into English, which is reasonable, versus asking each country to get rid of their language, or place it secondary to English, which is highly unreasonable.

These international organizations fail to see that this can often be detrimental to them. The world needs to exist within compromises as people need to have their own culture. There cannot just be one culture and set of rules, as that would have to be forced onto people creating a situation for radical nationalism to spur out like with World War One or the Yugoslav wars. Like a parent, the global community has to allow some leeway and individualism, while also keeping some conformity and unifying rules. The Metric system can provide the international standard for now, while the Imperial units and the almost completely same US units can be the standard for the UK and the USA, and possibly other English speaking countries. In fact, it has been this imposition of the metric system which its proponents have insisted on eradicating previous systems of measurement, and in some places, that has led to great pushback against these very Metric system propents. In fact, the Metric system has sort of had an unholy alliance with socialism and radical French revolutionatarianism of a one world-order that quashes any wrong think like religion, sovereignty, nationalism, and individualism (de facto). These metric proponents have sought to uproot many nations’ traditional and sometimes ancient measurements that were a sense of national pride and identity in order to create a more international identity in often inquisition-like policies.

In fact, the main reason for Brexit was that the EU had become too much of a federated like state, forcing too many rules and legislation on the various nations a part of it, quashing their individual identity and spurring ethnic tensions that have been exploited by Russia and others to decrease the power of the West by splitting up such unions and alliances. Many political theorists fail to understand that anti-nationalism often leads to extreme nationalism. It is one thing to be non-nationalistic, but to diminish and demean various national traditions, to become anti a nation, especially your own, and actively work to eliminate national traditions from the public sphere, that breeds a lot of hate and forces people to become very nationalistic. It is ironic that political theorists do not see this, when they often do not treat actions as the start of a problem, rather treating circumstances as the problem. Instead of analyzing things like how the inability of the United Kingdom as well as the Republic of Ireland to control what type of units it wants to have within its borders has forced the UK to question leaving, they believe it all has to do with racist people not wanting immigration. And, this is a major issue with analyzing as it pushed many in the UK to have even more separatist beliefs from the EU, because they did not address the attacks on British nationalism, and they also called any supporters of the movement to leave racists, thus insulting many people on two accounts. In fact, one of the big rallying calls to leave came in the early 2000s after Steve Thoburn, a British grocer, was convicted of measuring fruits and vegetables in pounds and ounces instead of kilograms by Sunderland, and this decision was upheld in District Courts, and refused to be heard in the House of Lords or in the European Court of Human Rights in 2004. This was all because Steve Thobrun had used a measuring device that could only measure in Imperial Units. He would die soon after the European Court of Human Rights refused to hear his plea. The Imperial Units could be used only as a supplemental measurement, and all items had to be sold in Metric units, but not in Imperial Units. And, in 2007, the European Commission would rule that Ireland and the UK could still use the Imperial Units for things that required the Metric Units, if they used both, but could only just use the Metric system. Even with this ruling, it was sort of a slap in the face that the European Commission was practically telling the UK what they could do, as if a sovereign entity needed permission. This is where the EU lost its ways, amongst many others, because instead of just being a free trading confederation, it started to become a legislative union like the USA.

So, what will the return to Imperial Units do then?

Well, besides making Brexiteers feel like another promise kept of Brexit, this would greatly improve the UK’s influence worldwide, and since the 1960s restructuring of the US and Imperial units to make them more similar, this should mean that the USA’s influence worldwide becomes more too. In fact, since the USA has kept up the standard, it would behoove the USA to try and force the UK to allow the USA to become the official home to the combined measuring system, or if made the complete same, just the measuring system. If the UK were to allow the USA to be the home of the units, it would suggest that the UK merely seeks a more Anglophone-like partnership with their US counterparts, and hopefully, their former Empire counterparts worldwide. However, if the UK seeks to control the measurements themselves, it may signal a yearn for a return to global domination.

It may seem minor, but the fact that the French possess the exact meter and things like that make them more influential in the measuring sphere. And it is a slow quash of British and American ideals every time the Metric system quashes down on the use of Imperial or US Units. It is a gradual momentous takeover of traditional values, and these encroachments happen little by little until they become a lot! With so much negativity toward both countries coming from within, a strengthening of these units would go a long way in restoring national pride.

While I do prefer the ability to know both measurements, and thus, meaning that labeling should really be in both measurements, it would be interesting to see if other English-speaking countries join in to return the Imperial Units to their primary measuring system, as that may signal Imperial/US Customary Units becoming the main measuring system world-wide, much like how British/American English has become the world’s lingua franca replacing French. Either way, whether they replace them or stay side by side, there are ways to convert the two so people should be fine.

No matter how much the Metric lobby tries to rid the world of their traditional units, most countries continue to measure, whether side by side with the Metric system or unofficially, in their own traditional units. And, while it is good to have world unity, it must not come at a price that suppresses all forms of individual and national identity. It must embrace coexistence. After all, it is a community of nations, a united nations, not an all-imposing empire.

President Biden and Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, are proving to be tough on the People’s Republic of China now

One of the many big worries about President Biden having been elected is how he would handle the People’s Republic of China (PRC). While under the President Obama Administration, the USA saw the PRC overtake the USA on many economic statistics, and saw the PRC take over a lot of the South China Sea, thus strengthening their military and resource capabilities. With President Trump however, the PRC was suffering greatly from his trade tariffs and thus the PRC and their Communist Party of China (CCP) rulers sought a President Biden election, trying to influence the election in any way they could, as the USA once again returned to the top of most economic rankings and their military vastly improved and the PRC was losing momentum in the South China Sea. Plus, President Trump’s creating of the Space Force improved the capabilities of defending US satellites and infrastructure in space from the PRC.

And, with the corruption allegations coming out against President Biden, such as him and his son potentially making millions of dollars from the CCP (indirectly through business deals) for favors and greater influence and connections within the USA, it led many to think that President Biden would allow the PRC to walk all over the USA. And, then, the whole Afghanistan tabacle where the PRC’s new allies (for now), the Taliban, successfully took over most of Afghanistan, potentially transitioning Pakistan and Afghanistan to PRC suzerainty under their new alliance of states and groups who do not follow international law, made many to think that their worries were fully realized. And to their credit, they were in this example. However, there have been very bright developments as of late in the battle against CCP supremacy around the world led by the President Biden Administration.

This week, the USA, the United Kingdom (UK), and Australia just entered into a submarine deal for nuclear-powered submarines that would not only give Australia nuclear-powered submarines, but will also allow the three countries to share information on this so all three can keep the PRC in check from trying to take more of the South China Sea. Australia will become the seventh country with nuclear-powered submarines with this deal. Australia will move from diesel powered submarines with this deal too. This will allow Australia to spend more time under the sea (up to 5 months under water), while also being more quiet and less detectable.

