By Tim Stannard
1) Italy’s ultimate morning after the night before
US soccer fans thought they had woken up to a severe hangover the morning after failure to qualify for the World Cup.
But that was nothing really. It was a mere ‘couple of glasses of water, quick stroll, shake it off’ affair.
The nation of Italy is collectively opening its eyes on Tuesday, finding itself curled up on the bathroom floor using a bathmat as a blanket and will spend the next two days in a fetal position on the sofa managing to get through literally every show on their Netflix watch list. Even the X-Files reboot. That bad.
What many Italian fans feared would happen, did happen on Monday in Milan with Italy failing to muster up a single goal against Sweden in a second leg play-off to see the country missing out on a World Cup for the first time since 1958. Mamma Mia and then some.
Although much of the world is mourning the loss of a usually spoiling, defensive unit in Russia 2018, the globe might be blessed instead with King Zlatan coming out of international retirement.
Gigi Buffon was in tears, our Bobo Vieri was using some adult language whilst watching the game in the beIN SPORTS HQ, but Coach Giampiero Ventura was fairly unrepentant after the match. “I apologize for the result, yes, but not for the effort and hard work,” claimed the Italy boss – and the man who remains Italy boss with the now going-into-hiding figure failing to confirm if he would be resigning from his position.
That topic, some navel-gazing, and dry-heaving into a cushion is on the agenda for much of Italy on Tuesday. So, tune into the XTRA from 7PM ET / 4PM PT to find out just how that’s going.
2) Ireland and Denmark duel for final World Cup spot
One more World Cup place is up for grabs from Europe.
Ireland and Denmark will be the two teams scrapping for that privilege in Dublin in a clash that will be the epitome of dogged with the tie standing goalless from the first leg. However, the fallout for the loser will be less ‘Weeping Buffon’ to a shrug from fans who sees the World Cup as a bit of a bonus summer treat anyway.
Elsewhere, a more than youthful USA team are taking on a Portugal side without the newly-fathered (again) Cristiano Ronaldo, whilst beIN SPORTS is very chuffed to bring you an Africa World Cup qualifying clash at 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PT with Senegal hosting South Africa, with the hosts celebrating their own qualification to Russia from last weekend. Before that game, Argentina is taking on Nigeria in Russia. As you do. That game kicks off at 11:20AM ET / 10:20PM PT live on beIN SPORTS.
Tune into the XTRA for all the top goals, action and reaction from a big day of international soccer.
3) Honduras accuse Aussies of spying in drone drama
And then there were two.
That will be the situation on Wednesday as the final two more globalized World Cup final spots are decided. New Zealand will be in Peru – score goalless in that one – and beIN SPORTS will be very happy to bring live coverage of the clash with coverage beginning live at 8:30PM ET / 5:30PM PT.
The real skullduggery and drama is to be found in Wednesday’s early clash which has Honduras Down Under taking on Australia in a game that is also goalless. Honduran coach, Jorge Luis Pinto, accusing his opponents of flying a drone over the team’s training session on Tuesday – a charge denied by the Australian federation. "Let's not be innocent, it's espionage," fumed Pinto. Strewth.
Either stay up very late or get up really early to clash this clash live on beIN SPORTS from 3:50AM ET / 12:50AM PT. Go on, it will be fun.
4) Cam slam for Dolphins as Nadal closes off season
Monday night football saw more fine form from Cam ‘four touchdowns’ Newton and the Carolina Panthers who powered through against the hapless Miami Dolphins. The Cavs and Warriors won their respective Monday night clashes in the NBA.
The ATP Finals continue on Tuesday in London, but will do so without an injured Rafa Nadal who withdrew from the tournament – and the season – after defeat to David Goffin. Tuesday’s big clash sees Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev facing off, while the earlier clash has Marin Cilic taking on American player, Jack Sock, who needs win to stay in the tournament.
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