This international break, the USMNT will play St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Trinidad and Tobago. As these two World Cup Qualifiers will no doubt be important games in the United States, 94 countries will take part in at least one World Cup Qualifying game in the CONCACAF, AFC, CAF and CONMEBOL regions.
While everyone in the States will be focusing on the USMNT games and the Euro 2016 Qualifiers, there are some other games that you should keep an eye on as they are some good matchups and/or have big implications. Here are those five games.
Singapore vs. Japan – Thursday, November 12 at 6:15 AM ET
Japan has widely been regarded as one of the best teams in Asia. This time, Japan is in a very peculiar situation in World Cup Qualifying. On one hand, Japan is second in their group and tied with their opponent. And with only first place being guaranteed advancement to the next round of AFC World Cup Qualifying, that makes this a very important game. On the other hand, after four games, Japan has a 12-0 goal tally and 10 points in those four games. They may be outside automatic qualification but it’s not as if they are struggling.
Even so, Japan must defeat Singapore to catch up with leaders Syria. Since Syria doesn’t play until Tuesday and will only play one WCQ this month, Japan will make up their game in hand tomorrow. A win against Singapore will put them up on Syria with two games left.
Argentina vs. Brazil – Thursday, November 12 at 7:00 PM ET
This will be Argentina’s biggest test in order to cope with Lionel Messi’s and Sergio Aguero’s injury. Argentina suffered a 2-0 loss at home to Ecuador and a 0-0 draw to Paraguay. Now they will face Brazil and Colombia (more on that later), and will be much, much tougher than Ecuador and Paraguay.
Colombia vs. Argentina – Tuesday, November 17 at 3:30 PM ET
Continuing the Argentina storyline. After Brazil comes Colombia, another big test without two of Argentina’s top goalscorers. As of now, after two CONMEBOL WCQ’s, Argentina is in seventh place with a single point. Another loss or two going into the new year will really put Argentina behind everyone else.
Honduras vs. Mexico – Tuesday, November 17 at 4:00 PM ET
Even though top CONCACAF teams like the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica begin their World Cup Qualification journeys in the next couple days, this should really be a formality. Either way, Honduras is arguably Mexico’s biggest competition in their group.
With Canada and El Salvador in the group as well, Mexico’s group will consist of Mexico walking away with the group and Honduras, Canada and El Salvador fighting to get into second place and advance to “the Hex.” If for some reason, Mexico would be in any trouble to not advance, this would be the game.
Uruguay vs. Chile – Tuesday, November 17 at 6:00 PM ET
The rematch of the Copa America Final from this past Summer. Since the Copa America, both teams have thrived and have become the class of CONMEBOL. Uruguay and Chile are two of three teams who are a perfect 2-0-0 record in World Cup Qualifying (along with Ecuador). A win here by either team will provide a huge advantage in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying standings. And in Chile’s case, a couple wins will vault them up to very close to the top of the FIFA Rankings.