2010 FIFA World Cup qualification - CONCACAF Region Passion & Redemption • Latino Sports

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2010 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Region Passion & Redemption

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I love Futbol (Soccer) and I’m not the only one!

Futbol is not only a sport that’s recognized for individual and team performances… it’s the most popular sport in the World! With World Cup 2010 taking place in South Africa less than 240 days away, The United States (aka “the Yanks”; “the Stars & Stripes”; “the Red, White, and Blue”… take a pick), Mexico (aka “El Tri”), and Honduras (aka “Los Catrachos”) have all qualified for the World Cup.

How important are these qualifiers? If you make it… you’re in! Lose and you have to wait another four years before the next World Cup Qualifiers. Four years… in that span, you could turn 21, get a college degree, get married, have a few kids, divorce, and be 25 by the time the next World Cup rolls around!

What makes these qualifiers so special is that there’s “no next year” mentality. Make the cut and you’re not only representing yourself and your team… you are representing your Country to the entire World! I know some of you are thinking, it’s like the Olympics… wrong!

With a plethora of events in the Olympics, it’s easy to ignore the poor performances of some of these athletes. In the World Cup qualifiers… have a poor performance and that’s 4 years of abuse you’re going to have to endure from your countrymen and other countries in that region. And this is all before the 1st World Cup Finals match has taken place!

Two things all three qualifying teams will be remembered for will be the Passion and Redemption attitude displayed in the Final Round of these qualifiers. From Saturday, Oct. 10th – Wednesday, Oct. 14th… all 3 teams demonstrated the guts and love for their countries with virtuoso performances.

Mexico, a team that was on the path of not qualifying for the WC redeemed themselves when Sven-Goran Ericksson was replaced with Javier Aguirre in April. Since the coaching change El Tri went on to win the Gold Cup and finish 5-1-1 (5 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 Loss) in their remaining WC qualifiers.

By winning on Saturday, 4-1 against El Salvador and tying Trinidad & Tobago 2-2 Wednesday night… some of wonder if their potential has been tapped or will it be another mediocre performance in South Africa.

With Mexico in I was happy that the Yanks (not the Yankees who are in a magnificent run of their own) showed the mental toughness and passion that was needed when they beat a tough Honduras team 3-2 in political turmoil Honduras. Wednesday’s night game in which they tied Costa Rica 2-2 in the 5th minute of stoppage time was for their injured and fellow teammate, Charlie Davies who was in a car accident on Oct 13th.

With the tie, the United States finished in first place in the CONCACAF region. How they redeem themselves in the World Cup will be closely viewed by everyone come 2010. One needs to understand this is a team that wants to prove to us (Americans) and the entire planet that we are a Futbol nation.

I’m not saying this to disrespect MLB, the NBA, and the NFL because I’m a fan of those sports but what Americans have to understand is that Futbol is the Global Sport. How Global? More people will recognize David Beckham before they recognize A-Rod… more people have a love for Pele than for Michael Jordan. Just like some countries have excellent Rugby, Cricket leagues… they understand and realize that it doesn’t measure up to Futbol and that’s a discussion for another time.

My sentimental favorite that qualified for the World Cup is Los Catrachos. Being American and having Honduran heritage, it really pains me to see both teams competing against each other. Normally, all I want to see is a good futbol match but I will admit that on Saturday’s match against the Stars & Stripes, I was slightly leaning for a Honduras victory because it’s a country on the brink of a Civil War who was trying to reach the World Cup for the second time in the country’s History since 1982.

Even though they lost 3-2 in a game that should have been televised to the United States, it was the fans in Honduras who won out. Despite all the talk of how the government should represent their people, it was the fans who demonstrated that they’re capable of representing themselves well as they applauded the Yanks for a fine performance.

All was not lost for Los Catrachos because on their final match against El Salvador, Honduras won 1-0 on Carlos Pavon well timed goal in the 64th minute and with a little help from the United States tying Costa Rica, Honduras was able to qualify for the World Cup!

Carlos Pavon, who a few days ago missed on 3 opportunities to score a goal against the US which would have tied the game 3-3, redeemed himself when his country was watching like the rest of us. In the end as well as the beginning… it always return to “Passion & Redemption”.

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