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It's been a while

Friends,

I know, I know. I've been MIA. Blame the Dolphins, IndyCar racing and a shift in responsibilities at the Herald. But I know those just sound like excuses. Just know I've missed you too.

Anyway, what's new? A lot, actually. The United States flamed out of the U-20 World Cup in the Group Stage, falling short of Costa Rica on goal differential.

The knockout stage begins Friday, with Paraguay facing Korea, Ghana taking on South Africa, Spain battling Italy and Hungary going at it with the Czech Republic.

Then on Saturday, it's Brazil-Uruguay, Germany-Nigeria, Venezuela-UAE and Egypt-Costa Rica.

As for the big boys, they return to action Saturday for two final qualifying matches. The United States can clinch a World Cup berth with a win Saturday at Honduras OR a draw against Costa Rica next Wednesday at RFK Stadium.

In CONMBEBOL action, Michelle Kaufman dedicated her Sunday column to the plight of Diego Maradona's Argentina, which could very well miss the World Cup, even with Lionel Messi, largely viewed as the best player in the world.

Closer to home, I take a look at Miami's bid to host World Cup matches in either 2018 or 2022. I could be wrong, but I get the impression that Land Shark Stadium is a near shoe-in to be one of the 18 venues used in the United States' bid to FIFA. Stay tuned.

And yes, I'll try to be better about blogging.

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