Last week, I mentioned the US date with Cuba in Havana for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday night. As with last month's match in Guatemala, the US gutted out a 1-0 victory that was hardly a thing of beauty. But it's still three points - on the road, no less. As Ives points out, success on the road in qualifying isn't a given:
Anyone thinking that winning games on the road in World Cup qualifying isn't as tough as people say might want to reconsider after last weekend.Heck, Cyprus - Cyprus! - held World Cup holders Italy scoreless for nearly 90 minutes this weekend! Yes, it would be nice if the US could dominate the CONCACAF minnows on the road on a regular basis. But that's not as important as the basic math: wins on the road, however ugly, equals a trip to South Africa 2010.
Skeptics might want to ask France (pictured), which was thrashed by Austria (ranked 90 spots below the French in the FIFA rankings). They could also ask Angola, which lost to Benin (ranked 46 spots lower), or Ivory Coast, which tied Mozambique (ranked 80 spots lower).