Pepi's USA still have a good chance
On Friday night, Carlos Gruezo’s Ecuador qualified for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. While Ricardo Pepi’s USA still look set to qualify, the World Cup dream for Austria and Gregoritsch is over.
Despite their 3-1 defeat to Paraguay, Ecuador have qualified for the World Cup. Although there is still one game to play, “La Tri” are guaranteed to finish at least fourth in the South American qualification standings. After goals from Robert Morales (9’) and Miguel Almiron (54’) and an own goal from Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapié, Paraguay led Ecuador 3-0 at half time. Jordy Caicedo pulled one back for Ecuador in the 85th minute but it was a mere consolation. Gruezo’s side won’t be too disheartened by their defeat and they will take part in their fourth World Cup this winter.
There is still a strong possibility that fellow Augsburger Ricardo Pepi will also feature at this year’s World Cup. The USA played out a scrappy 0-0 draw with Mexico, in which Ricardo Pepi was substituted after an hour. The USA are three points clear of fourth place with two games left.
Michael Gregoritsch’s Austria however will not feature in this year’s World Cup. Austria suffered a 2-1 defeat to Wales in their qualification play-off semi-final. A Gareth Bale brace gave Wales a 2-0 lead (25’, 51’), before Bayern’s Marcel Sabitzer pulled one back for the Austrians (64’). Gregoritsch came onto the field with two minutes two play, but this wasn’t enough and Austria were ultimately beaten.