President Biden is very adamant about this, stating “the future of each of our nations and indeed the world, depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific.” Currently, the South China Sea is split between the PRC, Vietnam, the Republic of China/Taiwan/Chinese Taipei (ROC), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Thailand. The disputed areas include the Spratly Islands (PRC, ROC, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines), the Paracel Islands (PRC, ROC, and Vietnam), areas within the Gulf of Thailand (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia), areas within both the Strait of Johore and the Strait of Singapore (Singapore and Malaysia), Scarborough Shoal (PRC, ROC, and Philippines), and water areas northeast of the Natuna Islands (PRC, ROC, and Indonesia). Now, it must be noted some of these disputes, like the Spratly Islands, does not mean each of these countries within the dispute dispute all the same islands. Nonetheless, this is a very important body of water for not just these countries, but for the whole world as President Biden stated, as it is the second most used sea lane in the world, and has lots of natural resources like oil for example. One-third of all maritime shipping (around 3 trillion US Dollars) and all marine biodiversity can be found in the South China Sea. And, it is a vitally important for the fishing industry and thus the food industry for the countries that surround it. This has led to fishing bans by the various countries in the region.

Each country has a certain amount of water that is considered their own sovereign territory (12 nautical miles in most cases) and a certain amount of water they have the sovereign right for the exploitation of resources and control over islands and such (exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles in most cases), but this extent of water while usually a certain amount applied universally, can often be decreased when the there are other countries close within the proximity of this area, and thus compromises must be made. Once one gets outside of the territorial waters, it is considered international waters, but really, it is once one gets outside of the exclusive economic zones. This is why the claims in the South China Sea are so vital, because it allows these countries to extend their own territory, increasing their power and wealth. And, this has led to a lot of the countries trying to exploit resources that may not even belong to them, in other words, stealing. The PRC has been doing this a lot. And, furthermore, the PRC has been reclaiming land and building islands in order to add to territorial waters (which surround islands to the same rules), which has destroyed lots of the biodiversity and sea life, as well as claiming other islands. They have built military bases even, and also have started to drill for oil in various places. The ROC and others like Vietnam have also attempted to extract resources from the area and have settled on islands as well. Even India has become a player in this battle of waters as they have partnered with Vietnam to extract oil and other resources for themselves via state owned companies like ONCG. And, it is interesting to note that in this dispute, the ROC and PRC see eye to eye sort of, because they both claim almost all of the total area (and the same area), but they just disagree on which one is the true China as both claim the other and neither recognize each other.

Therefore, this Aukus agreement by Australia, the UK, and the USA seeks to really establish the rule of law, and not just the rule of law, but also to contain the PRC from becoming too powerful, and taking over neighboring territories or whole countries like the ROC. Part of the reason the PRC has not been able to take over more of the world is that they not only have barely enough resources for all of their own people, but they also have to deal with disputes close to them and powerful countries close to them. But, if they get too comfortable or the threats are no longer there, they may start to extend even more influence around the world, and possibly not just influence, but maybe territory too as we saw with Japan in the 1930s and the 1940s. This would also increase their power and ability to coerce countries into various positions, as they already do with their One Chine Policy (where countries cannot have official relations with the ROC and the PRC). And, while most countries around the world are for the containing of the PRC influence and power, this has not come without controversy.

Firstly, the Aukus deal came after the Australians had already signed a 90 billion U.S. Dollar deal with a French company and France to have them remodel their submarines which were supposed to continue being diesel, and thus has upset France as they have pulled ambassadors from the countries and called it a “back-stab”. Secondly, by sharing nuclear-power technology and thus resources used for nuclear energy, there are worries that other countries may start trying to do the same, and then instead of using the nuclear resources for energy, they will either purposefully, or accidentally, find a way to make submarines or other vehicles for nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allows for countries to share nuclear power capabilities, but does not allow countries without nuclear weapons to attain nuclear weapons or those that have them to help the countries attain them that do not have them. And while other countries could have done this sooner, generally, countries do not want to get nuclear or enter into these agreements for worry that this may spur others to, so they tend to accept the status quo. And, when it came to sharing information and infrastructure on nuclear-power submarines, this is a first and thus breaks the status quo, which usually encourages other countries to break the previous status quo as they know that they can use this example as justification and thus not lessen their comparative reputation and comparative trust.

However, as important as this status quo has been to decrease potential nuclear proliferation, trying to stop the PRC militarily is still most important, because if the US and its allies stop the PRC now from conquering the rest of the South China Sea by just showing up there as security, this would mean that the PRC would have to go through the US and its allies risking retaliation and a just strike back and potentially a war, which is what all countries want to avoid most. If the US and allies do not go in however to try and keep the status quo, they would have to either accept PRC domination over the South China Sea, and most likely the PRC’s position as the number one power in a bipolarity world, or they would have to try and kick the PRC out, which would most likely create a war or at the very least a retaliation, and would be in the US and its allies least interests. It is similar to the game Risk as if the alliance enforces the international law in this area or possibly even controls the area, not only is this better while they are doing this, but if they come into confrontation with the PRC, they will have the advantage as it will be their own and the PRC would be invading.

Another example of a strong stance against the PRC has been Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken’s, now twice repeated claim of the ROC being a country. Generally, representatives try not to upset the PRC out of fear of some sort of retaliation, and therefore do not refer to the ROC as a country, at least not officially. And, while the ROC has de facto embassies in many countries including the USA, they are called by a different name usually, and the USA and ROC have agreed to change the title of their embassy in the USA now too, further angering the PRC. The name change has to do with changing the term Taipei to Taiwan that is used in the official name, which has angered the PRC because they see this as a closer move to the USA officially recognizing the ROC. And, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken did not stop there, but also had tweeted how the USA will always stand behind Hong Kong, but later deleted it maybe thinking it went too far for one week.

These are all good news for the ROC, the USA, and the World, as President Biden and his administration are now putting actions to words that they have already stated on how the USA would protect the ROC from any invasions. These actions decrease the incentive of a PRC attack on the ROC, because it signals a seriousness and preparedness from the USA, something which the USA failed to signal and failed to do to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which saw the USA and its allies fail there.

While President Biden and President Obama have not had the best track record on the defense of allies and the strengthening of the USA overseas, President Biden has at times been very good at strengthening the USA and its allies, such as when he was a Senator and called on the USA to support the UK and their claims to the Falkland Islands opposing both the Organization of American States (an international organization/confederation which the USA is a part of) and Argentina (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C9hxsRO7pI). And as president, President Biden has continued the Abraham Accords that President Trump created, albeit often refusing to call it the Abraham Accords.

Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that President Biden can be trusted to strengthening the alliance against PRC aggression, even when less concerned Americans warn against the need to do such. Yet, while this has been a good start thus far, the USA now needs to fix its relationship with France for three main reasons. One, historically and presently, France has been a key ally for the USA and both believe in strong republican principles and ideas of metropolitan identity (the idea that one can be French regardless, like the USA holds for being American, albeit applied a bit differently). Two, France is the second major player within EU affairs, and the major player in the EU for military superiority and foreign influence, and thus it is vital to keep the French close, as together, they can bring the EU with them, and without them, they may keep the EU separate creating a multi-polar world, or worse yet but highly unlikely, pushing the EU and France to the PRC’s sphere of influence. And three, the USA, UK, and Australia could really use the French in their battle to contain the PRC militarily, and it would be very detrimental if the French reduces the alliance’s ability to do this by undermining the greater alliance of NATO they all share. Already, it is highly likely the EU will create their own military apparatus that is much bigger, powerful, and centralized than their existing security and proto-military forces, in order to replace NATO and pull the EU out of effective USA suzerainty in military affairs. The EU feels strongly about this following how the USA really messed up in Afghanistan. If the EU continue to be on the USA’s side, this will not necessarily be a problem for US interests, besides the fact that the USA no longer has effective control over these countries’ armed forces, but if the EU goes a different route, it would severely worsen the USA’s ability to deter other countries from breaking international law, taking over allies, and/or fighting the USA.

The Most Untapped Potential FBS Football Team…Zot!

Located in the safest city in the USA, in the generally ranked, top county in the USA, bordering some of the nicest and most sought after cities to live in worldwide, sits the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

UCI was founded in 1965 and was named after James Irvine, founder of what would become the Irvine Company, and the first of the Irvine Family members to own the Irvine Ranch.

The Irvine Company was officially incorporated in 1894 by James Irvine II, but it was James Irvine and various partners who would buy three Californio owned Mexican and Spanish land grants/ranchos and combine these into one ranch, the Irvine Ranch.

As such, the campus of UCI sits on the Irvine Ranch, and was originally not in any incorporated city. The Irvine Company would sale 1,000 acres of land to the University of California (UC system) for $1.00 in 1960, and then would sale an additional 510 acres by 1964. UCI has gotten even bigger since then.

In 1971, the City of Irvine was incorporated to include UCI. There had been an unincorporated town called Irvine, in present-day Old Town Irvine, and this would become part of the city.

Yet, the location of UCI being in Irvine does not really tell the whole story, rather, UCI sits on the border with Newport Beach, and being in Irvine, is close to many more communities like Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Laguna Beach, and others. All of these cities are among the most sought after and wealthiest cities in the World. And why is this important? With the new NLI rules, potential UCI student-athletes would be able to benefit off of local donors and major companies. With no current FBS level university in Orange County, a UCI football team in FBS would make many of the companies eager to put UCI as Orange County’s premier athletic institution. This county already features more than 3 million people, while Irvine alone features more than 270,000, on the cusp of 300,000. Cal State Fullerton used to have FBS Football until 1992, and had planned to bring back football as an FCS level team, but never did. Long Beach State, while not in Orange County, Long Beach borders Orange County, and they also had an FBS team until 1991. However, since the 1990s, the only 4 year college football Orange County has is Chapman University and they are Division 3 program (which is still good and they have top notch facilities, but it is not FBS).

And, this location would not only be brilliant for attracting lots of money, but also would be for recruiting! Orange County boasts some of the best High School Football in the country with five of the six Trinity League schools located in Orange County, most notably Mater Dei High School, along with J Serra, Santa Margarita, Servite, and Orange Lutheran high schools. The other Trinity League School, St. John Bosco High School, is not too far away either. And this is not even taking into effect other big name schools like Mission Viejo High School, Edison High School, La Habra High School, Los Alamitos High School, and nearby Long Beach Poly High School and Corona Centennial High School. There are so many more in the greater region and in Orange County itself that would feed into UCI. Then, when looking at junior college football, Orange County boasts Orange Coast College, Saddleback College, Santa Ana College, Golden West College, and Fullerton College. When you include nearby junior colleges in Los Angeles County like Long Beach City College, LA Harbor College, El Camino College, and Cerritos College, you start to realize just how many athletes UCI can recruit from for football. And in football, having junior college transfers is very beneficial as experience, age, and size is important in football, more so than in many other sports, and thus having a plethora of players with two to possibly three years of experience at your disposal would be key to creating a successful football team from the start. Not to mention all of this, but with the transfer portal and new transfer rules, UCI’s location and potential would definitely be able to get even more ready made talent, thus bypassing the strict academic requirements to get into the university from high school that often holds back highly selective academic schools when recruiting top tier athletes. And, the fact that UCI is ranked top ten for public universities in the USA, and is consistently ranking higher and higher in world rankings, this will be an advantage in recruiting.

Already, UCI is a fan favorite. UCI is the third most applied to school, with a school population of over 35,000 students. UCI has been noted for their mascot, Peter the Anteater, and their nickname, the Anteaters, especially when they make runs in the NCAA Tournaments for baseball and basketball. And, while Orange County football fans often split between supporting UCLA or USC, they tend to have a soft spot for UCI, and tend to wish UCI had football.

And, UCI’s potential in athletics has already been reached in numerous of sports, reaching the Round of 32 as a Big West school in men’s basketball, reaching the College World Series three times in baseball, and winning three men’s water polo and four men’s volleyball national championships! They have performed well in other sports too. Imagine it they were in a FBS Conference or had a FBS team? They would get even better recruits and be able to compete against the best teams even more often because more recruits would want to come a school that was in a top conference.

The only thing holding UCI back would be the lack of a stadium, although there are nearby stadiums that could be used temporarily, or even permanently like Angels Stadium which is used for high school football a lot, or local high school stadiums, or even some local college stadiums like Orange Coast College or Cal State Fullerton’s old stadium, although this may be awkward given the two are rivals. With FBS having a 15,000 capacity minimum, Angels Stadium would be the closest stadium that could fit this demand. While UCI is around 16 miles from Angel Stadium, its medical school is only 1.2 miles away. And, if UCI was not going to use an FBS 15,000 seat minimum stadium, UCI could just use nearby University High School Football Stadium or their own Anteater Stadium that they use for track and field and other sports like soccer or Anteater Ballpark that they use for baseball (however, both of these hold less than 3,000 people). Or they could set up temporary stands like they do for the LA Rams training camps in August on their ample field space that has seen 10,000+ attendances on a single day. As the team becomes more situated, a more permanent solution would probably be needed, but at a university known for good engineering and architecture, in a city that was planned and thus is good with infrastructure, and at a university with lots of open space, the prospects of putting in a 30,000 seat stadium would be highly realistic and attainable. Plus, with a one billion dollar endowment, UCI has the money.

