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Morning Kickaround

*The final round of Asian World Cup qualifying is set. Which four teams do you think will qualify for South Africa? The clear favorites are Australia, Japan, South Korea and Iran.

*A link to my Beckham-Gallardo, LA-DC story in today's print edition.

*I will follow up later today on Latin American reports that Chilean midfielder Dagoberto Currimilla, who started six games at last year's U-20 World Cup, is coming to DCU on loan from Huachipato.

*MLS matches today:
Colorado at Columbus, 7:30 (FSC)
Toronto at New England, 7:30
RSL at Kansas City, 8
San Jose at Chicago, 8:30
New York at Chivas USA, 10:30 (HDNet)

*Tomorrow, besides the United-Galaxy showdown at RFK and the Euro final on TV, the USL2 Maryland derby commences with Crystal Palace Baltimore visiting Real Maryland at the SoccerPlex (4 p.m.). Last night, Real lost a friendly to Salvadoran club Firpo, 2-0, before a sellout crowd.

By Steve Goff  |  June 28, 2008; 8:49 AM ET
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I guess I agree about Australia, Japan, South Korea and Iran, with Uzbekistan taking fifth and beating New Zealand for their first World Cup spot.

However, Uzbekistan couls surprise people and slip into the top four. Up until their final, meaningless game in the last stage (they had already clinched at that point) they had the best goal differential from in all the Asian groups. And they must still be stinging from being BLATANTLY ripped off of their shot at Trinidad and Tobago for a spot in WC 2006.

Posted by: JDO | June 28, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Dagoberto's bio on Wikipedia sounds like someone pasted a Babelfish translation.

Posted by: silentbob | June 28, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I love the idea of a young, developing player coming on loan (rent-to-own?). Where does he normally play? Which of our current wings would he be fighting with for playing time?

Posted by: Beaker | June 28, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

from the article about the qualifying groups:

"The two third-placed teams will lock horns in a playoff, with the winners facing the Oceania representatives in another two-leg play-off for a spot at the global showpiece."

Why does Australia play in the Asia group and not the Oceania one?

Posted by: pat | June 28, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Australia left the Oceania group after the last WC by request.

I believe they felt that qualifying through Oceania wasn't developing their team sufficiently.

Posted by: JkR | June 28, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Australia isn't part of the Asian continent, and is 7500 miles from their Arabian Penninsula rivals.

Maybe the US can get into UEFA! We'd have 2 tournaments to shoot for, much more interesting qualifying, and hell, its only about 6500 miles from LA to Moscow - and of course much much closer than that from the east coast to Western Europe!

Posted by: JDO | June 28, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

We could apply, and UEFA could accept. But I doubt it.

Posted by: JkR | June 28, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The small countries on the South American mainland (Guyana, etc.) belong to CONCACAF. The glorious nation of Kazakhstan joined UEFA, separating it from all the other -stans in the former Soviet Union. Israel belongs to UEFA. Hey, if the ACC can raid the ranks of other conferences, so can anyone else.

Posted by: tri-village | June 28, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to be off topic - catching up.

Always nice to drink my Saturday coffee and catch up on SI. Here is a nice article sent from a friend in Oregon, who, like the Goffer, trolls for good stuff.

Read the article, and if you have time, google 'soccer has come a long way' (without any quotes). I found it interesting to note all the articles that come up.

Although I picked the Krauts (yes, I went out on a limb, no?), its Viva Espana for me tomorrow -- after Vamos United of course.

Posted by: MR Caretaker | June 28, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

About confederation memberships...

Australia might be far from the Middle East, but that's just because Asia is a bid continent. They are right near other AFC members like Indonesia and Brunei, so the geography isn't as odd as it may sound at first.

Kazakstan in UEFA may seem odd, but they share a very long border with fellow UEFA members Russia and many of the former Soviet Republics (though mainly the ones in the Caucasuses) -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia.

The South American countries in CONCACAF are there because they have much closer ultural and political ties to the Caribbean than they do to CONMEBOL countries. Also, the georgraphy is again quite close to those nations.

It would be intriging to see the US in a stronger confederations, but it would make no sense based on history or how confderations are set up. Not that I think it was a serious thought anyway to join UEFA...

Posted by: Phil | June 28, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Well....I was at most half serious, but I would say "the way federations are set up" is hardly clear. And it's certainly not written anywhere as some kind of regulation that must be followed. So if there would ever be enough money to be had, a way could and would be found, even if that would mean shaking up the formats of tournaments so that the logistics would be easier.

And Kazakhstan has no border with the Caucasus countries. It does, however, have a Portuguese-sized chunk of territory in Europe (west of the Ural River, the conventional border between Europe and Asia.) It also has an infrastructure that is far more integrated with Europe than Asia, and a population (including many Russians and other Slavs) of which probably more than 50% probably like to see themselves as "European" rather than "Asian."

Posted by: JDO | June 28, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Having a true right-midfielder would finally free up Tino to play CAM (subbing for Gallardo and starting when he's hurt/tired/suspended) and Withdrawn Forward.

Posted by: AlecW81 | June 28, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

beaker, as alecw81 also said he's a right midfeilder.

Posted by: frank from sf | June 28, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse


I know it's off-topic, but it's more like the Big-East raiding the other conferences especially in basketball. Looking forward to Spain vs. Germany as I hope Spain can get through the German machine.

Posted by: toddinho | June 28, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

if he's a right winger, and good enough, how about this lineup - 4-1-3-1-1?

------------- wells ------------
namoff - Mct - Peralta - martinez
------------- simms ------------
currimilla - gallardo - fred
------------- tino -------------
------------- emilio -----------

would free up tino to play where he should and create chances for himself that, if saved, emilio can stick in on the rebound... dc and fred can make the runs for gallardo passes, and namoff and martinez can provide the width... hope he works out... then, we would just need a new keeper and and new center back to replace peralta...

Posted by: poo | June 28, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

He is a defender. Not a winger.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Bahrain, I believe, lost to Trinidad and Tobago at the end of WC2006 Qualifying.

Posted by: B.A. | June 28, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Currimilla is described alternately as a mediocampista, or midfielder, and volante, or "steering wheel". In other words, dude guides the offense forward. More like Gallardo's position than a winger, but not a defender.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | June 28, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

BA - You are right. But Uzbekistan were robbed in their play-off with Bahrain for the right to play T&T in a more scandalous way than I've ever seen in soccer anywhere.

Posted by: JDO | June 28, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Australia left Oceania because they rarely, if ever, had a direct spot in the WC. usually the winner of Oceania was playing a home and home series with a team from some other confederation for a spot in the WC. AFC gets at least 2 automatic spots in the WC and Australia will have a good shot at taking one slot every WC.

Posted by: owendylan | June 28, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

It never ceases to baffle me that Bahrain, Qatar, UAE got to the final round of qualifying over China and India.

And the Korea vs. Korea politics...

Posted by: Larry | June 30, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

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