The backbone of Noob is the ’10 to Track – the matches most important for us as new American fans of the game to follow. That and the out-of-left-field humor, and that’s for (or not for!) everyone.
Mondays, football scheds run light, so Noob offers up mostly Relegation matches – ones involving at least one team about to be booted from its league for poor performance.
But it’s International Break, and that means very limited league action! The UEFA Nations League is wrapping up its Group Stage. We’ll hit that and some international CONCACAF action before getting to one Relegation nugget.
1. Germany vs. Netherlands – UEFA Nations League
Once again, here’s that link for Noob’s ‘Explainer’, in brief, for what this tournament is:
Germany is already Relegated no matter how they do today. They will play in one of the League B groups when this tournament is on again in two years.
Netherlands are a point behind France. Since France have played all four of their matches and since Netherlands have a higher goal differential, all the Dutch have to do is get a draw today and they win the Group, advance to the League A playoffs.
The teams are ranked #15 and #14 by FIFA, respectively. Netherlands won their home leg against the Germans in this event 3-0. (2:45 PM EDT, Univision Deportes)
RESULT: 2-2 One almost has to wonder if the Germans decided to stick it to France, sandbagged in the second half. Germany led 2-0, and a Netherlands loss would’ve meant the French won the Group.
B. Cyprus vs. Norway – UEFA Nations League
This is a League C matchup, where there are four teams in each Group, not three. Norway and Bulgaria are tied in the table heading into this last match. They’re ranked 86th and 48th in the world. Given this disparity, Noob thinks Norway is easily a goal favorite, even on the road.
RESULT: Norway 0-2 And it was enough, Norway win the group
Old Scandanavian futhark runic alphabet
yet there’s Number B, recognizable and timeless
3. Bulgaria vs. Slovenia – UEFA Nations League
But a win for Norway may not mean anything if Bulgaria win as well. Norway lead on goal differential, but only by one.
Bulgaria and Slovenia are ranked #35 and #62 by FIFA. Both games are being started at the same time, presumably so neither has an advantage knowing the others progress or result.
4. Macedonia vs. Gibraltar – UEFA Nations League
#68 Macedonia lead this League D group, by three over Armenia. So, if they achieve even a draw today, they win the Group. It’s hard to think Gibraltar – ranked #190 – will be much of a road block.
RESULT: Macedonia 4-0 Group winnahs!
But Gibraltar is full of monkeys.
not even kidding
5. Lichtenstein vs. Armenia – UEFA Nations League
The one thing going for #101 Armenia is that if somehow Macedonia does lose, a win of any sort will do for Armenia. They already have a higher GD than Macedonia, giving Armenia the tiebreaker. Liechtenstein isn’t much better than Gibraltar (at just #182). But Armenia does face this one on the road.
6. Saint Kitts and Nevis vs. Canadia – CONCACAF Nations League qualification
Reminder of what we have with this tournament: All but the six teams that pre-qualified for League A of the 2019-20 Nations League and Gold Cup are here. Each men’s national team plays just four matches against a relatively even cross-section of teams from the field. Top ten finishers will join those pre-qualified in the Gold Cup, though only the top six will play League A in the NL.
Canadia are one of the better teams that had to play this tournament. FIFA ranks them eighth-best in all CONCACAF, #76 worldwide. In this event, they’re already in 5th, and most of the teams around them have played three matches to Canadia’s two.
SKN are the 14th-most highly rated team in the federation. They’re in 7th, also having played just two games so far.
RESULT: Canadia 0-1 looking like this was played yesterday
spiffy logo all set for next year
7. Barbados vs. U.S. Virgin Islands – CONCACAF Nations League
Neither of these will get anywhere close to the top ten like the above teams. USVI are going to be near the very bottom, wind up in League C. Barbados are currently in a League B-position, though near the bottom of that. FIFA ranks them at #200 and #162.
RESULT: Barbados 3-0 also looking like was played last night
8. New Zealand vs. Tonga – Women’s World Cup qualification
Noob covered a match from this event yesterday, but had not realized what all was going on! This is the OFC Nations Cup. The winner qualifies for next year’s World Cup and the next Olympics.
In any case, the Group Stage is just beginning. Eight teams, two Groups, top two finishers from each advance to the Knockout Round. All matches are being hosted in New Caledonia.
Ever since Australia left for the AFC a few years ago, New Zealand have been the dominant power in the federation and #20 in the world. Tonga’s team have been inactive internationally for at least a year and a half, aren’t part of rankings.
RESULT: NZ 11-0 not a typo
See, they have a logo and everything
9. Osasco Audax vs. Union Española – Copa Libertadores Feminina
It’s the gals’ South American version of Champions League and it’s Group Stage is just getting started.
Brazil’s Osasco Audax officially the defending champions. Last year, the team was partnered with one in the Corinthians club organization, but the latter have started their own team now. It’s not clear to Noob which club Audax is affiliated, but appears to be a second-tier one from Sao Paulo. U.E. are reigning Ecuadaorian champs.
There were no Rounds prior to this Group Stage. The 12 competing teams are divded into three Groups of four. The winners of each Group and the highest-performing runners-up will advance to the Knockout Stage.
A Fun Fact is that starting next year, no men’s team will be allowed to compete in the Copa Libertadores unless they have a women’s team.
RESULT: Union 0-1
10. Istiklol Fergana vs. Aral Nukus – Uzbekistan Pro League A
It just wouldn’t be a Monday here at Noob without at least one Relegation match. With it being the European international break, this league was the only one Noob could find anywhere in the world with a Match of Suckitude offered in even its top two leagues.
This looks ot be the last match of the Uzbek second-tier season. It’s been known there for some time that Nukus and Norin would be the two teams to go down to Pro League B next year. But Norin only leads Nukus by a point in the table, so not finishing in last is still up for grabs.
Nukus’ offense only appears to be bad. It’s the defense that’s world-class awful. They’ve conceded 75 goals in 31 matches. Today, the visit the league’s #3 team. Nukus won’t keep the margin within two here.
RESULT: Fergana 3-0
If you recognize the city name Nukus, unhappily it is where the Red Army did it’s work on the Novichok agent.