World Cup Countdown, U.S. team news, and more
World Cup Countdown: barely two weeks until the June 14 kickoff. Training camps are underway, teams are playing warm-up games, and Mon., June 4, is the deadline to submit the final 23-man rosters. Next week this column will extend into a longer World Cup Watch, with previews of the games, and tips on where to watch them.
Two 18-year-olds scored for the U.S. in a 3-0 win over Bolivia, the first of three games they'll play during this session. The squad will likely change some for the next two games over in Europe, but it was good to see a lot of promising young talent getting their chance to play for the national team, including the two youngest goal scorers, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah. That said, this was a very poor Bolivian team, missing most of its top talent because the Bolivian league playoffs are still ongoing. Stiffer competition ahead: Ireland in Dublin this Sat., June 2 (2pm, ESPN2), and a serious WC contender in France next Sat., June 9 (2pm, ESPN)... Also: France-Italy (2pm, Fri., 6/1), England-Nigeria (11am, Sat., 6/7, Fox Deportes), Belgium-Portugal (1:45pm, Sat., 6/2), Mexico-Scotland (7pm, Sat., 6/2, FS1), Spain-Switzerland (2pm, Sun., 6/4, ESPN Deportes), England-Costa Rica (2pm, Thu., 6/7, FS1), Germany-Saudi Arabia (12:30pm, Fri., 6/8).
Congratulations, I suppose, to Real Madrid, winner of a stunning third straight European Champions League title, on an equally stunning pair of goalie blunders by Liverpool's Loris Karius (who is notably not on Germany's short list of keepers to take to the WC).
The Austin Soccer Foundation's 2018 Awards Banquet is Thu., June 14, at the South Congress Hotel. Get more info and $100 tickets at www.austinsoccerfoundation.org.