I have to admit, in the world of soccer nothing excites me more than the World Cup. I love the World Cup. It's far and away my favorite sporting event, tournament, whatever.
Part of the World Cup, of course, is World Cup qualifying. And if there is something I like as much as the World Cup itself, it's World Cup qualifying. It's a long and arduous process and the teams that get in put a lot of time, effort and work into the campaign.
In our corner of the soccer world, we have nearly reached the final round. All the participants are in and the dates are set. The only thing that awaits is the draw itself to pair team versus team and fill out the calendar.
We'll find out the draw on Saturday. And we won't have to wait around too long either. The draw will be held at 3 am PT, which I believe is in the middle of the day in South Africa. It will be coupled with the draw for the Confederations Cup - an added bonus for US fans at no additional charge.
I'm debating whether or not I should set my alarm and get up to follow the draw. I may just get up at my usual time of 4:45 - for some reason, my body is programmed to wake up at 4:45 every morning, which pretty much blows.
The matches I'm most looking forward to:
- US at Mexico. In this region, it really doesn't get better than this. I made a promise to myself in 2005 that I'd go to this game, and so far I intend to keep my promise. I figure I don't have any concrete plans for 2009 so I'll just plan my year around this game. I'm hoping it's on March 28 as it was in 2005 (well, last weekend in March anyway).
- Mexico at Honduras. A re-match of Wednesday's game. I can't imagine Mexico will have forgotten everything that transpired during the trip, from the jeers and insults in the airport to the own goal and red cards and the loss of the game itself.
- US at Costa Rica. The US has never won in Costa Rica, never even come close. We'll see if the Ticos can handle the Americans yet again down in the horror known as Estadio Saprissa. I'm thinking this one will be one of the June games.
- US at Trinidad. If there was one game I could go to, it would be US-Mexico. But if there was another game I'd like to attend, it's this one. The game might be good but Trinidad is a beautiful country and I'd love a return visit. This one kicked it off last time around so I wouldn't expect it to happen soon again. I'm guessing sometime in September.
- El Salvador at US. Okay, I'm thinking that if the HDC plays host to one game, it's this one. Yeah, I know I'm dreaming but I'd like to see a Hexagonal match played out here in Casron. I'm thinking this one will be possibly April 1 or maybe late in the calendar, possibly October.