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The unhealthy information for soccer followers is that AT&T Stadium in Arlington is one in every of 16 large stadiums set to host video games on the new and supposedly improved 48-team FIFA World Cup in 2026.If we ever wished proof of simply how badly FIFA has misplaced management of soccer, we obtained it at lunchtime on Sunday when the Socceroos risked life and limb to play out a 2-2 draw with Mexico on probably the most dangerous-looking synthetic pitches we’ve ever witnessed.Midfielder Jackson Irvine went off within the 88th minute with what regarded like a critical ankle damage after his trailing foot obtained caught within the plastic turf as he tried to make a sort out on Mexican substitute Roberto Alvarado.It capped a irritating remaining half-hour for Graham Arnold’s males, who had taken a two-goal lead when Martin Boyle blasted residence from the penalty spot simply eight minutes after Mexico had missed an earlier spot-kick when Santiago Gimenez noticed his effort clatter towards the within of the submit.
Many of the 21 fouls awarded all through a niggling, ill-tempered conflict had been the direct results of the 2 groups struggling to take care of the unpredictable bounce of the ball, with the patchwork-like pitch wanting prefer it was hand-stitched collectively about quarter-hour earlier than kick-off.The stadium will want remedial work earlier than it hosts World Cup soccer – and that features changing the pitch from synthetic to a pure grass floor – nevertheless it hosted Sunday’s pleasant primarily as a result of greater than 52,000 Mexican followers might pile into what is generally the house of the Dallas Cowboys.And they made a wierd type of environment befitting the event – with a high-pitch din from the stands accompanying each Mexican contact of the ball for the primary quarter-hour or so – no matter the place it occurred on the pitch.
That’s trendy soccer these days – with FIFA largely interesting to a cashed-up, middle-class fanbase that doesn’t at all times appear to be watching the motion too intently on the pitch.It’s most likely factor they weren’t, in Arlington, with each groups pressured to resort to diagonal lengthy balls in behind the fullbacks to attempt to break open the sport.It was the Socceroos who had a lot the higher of the first-half proceedings, and so they opened the scoring after Guillermo Ochoa pushed a long-range Connor Metcalfe effort across the submit that was already going huge.(Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)Harry Souttar nonetheless had lots to do when Martin Boyle swung over his nook, however the out-of-favour Leicester City defender obtained in entrance of his marker to go the opening aim into the far nook.Mexico thought they’d discovered a manner again into the sport when Keanu Baccus dealt with a Luis Romo volley, just for Santiago to slam his rocket of a penalty off the within of the submit.Having narrowly escaped conceding the equaliser, the Socceroos went two targets forward when Riley McGree cleverly skipped between two defenders and drew an apparent foul simply after the hour mark.
After lacking the World Cup by an ACL damage, Boyle went the safe-as-houses route of merely smashing the resultant penalty straight down the center.The Socceroos regarded like they’d the sport within the bag, however Mexico had been awarded a second penalty when debutant Cam Burgess shoved Uriel Antuna within the field when the ball regarded prefer it was going to expire of play.This time substitute Raul Gimenez transformed, and when Harry Souttar inexplicably stooped to let one other lengthy ball bounce, substitute Cesar Huerta reacted by gleefully smashing it residence on the half-volley quickly after.You might argue in regards to the equity of the Mexicans levelling from two targets behind, however in fact the Socceroos turned in a sloppy second half.On the plus facet had been debuts to 27-year-old Ipswich Town defender Burgess and new Middlesbrough man Sam Silvera, even when Irvine’s late damage was clearly an enormous unfavorable.
And if there’s one factor we realized from Australia’s unusual 2-2 draw with Mexico on Sunday, it’s that NFL stadiums with synthetic pitches are the final locations FIFA ought to ever enable worldwide fixtures to be performed upon.