The U.S. men’s national team lost to Trinidad and Tobago in its final qualifying game last month, and won’t play in the World Cup for the first time since 1986. But the U.S. won’t be the only big country missing out on Russia 2018.
Yesterday, Italy drew with Sweden in the second leg of its World Cup qualification playoff. The four-time World Cup champs won’t be in the tournament next summer — for the first time since 1958. The Netherlands, runners-up in 2010 and third place in 2014, didn’t even bother to make the qualification playoff. They finished third in the group. Chile, two-time defending Copa America champs, missed out on the World Cup in part because Bolivia fielded an illegal player.
Ghana finished third in its Africa group, two spots out of qualifying. So did the reigning African champions, Cameroon. Ivory Coast didn’t qualify, either. Honduras, which finished one place above the United States in North American qualification, lost to Australia in a playoff this morning. Ireland got routed by Denmark in a qualification playoff yesterday. There are tons of good-ish soccer teams with nothing to do next summer.
But no fear! These teams may not actually be sitting at home in the summer of 2018 if U.S. Soccer can come up with a plan. As Sports Illustrated’s Avi Creditor reports, U.S. Soccer and Soccer United Marketing are currently testing the waters for a tournament of also-rans to be played in the United States next summer. It’s very preliminary, but call it the World Crap.
The World Crap makes a lot of sense: There are plenty of U.S.-based soccer fans who would love to shell out money to watch the U.S., or Italy, or even Ireland play. Those teams are looking for something to do. NFL stadiums are looking for events to host. It makes too much sense!
Of course, the World Crap will not likely happen. Soccer United Marketing may study the situation and decide that, while there would certainly be interest, it isn’t enough to make money. U.S. Soccer may push ahead with the idea, but the top teams—well, the top bad teams—may well decide the event is embarrassing and would rather play friendlies against squads prepping for the actual World Cup. Teams may not be interested in sending top squads to play in a losers’ tournament that I’ve just dubbed the World Crap.
But who cares? Gathering in a public place during daylight hours to watch soccer is a great time. We won’t get a chance to cheer on the United States in the World Cup. So why not get together to watch the USMNT lose to Italy’s C-team? World Crap 2018, here we come.