World Cup Playoffs: First Leg Preview


Four legs, two spots. Not my dog. It's the World Cup Playoffs. CONCACAF vs. OFC and AFC vs. CONMEBOL. Wow, that's a lot of arbitrary letters.

Jordan vs. Uruguay - 10:00 a.m. Nov. 13 - One World Sports

After a lackluster qualifying campaign in CONMEBOL, Uruguay have been rewarded with a trip to one of the cathedrals of the beautiful game: Amman International Stadium in Jordan.

They pipped 2011 Copa America semi-finalists Venezuela to the CONMEBOL playoff spot by 5 points, while Jordan had to go to a penalty shootout to beat Uzbekistan to earn a place in the international playoff.

On paper, it appears to be a David and Goliath matchup… and in reality, it is. Although a valiant effort so far, it’s hard to see Jordan coming out on top. Expect the Asian minnows to bunker in while Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani pepper the Jordan goal with a healthy number of efforts.

Despite Suarez and Uruguay Manager Oscar Tabarez saying they are worried about what Jordan can do, we are not.

Prediction: Jordan 0-3 Uruguay

Mexico vs. New Zealand - 3:30 p.m. Nov. 3 - ESPN

Some matchups were just meant to be. Argentina vs Germany. England vs France. Brazil vs Italy. Mexico vs New Zealand...

Mexico deserve this. A World Cup playoff to mock their pitiful performance in the CONCACAF qualifiers. At the once-impenetrable fortress of Estadio Azteca, El Tri will host New Zealand. Luckily for Mexico, The Kiwis, as this newspaper cartoon depicts, have no interest in penetrating. 

A 0-0 draw in Mexico City would send the Kiwi's laughing back to Auckland, where they'll hope to relive August 20, 1980, a 4-0 Kiwi win over the Mexico.

Where could Mexico go wrong? New Mexico coach Miguel Herrera will run out his 3-man defense, which includes Rafa Marquez. If the lamb-fed strikers Chris Wood and Shane Shmeltz can bully Mexico like Honduras and the U.S. did in the Hex, things could get spicy. 

Pace and skill too much for the Kiwis. But all hope not lost.

Prediction: Mexico 2 - 0 New Zealand.


Petar MadjaracComment