By Tim Stannard
There will be a lot of clubs in Europe scowling and huffing at the South American World Cup qualifiers being played tonight. However, those footballers wearing the blue-and-white of Argentina won't give two hoots, for starters.
An extra set of CONMEBOL matches on Thursday has caused quite the kerfuffle in European soccer. LaLiga postponed two games including Sevilla vs. Barcelona because of late-arriving footballers from South America. Premier League clubs didn't even allow players to travel to South America in the first place because of COVID-19 quarantine requirements on their return. Those teams enforcing the ban could see those footballers unavailable to them due to a punishment from FIFA.
PSG would very much like to field Lionel Messi and Neymar on Saturday in a home game against Clermont Foot with Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe both currently sidelined with injury. That could see what was a 'no way!' turn into 'there's a chance?' of both players using private jets and comfy beds to play two games in two calendar days. Mauricio Pochettino will be revealing his thoughts on Friday.
Meanwhile, a happy Messi will be able to belatedly celebrate the Copa America trophy in front of Argentina supporters today in a third-full Monumental stadium ahead of a qualifier against Bolivia. "It will be a spectacular moment for us," beamed Mess in an interview with ESPN.
🔥 See if Messi performs double duty for club and country with PSG vs. Clermont Foot on Saturday live on beIN SPORTS from 10:50AM ET / 7:50AM PT. 👀
Crisis over after USMNT Pepi win
A fairly rubbish two weeks for Gregg Berhalter ended on a high note at least. But it wasn't looking that way for a while. The USMNT coach already had to deal with two draws from two games in World Cup qualifying, COVID-19 cases, injuries, and Weston McKennie being booted out of the camp for bubble-threatening antics.
At halftime in Honduras on Wednesday night, it was looking even bleaker with the USA 1-0 down. However, three substitutions during the break and quite the debut for 18-year-old FC Dallas striker, Ricardi Pepi, with a goal and two assists saw the USMNT pulling through with an eventual 4-1 win.
The Octagonal now looks a little healthier with Mexico, Canada, and the USA in the top three.