Sports Burst – Italy’s World Cup Countdown


By Tim Stannard

1) Nervous Italy in final chance of World Cup ticket

Sports Burst has been trying to expand its limited horizons and spent Saturday visiting a space exploration museum, witnessing the basic, clunky, unsophisticated heaps of metal that entire nations poured their hopes into and within which nervous astronauts risked their immediate futures: heroes or disaster.

That got Sports Burst comparing those now prehistoric-looking contraptions with Coach Gian Piero ‘Ace’ Ventura and the current Italy side, which is just hours away from missing the World Cup for the first time since 1958. 

The Italians are going into a second leg clash in Milan a goal to the deficit against a solid Sweden, without the suspended Marco Verratti and with the country largely terrified of having to watch the World Cup in Russia without their team scraping 1-0 wins before eventually falling to penalties in the quarterfinals.

“I'd like to see those who attend take off their club colors," pleaded a hopeful Gigi Buffon ahead of the game being held in San Siro on Monday. That might be the case for the 90 minutes of the match, but should matters head south for Italy, then those club colors will be back on and the lives of a group of Italian footballers will be most unpleasant indeed. Tune into the XTRA from 7PM ET / 4PM PT where our Tancredi Palmeri will either be a very happy or most displeased Italian.


2) Teams prepare for final World Cup berths from Dublin to Sydney

The Italy v Sweden San Siro showdown on Monday will finalize the first of four remaining World Cup spots in Russia.

The next will be decided between Ireland and Denmark on Tuesday with the two teams meeting in Dublin after a goalless first leg. Tune into the XTRA on Tuesday to find out if our Kevin Egan will either be a very happy or most displeased Irishman.

After that, comes the Intercontinental qualifiers with four sets of players having literally travelled half the planet to play a second grueling clash after both of the first games ended goalless. Peru are hosting New Zealand on Wednesday evening, whilst the early hours of the same day Australia will also be trying to reach the finals with a clash against Honduras in Sydney. That game is live on beIN SPORTS from 4AM ET / 1AM PT, so throw a shrimp on the barbie for that one. Or nibble on some Cheerios. Either works.


3) ATP finals continue with Rafa Nadal making London debut

Oooh, there be smaller balls consuming the world’s attention as well on Monday with the ATP finals continuing in London.

The eight top-ranked players of 2017 – those that are not crocked or resting – are duking it out in two groups of four ahead of a couple of semifinals. Sunday saw wins for the rising star Alexander Zverev and - current star – Roger Federer.

Monday has Dominic Thiem taking on Grigor Dimitrov while Rafa Nadal battles David Goffin.  


4) US women celebrate historic Fed Cup triumph

Staying on a tennis theme the US women’s game showed its current strength with the Fed Cup being won on Sunday for the first time since 2000 after a 3-2 victory against Belarus for Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe – who won all three of her matches - and Shelby Rogers.

Elsewhere, Marc Marquez comfortably wrapped up another Moto GP championship win – his fourth in five years – on home soil in Valencia.

Over in the NFL, the Denver Broncos suffered a fifth straight loss against the Patriots. Monday night football sees the Miami Dolphins at the Carolina Panthers.

In the NBA, both the Cavs and the Warriors are in action on Monday night.



The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. SB is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.