A few other key points is that UCI is only ten minutes from the beach (drawing even more recruits), has a nearby commercial airport, and is full of hotels that can be used for football meetings away teams need for game day, and yes, that home teams use as well. It also a ready made training table at their University Club where they have very healthy and fancy dining. They may even rival their brothers north of them, UCLA, on really healthy and good football food. So, it has things needed for football like the hotels, airport, and the training table while it also has things people desire like proximity to the ocean and a commercial airport so they can get in and out. UCI is also around 16 miles from Disney Land, and there are other fun things to do around that would entice college athletes like Knott’s Berry Farm.

While Cal State Fullerton may have the stadium and history, UCI has the best potential. UCI generates over 4 billion dollars a year for Orange County and that is without football. Imagine how much bigger UCI would become with football, especially FBS Football. This would help out both the UCI and Orange County economy.

UCI would have a great chance at dominating in football but regardless of how well they do in football, they will give a greater opportunity to local players and they will provide lots of funds for the other sports if they were to get a football team. This is an important point because universities are supposed to provide a local service to their population around them, and being such a selective school can sometimes make UCI almost unpopular. But, imagine if they were to give 60 local kids or so a chance to play FBS football? It would provide a service to the local population. And it would also provide entertainment too, because at the highest level of football, you can expect to see big name teams and big fan bases come to town. Imagine USC or UCLA playing at UCI, or further away schools like Air Force or Notre Dame playing at UCI. Football will definitely be a risk and reward setup, but they have enough money to try it out, and they have enough support to try it out.

That leaves us with the speculation as to what UCI should do and I think there are some enticing choices. One, they could stay in the Big West, but be independent for football. This may actually allow them to become even more dominant in basketball than they have been recently, and being in the Big West has been a big plus for their other sports as the Big West is elite in sports like baseball and volleyball, and UCI plays in the MPSF for sports like water polo, so they get elite competition there too. In basketball, we see this setup with teams like BYU and Hawaii who play FBS football, but play in conferences that do not have FBS football, but their athletic prestige of having a FBS team often propels them to be able to compete with the best. They may not win their conferences, but they are consistently really good. UCI could join the Mountain West potentially, maybe just for football like Hawaii, or maybe for all sports, however I feel like there is an even better conference for UCI. I think this is definitely the most jntriguing, because I think UCI would be a great fit for the Pac-12. It may be best for UCI to be independent at first and stay in the Big West, but after two transition years, I think joining the Pac-12 would do wonders for UCI. Already, it competes at an elite level, and draws big crowds for sports like volleyball, water polo, and baseball (relatively speaking), but imagine if they were playing big name teams every week. Not only would their athletes be more elite, they would be playing more elite athletes. That would increase attendances, and increase overall level of play. UCI fits in well with what the Pac-12 looks for in a school. They may not fit in completely well for sports yet, but given that UCI has only been around since 1965 and has only played Division 1 sports since the 1970s, they have actually done quite well. Plus, their sports has been rapidly improving as of late.

However, it would be difficult for UCI not to have their old rivalries anymore, at least not in conference games. No more Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton Big West games. That would be difficult. And that may be why the Independent option or the Mountain West football only option may be best. But, UCI already had to say goodbye to old rivals once when they moved up to Division 1, and maybe it is time to move into a major conference. Either way, no matter how UCI does it, having the Anteaters play FBS football would be very fun to watch, and just maybe, it might see UCI dominate the nation like they have been able to do in other sports. And to those that think that FBS football may be too soon, check out UTSA and Charlotte who made the jump from nothing to FBS with very little time spent in FCS. It can be done, and returns on investment can be seen often within years of the decision. Plus, it has really improved the look of UTSA and its name recognition, especially since like Orange County, San Antonio had no FBS football team, nor did they have a NFL team (although, Orange County has the Chargers who practice there).

Why Man City Should Push for England to Host the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup by a Man City Fan

Important Announcement that could be major for our club! 6 days ago, the Japan Football Association dropped its rights to host the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup. Right now, FIFA is coming up with a new host. Man City and The FA should push for England to host the FIFA Club World Cup. If so, Manchester City would qualify for its first FIFA Club World Cup as the host nation’s champions (2020-2021 Premier League/English National Champions).  


Why is this so important? Our owners set out to be the best club in the world. The truth is that we have been the best club in the world according to match consistency. But, we have yet to win the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup, in addition to the FIFA Club World Cup. 


A lot of people may be thinking, okay, but let us focus on the UEFA competitions. I get that. But here is the thing. The UEFA competitions will continue forever. Currently, the Club World Cup is expected to go through changes, where it will be played once every 4 years with 24 teams. However, they do not know if this will actually happen. And, if it does, UEFA may boycott. 


Why is this relevant to Man City? Well, apart from the fact that becoming World Champions would mean Man City finally conquered the World, it also means that Man City may never have another chance at competing for a Club World Cup again! That would be a shame for arguably the best club since the 2017-2018 season on a year to year basis. 


What would Man City achieve by winning the FIFA Club World Cup? Well, the prize money from FIFA itself for winning it would be around 10 million U.S. dollars, but when you include the extra advertisements and the club being promoted around the world, especially in South America, it could be much more money made. As for prestige, nothing could be higher, because there is no other way to become World Champions at the club level than to win the Club World Cup. I understand for Europeans, the Champions League may carry more weight, but the Club World Cup is the World Championship for Clubs. This would put Man City equal on Club World Cups to Liverpool, 1 CWC away from equalling Man United, albeit, 6 away from Real Madrid. But, the point is that this tournament, much like the EFL Cup, is one of the trophies that Man City can become the most successful in from England immediately, which adds to their bragging rights and prestige within England, and historical prestige. Also, it would be cool to see Man City with a Gold FIFA Club World Champions patch on their kits!


It would be a brilliant plan. See, Man City has many years to win the Champions League and the Super Cup. They have the team and the resources to do it. And, if the Club World Cup was going to continue to be held every year, sure, Man City could accomplish this too! But, with the Club World Cup, as explained before, Man City may not even have the chance to compete in it again. And, even if they did, moving it to once every 4 years, plus making it a 24 team tournament makes winning the Club World Cup vastly harder to win than it is now. Currently, if England did host the FIFA Club World Cup 2021, Man City would play 4 matches. They would play Auckland City FC (New Zealand/Oceania), and then either the North American Champions, the Asian Champions, or Al Ahly (Egypt/Africa), followed by a match against either Chelsea (England/Europe) or the South American Champions, and then the other club that got to the Club World Cup Final! Only one of those matches would Man City not be heavily favoured in, and that match would be against a team they most likely would still be favoured against, Chelsea. 


