Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Russia Makes World Cup As Euro Debacle Unfolds

Move Romania and Spain, Russia is on their way to next year's World Cup. That's after a ruling from World Rugby that docked Belgium, Romania, and Spain all points for fielding ineligible players during qualifying. As a result Russia will now finish as Europe 1. That also means that two of the Eagles three opponents this summer--Russia and Scotland--are bound for the World Cup while the third--Canada--now has a much easier path to the tournament. Germany are now the second place team in Europe and will play Portugal in a playoff before playing Samoa in a playoff with the loser advancing to the repechage with Canada, the runner-up from Africa, and the playoff winner between the Asian winner and the Cook Islands. The bottom line is that Canada should be the strongest of the four repechage teams.

To say that the situation in Europe was a mess would an understatement. It was all kicked off when Spain looked to be Europe's presumptive qualifier after beating Romania and having only to beat lowly Belgium. The kicker was that the Spain-Belgium game was refereed by a Romanian and ended in a contentious manner with Belgium winning. That put Romania in the World Cup. Then it got even more crazy when a series of accusations were made about teams fielding ineligible players. It took World Rugby a long time to sort it out but Russia ended up in the World Cup.

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