The men’s international break may have reduced the amount of action around the world this week, but it did not take all of the drama and big storylines.
Continental club football continued in women’s competitions, while men’s national teams focused on their qualification campaigns for upcoming major tournaments.
🏆 Copa Libertadores Femenina: Internacional 5-0 Boca Juniors
The final round of group stage matches in the Copa Libertadores Femenina were mostly smooth sailing as the two strongest teams in each of the groups progressed relatively comfortably, but there was quite a bit of drama saved for Group D.
The top two in the group faced off as Boca Juniors faced Internacional, who had already sealed progression to the knockout stage having won their previous two matches.
The Argentine champions, meanwhile, needed at least a draw in this to be sure of advancing as they were only three points clear of América de Cali, with whom they drew in the opening round.
As things turned out, the Brazilian debutantes absolutely thrashed last year’s finalists in a statement win. Meanwhile, América de Cali did their part by putting four past Nacional to overtake Boca on goal difference, sending them packing in the group stage.
🌍 UEFA Women’s Champions League Qualifiers: Manchester United 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain
Women’s Champions League football came to Leigh Sports Village for the first time as Manchester United made their competition debut in a massive second-round qualifying tie against French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Head coach Marc Skinner made some interesting calls as he left several attacking stars on the bench, including summer signings Geyse and Hinata Miyazawa, who was the Golden Boot at the latest World Cup.
That went about as well as one might guess, as Man United were completely devoid of any attacking threat in the first half and faced a fair bit of trouble from PSG.
They managed to hold on to a 0-0 scoreline until half-time but went down early on in the second period to a goal from the ever-threatening Tabitha Chawinga.
Skinner introduced the dangerous attackers he had on the bench bit by bit, culminating in an onslaught of Man United attacks in search of an equaliser which succeeded thanks to young Frenchwoman Melvine Malard, who is on loan from Olympique Lyon.
So, the tie is wide open going into the second leg at the Parc des Princes.
🌍 UEFA Men’s Euro 2024 Qualifiers: Spain 2-0 Scotland
As we cross the halfway stage of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, some teams are now on the verge of securing a spot in the tournament.
Surprisingly, the first to do so could have been Scotland, who needed a result away from home against Spain to get the job done.
As they have done throughout the qualifiers, Steve Clarke’s side put together a resolute defensive performance and kept Spain at bay for long periods.
They even thought they had taken the lead in the second half when Scott McTominay’s free kick missed everyone and went in, but the goal was ruled out by VAR.
Spain won the game with late goals from Álvaro Morata and Oihan Sancet, crucially holding on to second place in the group and delaying Scotland’s party.
Their next qualifying fixture is in November so they could be in for a long wait, although a favourable result in Norway’s next match against Spain could see them through before that.
🌍 FIFA Men’s World Cup 2026 CONMEBOL Qualifiers: Brazil 1-1 Venezuela
Due to the lack of a need for qualification to their continental tournament, South America is already looking ahead to the next World Cup as their long-winded qualifying campaign started last month.
Brazil are, as always, among the favourites to progress quite comfortably, but they have dropped their first points in their match.
Venezuela, who have never made it to the World Cup in their entire history, are now in the qualification spots very early on after a spirited performance against the Seleção. They did trail, but an incredible late equaliser saw them come away with a hard-earned point.
🌍 FIFA Men’s World Cup 2026 AFC Qualifiers: Cambodia 0-0 Pakistan
The first round of Asia’s World Cup Qualifiers are also now underway, as the 20 lowest-ranked teams in the confederation are facing off in two-legged ties that will already eliminate half of them – almost three years before the tournament actually kicks off!
One of the big stories among these ties is Pakistan’s bid to win a World Cup qualifying match for the first time in three decades. Ranked 197th in the world, they are slight underdogs against Cambodia.
Ahead of this crucial tie, they announced the appointment of head coach Stephen Constantine, who has previously had successful tenures coaching national teams in the region including Nepal and India.
The English head coach is known for a defence-first style of play, which is exactly what we saw in his first match in charge of Pakistan as they frustrated Cambodia for long periods in their compact 4-4-2 block.
They might even have come away with something in transition, but the tie hangs in the balance going into the second leg in Islamabad.
Stats courtesy Soccerdonna.
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