The new format would be vastly more difficult with a group stage followed by most likely a Round of 16 and so on until the Final, and could feature up to 8 UEFA clubs. Plus, being hosted once every 4 years may mean it falls on an off year for Man City. And, if hosted in the summer, Man City may not even have its best players. 


Last season’s Champions League Final loss hurt for many reasons! But, as a Man City supporter looking for future successes, one of those reasons was the fact that Man City may not only lose its shot at winning a very winnable FIFA CWC, but that it may lose its shot to ever compete in one. 


Man City has a chant  “City City The Best Team In All The Land And All The World”! Would it not be great for Man City to prove that on the pitch this winter at the Club World Cup? 


Written by a fellow Cityzen

NCAA FBS Football Top 25 Rankings Week 2:

1. Alabama 2-0 SEC

2. Georgia 2-0 SEC

3. Iowa 2-0 Big Ten

4. Penn State 2-0 Big Ten

5. Texas A&M 2-0 SEC

6. Cincinnati 2-0 AAC

7. Oregon 2-0 Pac-12

8. UCLA 2-0 Pac-12

9. Oklahoma 2-0 Big 12

10. Clemson 1-1 ACC

11. Florida 2-0 SEC

12. Virginia Tech 2-0 ACC

13. Michigan 2-0 Big Ten

14. Auburn 2-0 SEC

15. Ohio State 1-1 Big Ten

16. Notre Dame 2-0 Independent

17. Wisconsin 1-1 Big Ten

18. Coastal Carolina 2-0 Sun Belt

19. UCF 2-0 AAC

20. Ole Miss 2-0 SEC

21. Arizona State 2-0 Pac-12

22. Michigan State 2-0 Big Ten

23. Mississippi State 2-0 SEC

24. Fresno State 2-1 Mountain West

25. BYU 2-0 Independent

Next 5:

Utah State 2-0 Mountain West

North Carolina 1-1 ACC

Boise State 1-1 Mountain West

San Diego State 2-0 Mountain West

Purdue 2-0 Big Ten

Top teams in each conference/division:

SEC West: Alabama 2-0

SEC East: Florida 2-0

Pac-12 North: Oregon 2-0

Pac-12 South: UCLA 2-0

Big Ten West: Iowa 2-0

Big Ten East: Penn State 2-0

ACC Atlantic: Clemson 1-1

ACC Coastal: Virginia Tech 2-0

Big 12: Oklahoma 2-0

Independents: Notre Dame 2-0

AAC: Cincinnati 2-0

Mountain West West: Fresno State 2-1

Mountain West Mountain: Utah State 2-0

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 2-0

Sun Belt West: South Alabama 2-0

C-USA West: UTSA 2-0

C-USA East: Marshall 2-0

MAC East: Toledo 1-1

MAC West: Kent State 1-1

FIBA World Cup 2023 Update

Who are the nations left:

FIBA Africa Qualifiers First Round:

Group A: Cape Verde, Mali, Uganda, and Nigeria

Group B: South Sudan, Cameroon, Tunisia, and Rwanda

Group C: Ivory Coast, Guinea, Central African Republic, and Angola

Group D: Kenya, Senegal, Egypt, and DR Congo

FIBA Asia Qualifiers First Round:

Group A: New Zealand, South Korea, Philippines, and India

Group B: Australia, PR China, Japan, and Chinese Taipei

Group C: Jordan, Lebanon, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia

Group D: IR Iran, Kazakhstan, Syria, and Bahrain

FIBA Americas Qualifiers First Round:

Group A: Argentina, Venezuela, Panama, and Paraguay

Group B: Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile

Group C: Canada, Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands, and The Bahamas

Group D: USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba

FIBA Europe Qualifiers First Round:

Group A: Serbia, Slovakia, Belgium, and Latvia

Group B: Belarus, Great Britain, Greece, and Turkey

Group C: Croatia, Finland, Sweden, and Slovenia

Group D: Israel, Germany, Estonia, and Poland

Group E: France, Portugal, Hungary, and Montenegro

Group F: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Czech Republic

Group G: Georgia, North Macedonia, Spain, and Ukraine

Group H: Russia, the Netherlands, Iceland, and Italy

The FIBA Basketball World Cup is down to just 80 nations left with a chance to qualify from a total of 213 nations that make up FIBA.

While these groups may say first qualifying round, this is disingenuous as many of these nations have had to play pre-qualifiers to get to these qualifiers.

Another disingenuous point is that Japan and the Philippines are already automatically qualified, but are playing in the qualifications in order to play competitive basketball and attempt to stay focused and in playing shape for the World Cup. If Indonesia finish top eight in the next FIBA Asia Cup, they too will be automatically qualified. These three nations host the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, with the Philippines hosting most of the games.

Important Dates:

First Round Qualifying Windows will be 25-29 November 2021, 24-28 February 2022, and 30 June-4 July 2022. So, this does mean that qualifications will take place during the normal basketball season. Given the current turbulent relationship between Euroleague and FIBA, Euroleague players will not be used in the qualifiers that happen during their season, although, there may be exceptions to this rule here and there. NBA teams will not allow their players to compete in the qualifiers during their season too, but the NBA G-League will. There may be a few exceptions with regards to the NBA, but highly unlikely.

Favorites for each Group (Top three teams advance):

FIBA Africa Group A: Cape Verde, Nigeria, and Uganda

FIBA Africa Group B: Tunisia, Rwanda, and South Sudan

FIBA Africa Group C: Ivory Coast, Angola, and Guinea

FIBA Africa Group D: Senegal, Egypt, and Kenya

FIBA Asia Group A: New Zealand, South Korea, and the Philippines

FIBA Asia Group B: Australia, PR China, and Japan

FIBA Asia Group C: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan

FIBA Asia Group D: IR Iran, Bahrain, and Kazakhstan

FIBA Americas Group A: Argentina, Venezuela, and Panama

FIBA Americas Group B: Brazil, Uruguay, and Colombia

FIBA Americas Group C: Canada, Dominican Republic, and The Bahamas

FIBA Americas Group D: USA, Puerto Rico, and Mexico

FIBA Europe Group A: Serbia, Latvia, and Belgium

FIBA Europe Group B: Turkey, Greece, and Great Britain

FIBA Europe Group C: Croatia, Slovenia, and Finland

FIBA Europe Group D: Germany, Israel, and Poland

FIBA Europe Group E: France, Montenegro, and Portugal

FIBA Europe Group F: Lithuania, Czech Republic, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

