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Angels Links: U.S. miss World Cup for the first time since 1986

I have words for this, but they are not suitable for print.

Trinidad & Tobago v United States  - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images

U.S. loses to Trinidad and Tobago 2-1, does not qualify for 2018 World Cup

That empty feeling that you have inside today? That is the feeling of the U.S. failing to make the World Cup for the first time since 1986. Needing only a draw against the worst team in the group, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. failed that, and with Honduras and Panama winning their games, the U.S. will not be taking part in next summer’s World Cup. This is a crushing blow to U.S. Soccer and U.S. Fans, who were thinking maybe this will be the World Cup that they make a deep run, not miss the tournament entirely. So where does US Soccer go from here? Kevin McCauley at SB Nation takes a look at what could happen.

Lionel Messi Hat Trick leads Argentina to the World Cup

One team that was in dire straits in the last round of qualification but stepped up and got it done was Argentina. And by the team got it done, I mean Lionel Messi did. Messi rose to the occassion, scoring a hat trick against Ecuador to lead Argentina to the World Cup. Ecuador actually scored in the first minute of play, leading many to predict gloom and doom for Argentina. But Messi clawed them back, and now Argentina are heading to Russia, joining Brazil, Uruguay, and Colombia. Peru snagged the playoff spot and will be facing New Zealand, and Chile, back-to-back Copa America winners, will miss out.

Portugal beat Switzerland to qualify for World Cup, avoid playoff

Portugal came into the last game with the prospect of facing a World Cup playoff, but knowing that if they beat Switzerland, they would clinch top spot in the group and avoid the playoff. The reigning European champions got the job done, winning 2-0. Unlike his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo did not score, and generally had an off night. However, Ronaldo generally performs well for his country, and will be a key player if Portugal are to do well next summer.

What happened to the Netherlands?

U.S. fans down in the dumps are not alone. Maybe the most shocking story in international soccer over the past couple of years has been the Dutch downfall. From only a couple of Iker Casillas saves away from winning the World Cup in 2010, to missing Euro 2016 and the World Cup in 2018, the Netherlands’ new ineptitude on the International scale has been simply stunning. Peter McVitie of Goal.com tries to determine what happened to a former International soccer powerhouse.

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