I am enjoying the ketchup jokes people have made after Harry Kane and Steven Bergwijn scored during the international break.
Ramble of the Day
International breaks have a very weird rhythm that almost sets itself up to be a boring couple of weeks for the football obsessed, but I think describing the whole break as boring lacks a little context. Of course, there are always some highlights worth catching during the international break. There’s also CONCACAF, a confederation with an extremely chaotic vibe.
I don’t think I’ve shared my appreciation for zany North American matches, which seem to follow little rhyme or reason on a good day. The refereeing is inconsistent, it always feel like there’s a relatively high probability something weird happens, and almost every variable involved in a football match feels like it could be manipulated to maximize chaos. Take, for example, the viral images out of Edmonton before Canada hosted Mexico yesterday.
Estadio #Iceteca— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) November 16, 2021
(let's get that trending, eh?)
Edmonton! We're counting on you to make this our Frozen Fortress tonight. You know what to do!#CANMNT #WCQ #ForCanada pic.twitter.com/TELcxdQHEY
Just like any other place, there are boring matches in CONCACAF; despite a regional trademark for silliness, the boring matches are as boring as a boring match in Europe. I couldn’t tell you if there are more or less boring games in North America than other places; it’s just that the interesting ones are distinctly interesting.
The silliness of CONCACAF almost encourages one not to take football too seriously; it earnestly encourages embracing the weirdness of it all. It’s definitely an accidental mission on CONCACAF’s part, but I think it has landed on the right one: if you can’t provide the most high quality football on the planet, you can at least try to be the most entertaining.
For what it’s worth, CONMEBOL also provides a serious level of entertainment. I won’t try to rank one over the other, entirely because I don’t watch enough CONMEBOL to appropriately rule on the matter. I just wanted to put on the record the fact that I respect the on field antics CONCACAF seems to deliver fairly regularly — it’s the type of thing that delivers the inoffensive chaos I seem to regularly be on the lookout for.
tl;dr: CONCACAF is the place to go if you want your best shot at entertainment during an international break.
Stay informed, read this: the Guardian recaps retired cricket player Azeem Rafiq’s testimony in front of the UK’s digital, culture, media, and sport select committee, in which he outlined the racism he faced during his time at Yorkshire County Cricket Club (content warning: racist language)
Links of the Day
The Netherlands and Argentina qualified for the 2022 World Cup.
Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy was charged with two more counts of rape.
Chelsea’s Sam Kerr signed a contract extension, keeping her at the club until 2024.
Derby was deducted nine additional points for breaching profitability and sustainability rules regarding the sale of Pride Park.
The FA charged Gareth Barry with breaching regulations on working with intermediaries in relation to an investigation into Barry’s former agent acquiring a stake in Swindon Town.
Spain’s anti-violence commission deemed Villarreal’s Champions League tie against Manchester United a high risk event.
A longer read: Meaghan Johnson interviews Jenna Hellstrom on her stint at the Washington Spirit, where she faced verbal abuse from ex-head coach Richie Burke for TSN