FIBA Europe Group G: Spain, Ukraine, and North Macedonia

FIBA Europe Group H: Italy, Russia, and the Netherlands

Top 25 NCAA FBS Football after Week 1

  1. Alabama 1-0; SEC
  2. Georgia 1-0; SEC
  3. Ohio State 1-0; Big Ten
  4. Texas A&M 1-0; SEC
  5. Iowa 1-0; Big Ten
  6. Penn State 1-0; Big Ten
  7. Cincinnati 1-0; AAC
  8. UCLA 1-0; PAC-12
  9. Texas 1-0; Big 12
  10. Clemson 0-1; ACC
  11. Notre Dame 1-0; Independent
  12. Oregon 1-0; Pac-12
  13. USC 1-0; Pac-12
  14. Florida 1-0; SEC
  15. Oklahoma 1-0; Big 12
  16. Wisconsin 0-1; Big Ten
  17. Iowa State 1-0; Big 12
  18. Michigan 1-0; Big Ten
  19. Auburn 1-0; SEC
  20. Coastal Carolina 1-0; Sun Belt
  21. Arizona State 1-0; Pac-12
  22. Virginia Tech 1-0; ACC
  23. Utah 1-0; Pac-12
  24. UCF 1-0; AAC
  25. Michigan State 1-0; Big Ten

Next 5:

Fresno State 1-1; Mountain West

Kansas State 1-0; Big 12

Marshall 1-0; C-USA

Ole Miss 1-0; SEC

NC State 1-0; ACC

Top Teams in each Conference/Division:

SEC West: Alabama 1-0

SEC East: Georgia 1-0

Big Ten East: Ohio State 1-0

Big Ten West: Iowa 1-0

Pac-12 South: UCLA 1-0

Pac-12 North: Oregon 1-0

ACC Atlantic: Clemson 0-1

ACC Coastal: Virginia Tech 1-0

Big 12: Texas 1-0

Independents: Notre Dame 1-0

AAC: Cincinnati 1-0

Mountain West West: Fresno State 1-1

Mountain West Mountain: Utah State 1-0

Sun Belt East: Coastal Carolina 1-0

Sun Belt West: Louisiana-Lafayette 0-1

C-USA West: UTSA 1-0

C-USA East: Marahall 1-0

MAC East: Buffalo 1-0

MAC West: Northern Illinois 1-0

The Islamic Republic of Iran should Support the Hazara resistance

If the Islamic Republic of Iran is truly led by a rightful marja’ of Twelver Shi’ism, and if Twelver Shi’ism is the rightful Islamic sect, then surely it is a duty from God to protect fellow Shias from Taliban discrimination and genocide.

The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) was founded on the principles of being a clerical state, a theocracy in 1979 with their Head of State being called the Supreme Leader, a marja’ of Twelver Shi’ism. The marjaʿ al-taqlīd or marji’ is a title for the foremost senior clerics of Shi’ism, and there are multiple, and Shias can follow one of their choosing. They are supposed to be the representative of the Hidden Imam, who is the representative and infallible leader of Islam on Earth, but is in hiding and will return with Jesus (Isa) to bring justice and peace to the World.

Thus, being a marja’ is an important job religiously, and in the IRI, one of them is also the Head of State and thus is the person in charge of one of the most powerful countries and historically significant people groups on the planet. This Head of State is called the Supreme Leader.

As a representative of the leader of his version of the true religion, you would expect him to support his fellow people against the evils of the world, especially Shi’as.

Whether right or wrong, in the past, the Supreme Leader has done this with Afghanistan. The Ayattolah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei and his predecessor has stood up against both the Socialists aligned with the Soviet Union and the repressive Sunni fundamentalists Taliban protecting and supporting those who protect the Shias of Afghanistan.

While the USA and others supported the (mostly Sunni) Muhajideen against the Soviets, the IRI supported the Shia Muhajideen against the Soviets in the 1980s. Then, in the 1990s and early 2000s, the IRI and USA, among many others, supported the Northern Alliance which grouped most of these Muhajideen fighters from both the Sunni and Shi’ite branches against the Taliban. The IRI even supported NATO’s efforts to create the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

However, recently, the IRI has been silencing critics in the media and has been trying to paint the Taliban as good people. They have also allegedly supported the Taliban in their fight against the USA. The officials have sought to make the Taliban look reformed, and one that does not commit genocide and discrimination against the Shias of Afghanistan. However, many leaders of the IRI, like former President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Iranian people as a whole do not trust the Taliban, and neither do the Afghans living in the IRI, and nor do the Shias living in Afghanistan.

Not only this, but the recent record still shows the Taliban committing brutal atrocities against the Shia population. The Taliban were known for having bombed an Iranian mission station in the 1990s, killing diplomats and journalists, as well as killing thousands of Shias, in one year, over 6,000. This brutal treatment has continued since.

The Afghan ethnic group that is the biggest primarily Shia group are the Hazaras. Recently, they had 14 of their people innocently slaughtered against the Geneva Convention as they were surrendered, yet the Taliban still put them to death! And, there was a recent bombing in May that killed more than 80 girls that were mainly Hazara and injured hundreds at a girls’ high school (secondary school). While no one has claimed credit for it, and while the main suspects are either ISIS Khorasan (ISIS K) or Al Qaeda, it may have been the Taliban, and either way, the Taliban has been releasing ISIS K and Al Qaeda prisoners and are aligned with Al Qaeda (not officially), while allegedly being enemies with ISIS K, however, many of the Taliban’s actions suggest a different story. And, furthermore, the Taliban models itself after the infamous Emir Abdur Rahman Khan, former leader of Afghanistan, who is thought to have killed or displaced 60% of the Hazara community in the 1880s and 1890s. The Taliban are also notorious for cultural genocide, such that they tear down important monuments of the Hazaras’ home region, like the giant Buddha statues called the Buddhas of Bamiyan, and have been known to attempt to disappear other ways of life. Therefore, even if the Taliban does not kill off the Hazaras, they could take away so much of their culture that they practically are no longer Hazaras. An even greater threat is the fact that Emir Abdur Rahman, their favorite leader, is known to have forcefully converted the Nuristanis to Sunni Islam, so a forced or heavily coerced conversion could also arise.

So, morally speaking, the IRI leadership should really support the Hazaras. And, religiously speaking, The Ayattolah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei should throw all his support behind his fellow Shia Hazaras. They share not only their religion and thus their historical oppression that all Shias remember in their heart and celebrate those who fought against the struggle like many Shia Saints and of course, Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, the ultimate matyr of Shi’ism, but the Hazaras continue to struggle in the face of oppression to the present-day under the Taliban. Thus, this Persian speaking Shia believing people group in Afghanistan have created their own militias and their own resistance, similar to the ones they created and the IRI supported before. Thus, not helping out the Hazaras would make the IRI regime and The Ayattolah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei look like even more of a fraud than they already look. If the whole purpose of creating the IRI was to create a clerical-republican state against an oppressive foreign-backed regime (this was their claim), then why not support their fellow Shias in their struggle in Afghanistan against an oppressive foreign-backed regime (this is their claim)? Not doing this sure makes it look like The Ayattolah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei does not put God and Shi’ism first. And, if the IRI looks at this from a political point of view, with their dwindling support, it would not make that much sense to go against the will of the Iranian people which is to support the Hazaras. And, if more reports get through of Hazara oppression and the IRI leadership is scene as collaborating with those creating this new struggle, it will delegitimize the religious justification for the clerics ruling Iran. And, finally, from a foreign relations point of view, while it may make the IRI happy to see an enemy (Taliban) of their greater enemy (the USA) take over from the US failed coalition, thus being able to use this example as propaganda to other American allies to get them on the IRI’s side, there is a far better option. The better option would be to support the Hazara resistance. Why? One, the Taliban are not trustworthy and could become an enemy, like they have been, real quick. Two, the IRI supporting a successful resistance will give resistance movements around the world more incentive to join under the IRI’s alliance. And three, the USA and West, as well as the greater World Community is always watching the IRI, and seeing if they behave well. Given that the IRI wants more sanctions lifted off of them, a move to protect the rights of the Hazara communities would go along way in making the IRI’s image one of protecting and fighting for rights, instead of one of funding terrorism overseas, and being oppressive. This would help tremendously with the ability of the IRI to compete on various world markets.

Many in the Hazara resistance seek a federalized Afghanistan where they can create their own state/province in Afghanistan called Hazarajat/Hazaristan, so that way they can control a lot of their laws internally. Others simply just want an inclusive Afghanistan that allows them to be Shia and Hazara without being afraid, whether it be in a federal system or not, with a Hazaristan or not. So, it will behoove IRI to support the Hazaras against the Taliban. In addition, it will behove the Hazara resistance, and most of the resistance groups and militias to also support the Panjshir resistance, the last bastion of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan rule, as they can group together and help reconquer Afghanistan. The IRI has done this before and should do this again, as should other countries.

President Trump Supporters and President Trump himself needs to Own up to their Taliban Deal

While President Biden is rightly being criticized by President Trump supporters and the Republican Party, many of these same people are not admitting that they too were wrong.

President Trump always mentioned how President Obama “left him a mess”. However, in Afghanistan, President Trump left President Biden a mess!

On 29 February 2019, without the consent of the Afghan Government, and against the leadership of Afghanistan’s wishes, President Trump agreed to and US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, signed the Taliban Peace Deal, under the idea that thousands of Americans were dying, it was an endless war, the USA were losing, etcetera. All of these were untrue.

Furthermore, President Trump agreed to let 5,000 Taliban prisoners free, and only got 1,000 Afghans in return. Remember, President Trump ripped President Obama for releasing 5 Taliban prisoners for 1 American. Sort of strange he can be so hypocritical. The Taliban also agreed to a ceasefire and to not sponsor terrorism, not conduct terrorism, and not try to take over the country. They reneged on all of these.

President Trump should have started an attack on the Taliban, or disbanded the treaty. All he did was send one air strike against them. The Taliban continued.

Furthermore, the fact that President Trump did not include the Afghan Government in these talks, and admitted how they wanted to leave, created a sense of betrayal and weakness. It legitimized the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s version of Afghanistan, and not the rightful rulers of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

President Trump does get some credit to the extent that he says he would have done the pullout another way, but his actions do not suggest this. Rather, he messed up “hugely”! And, his trust of the Taliban and his position of weakness he established, plus announcing the date of the final withdrawal, gave the impetus for the Taliban to build up their offense and attack.

It was during this pullout that the Taliban would start committing more and more atrocities, and combine this with their ally, Al-Qaeda, and how they recently released ISIS Khorasan members, it really just seems like the Taliban played President Trump. They made his peace deal basically a surrender, and made it a white flag that waved in the distance to signal a return to the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan. The worst still is that he and Mike Pompeo actually believed them, and are now walking back from that:

From @mehdirhasan:

And, now the Republican Party are trying to walk back from this peace deal as well:

https://www.businessinsider.com/gop-removes-page-hailing-trump-taliban-deal-2021-8

A lot of Republicans may act outraged now, but they did not act outraged before this happen, which means it is tough to say they would have done things differently. Many President Trump supporters recognize the mistakes now, but are now trying to cover this up, pretending they did not support the same thing. President Trump’s Art of the Deal now more looks like the Art of the Surrender.

For more information on the terrible pullout in Afghanistan, check out:

Do not believe the Spin and Twist by President Biden Supporters on Afghanistan:

There has been a recent trend by President Biden supporters to pretend that either he could have not changed the deal President Trump made with the Taliban or that somehow, the explosions and increasing danger proves his decision to leave is correct. Even more perverse is the idea that there have been rising danger to Afghans, and the US media only focusing on the danger to American troops is wrong.

Firstly, yes, President Biden could have and should have changed the deal President Trump made. The deal was based on the fact that the Taliban would agree to a ceasefire and possible power sharing agreement and was going to stop harboring and working with terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda (https://www.dodig.mil/reports.html/Article/2505172/lead-inspector-general-for-operation-freedoms-sentinel-i-quarterly-report-to-th/). However, the the Taliban continued to work with Al-Qaeda (https://www.ft.com/content/03cc24ca-dc69-4bd6-8f2d-7509b0f6b6f1), and continued to rage terror themselves and take over more cities (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/14/world/asia/afghanistan-maps-taliban.html). So, President Biden could have reversed this, because before he agreed to a total pullout, as in no Americans there, the USA controlled all 34 provincial cities, the capital of the country, and most of the land.

See, the Congressional Research Service, Congress itself, and the military officials all warned President Biden of the potential buildup of terrorists groups if the US did not keep their status quo of 2,500 troops, which by the way had featured 0 deaths (for the last 18 months until 26 August 2021 (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-american-troops-not-die-afghanistan-year-last-us-death.amp).

Yet, there are some pointing out that this year has been the most dangerous year for a while for Afghans, and how this recent explosion at the airport confirms why the USA should have left.

This is so ignorant of a position, and such a twist of a position. While the USA had presence there this year, Afghanistan was not having a dangerous year. Once the USA started their complete pullout is when the Taliban went on their offensive terrorizing more people, and then started to align with terrorist groups more and more (https://www.wsj.com/articles/afghanistan-army-collapse-taliban-11628958253). In fact, most of the violence has been done by the Taliban, through their offensive push, which was not going to happen if the USA stayed there (https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/07/1096382), which is why most of the violence has been recorded from after 1 May 2021. Furthermore, the attack on the airport today that left at least 13 US Marines dead and 20 Americans injured and 10 in critical condition, and 60 Afghans dead, as of now, was most likely conducted by ISIS-Khorasan or Al-Qaeda, or even the Taliban itself, but the Taliban has been working with both groups, and even let out ISIS and Al-Qaeda members from jail (https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/us-news/2021/08/19/un-warns-of-terrorism-upsurge-in-taliban-run-afghanistan/?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true).

These are the reasons it is so perverse. The whole reason people are criticizing any pullout is that the experts said it was going to increase the violence. Prior to the US leaving, the violence was not as bad. It is similar to how defunding the police and decreasing police numbers leads to more violence. But in this case, could you imagine if a city announced they were getting rid of their police force if the gangs committed no violence, but the gangs continued to commit more violence to take over the city, and the police did nothing to fight back, and then the gangs got so powerful they killed a bunch of police officers, and then the people in support of getting rid of the police were like, “well, this is why we are getting rid of the police because it is dangerous for them”. No, it is because you started the process that led to the buildup of the gangs, just like how the USA started the process to the buildup of the Taliban and ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

At this point, the dye is sort of cast. But, prior to the complete pullout, the USA and Afghan forces were making Afghanistan safer.

For some reason, many people are saying how the Taliban will bring more peace, ignoring how they are going door to door, taking women, killing and torturing people who worked for the USA or with US Allies or for the Afghan Government, have continued to commit genocidal atrocities, and now has overseen an attack on the US, Allies, and Afghan people trying to escape, and will probably pretend they had nothing to do with that, even though they let out ISIS and Al-Qaeda members.

Under President Biden, the USA have allowed the hostage takers, the Taliban, to take hostages, then gave them a country, weapons, war planes, tanks, and a lot more, allowed them to commit atrocities on their hostages, did nothing about it, and then are claiming why this is why the USA is leaving. No, the complaint is that you allowed the hostage takers to take hostages in the first place by presenting no security against them. This has made Afghanistan more dangerous for everyone.

For more information, check out this book:

Gregg Berhatler is the Man for the Job so far:

The US Men’s National Soccer team job has come with a few expectations over the years. One is to win the Gold Cup at least once, every other Gold Cup. Two, is to make the World Cup, and get to the Round of 16. Three, to have a very good winning percentage due to domination of CONCACAF opposition. And four, it is to stay competitive with the elite, and to be able to achieve a relatively high ranking, somewhere in the 10s or 20s.  

So far, we look at Heach Coach Gregg Berhalter’s job, and in three and a half years, he has done almost all of what the US asks, and more.

Gregg Berhalter finished 2nd in the 2019 Gold Cup, and then won the 2021 Gold Cup. Gregg Berhalter has kept us competitive with the elite, having a 1-2-1 record against CONMEBOL (South American) opposition (Win over Ecuador, ties to Chile and Uruguay, loss to Venezuela) and a 1-1-1 record against UEFA (European) opposition (win over Northern Ireland, tie to Wales, loss to Switzerland). Furthermore, the USA has a 2-0-2 record against Mexico, defeating Mexico in two finals, while only losing to Mexico in one final. The other loss was a friendly. And, the most recent matches have been wins this year, so the USA is improving under Berhalter. Furthermore, against the other elite teams of CONCACAF, the USA has a 3-0-0 record against Costa Rica, a 3-0-1 record over Jamaica, and a 1-0-1 record with Canada. The USA has only played Honduras once, and won that match. So, given the matches the USA has had, the USA has actually done quite well against the top-half of the world. The loss to Venezuela and Canada may be the glaring losses, as the USA is usually much better than both, while the loss to Switzerland came with two of the USA’s main players being out, and the match being away. The loss to Jamaica preceded 3 straight wins against Jamaica, 2 of them being in the Gold Cup knockout rounds so that has more than made up for that loss. Even the Canadian loss was made up for by beating Canada 4-1 and advancing from the Nations League Group A on goal-difference. And, against all CONCACAF nations, Gregg Berhalter is 23-0-4! Overall, he is 26-3-6! 

This means as a head coach, the manager of the US Men’s National Soccer Team, Gregg Berhalter, has exceeded expectations in wins and winning percentage so far, with a 74.29 win percentage, and a +60 goal difference! However, Gregg Berhalter has even exceeded more expectations. With the new competition, the CONCACAF Nations League, this was a trophy that was expected to go to Mexico. Yet, Gregg Berhalter helped lead the USA to a CONCACAF Nations League trophy! This means that so far, as a head coach, Gregg Berhalter has led the USA to 2 trophies out of 3, 2 of them being in the same year, the summer of 2021, and 2 of them being over Mexico! With that, Gregg Berhalter has put the USA into the #10 position of the Coca-Cola FIFA Men’s World Rankings, the highest the USA has been since 2006! 

And, it is not just that he won these competitions, and has had such a high winning percentage, but that he has also used lots of players doing it. He has used well over 70 players during this winning run, and used practically 2 different teams to win the 2020 Nations League in June and the 2021 Gold Cup in August. Separating the common denominator of the players and seeing how it is the manager, has alerted people to just how good Gregg Berhalter is doing. And, it must be stated that he does have a very talented US player pool, but he is using so much of it. This has to do with the USA always being prepared to compete, no matter who is in or out. It makes the USA less dependent on any one player. So, for example, when playing against Mexico, it did not matter as much whether Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) was there, because someone else got to step up! This may be ineffectual in the short term, but in the long term, it has been very successful, because over-reliance on one player is not good. With the USA, you do not even need to rely on one team! There are few countries that have the depth of the USA, and without Gregg Berhalter, we may have never known how deep the USA really was. Just look at goalkeepers as there are 3 top goalkeepers from Zach Steffen (Manchester City) to Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest) to Matt Turner (New England Revolution). So many center-backs, left and right backs, midfielders, forwards, and strikers have played thus far, showing the immense depth the USA has. 

There is only one thing Gregg Berhalter is yet to do in his first 4 years, and that is play in a World Cup match, both in qualifying and at the World Cup (finals). Over the next year, the USA will be playing 14 matches against the final 8 sides of World Cup Qualifying for CONCACAF, which features the USA, alongside El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Canada, and Mexico. The USA will play one home match and one away match against each of these other nations. The top 3 teams in the standings after 14 matches will advance to the World Cup in Qatar, whereas the 4th place team will get to play in an extra qualifier, which may see them qualify or not depending on the result. Gregg Berhalter needs to put in good World Cup Qualifying, and eventually, good World Cup results to solidify if his taking this job was a success or not. But, for now, the man accused of only getting the job because of nepotism is proving to have been a good choice in hindsight.