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Phil Schoen talks about South America Qualifiers, Qatar 2022

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Matt Striker: Hey, what's up, everybody, Welcome back to FITE. My name is Matt Striker, happy to be a part of the continued growth into the great world of sport. With this great opportunity, we talk about October 8th and 9th, the sport, international football, otherwise on the soccer and the man that will lead us through it. The one and only Phil Schoen, Phil, thank you so much for joining us.

Phil Schoen: It's a pleasure, Matt. Any chance to talk? Soccer is a good day!

Matt Striker: What's important about this particular program, it's the South American World Cup Qualifiers. Now to the casual fan, they might be used to watching league play but this is International play. It's an entirely different style of soccer. Can you speak a little bit about what the new viewer might see?

Phil Schoen: There're a lot of fans out there who have become more accustomed to watching European, which is where a lot of these South American players end up. But it's a different mentality, first of all, from club to country there's an argument nowadays, with all of the big money in there that the clubs might actually be of a higher quality but there's something about when you wear the national team jersey. The passion shows up, and especially in South America, in my mind, you can take your euros, you can take your Champions League, Copa Libertadores and the club side. The Copa America and the World Cup Qualifiers in the national team side it's soccer at it's purest. There are no preconceived ideas as to who's gonna win, there are no gimmes. There are favorites. It's one reason why Brazil and Argentina have won so many trophies, but they've been embarrassed playing of Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, etc. So who knows what's gonna happen?

Matt Striker: It's two nights and there are two rounds. Of course, viewers can get the Games a la carte or they could do the logical thing and get the bundle. Like I said, nearly a dozen teams games such as Paraguay and Peru, Uruguay and Chile. But there's a game that I want to speak to you about and it's Argentina and Ecuador. Now the casual fan knows one particular name here, but my question to you is who steps up to be the next name. For me Diego Maradona had people to finish. He had Valdano. But now who becomes that person for the star that Argentina currently boasts?

Phil Schoen: since Batistuta hung up the cleats there, there have been a few Crespo, etc. Higuain seems to be able to do it except when they need it the most. And now he's not in the picture anymore. It's gonna be really interesting. And just to give you an idea, we still don't know who is going to show up. I mean, obviously, Lionel Messi is the man, but who knows what mentality he's gonna be in? Plus, with the possibility of clubs not allowing their star players to head back to South America because of the pandemic. Although FIFA today saying they're gonna force the clubs, good luck trying to force the clubs. It's just gonna be interesting. But again, South America, much more than almost anywhere else they put on that Albiceleste, they'll put on that yellow jersey and Argentina, Ecuador just gonna go at it tooth and nail sometimes because they have more to prove because they don't get that much of a stanch on the main stage in the spotlight. If you get those domestic players, you could be an even better game you're looking at in Ecuador squad that last time got out to a very good starting at the midway point. Look, to be assured of the top spot, ended up basically trying to hang on at the very end. This is the very, very first round of World Cup Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. And unlike other places, North America, Europe around the world, where they'll basically splinter everyone off into groups. This is one of the things that makes South American World Cup qualifying the best - Everyone plays everyone.

Matt Striker: FITE is born out of the blood of fighting, but we are moving on to sports. The physical play, the South American style is rivaled. I'd say maybe Only by mid 19-18ies Italian play. Tell a little bit about the physicality that we might see well again.

Phil Schoen: Things have changed a little bit because you now have video review. You have extra assistance, you have the fourth official. When the national teams get out there, they give them a little bit more rain. They don't wanna let players get injured, but there is a physicality to it. It's not like a sneeze will draw a foul or a penalty. Sometimes again, no blood, no foul. It's the old axiom. Sometimes it gets to that point, and not in a dirty way. I think there's a respect. There's a mutual respect. There's a professionalism to it. There's a pragmatism to it. Sometimes even taking a red card is better than giving up a goal. So. They do let their emotions out onto the field, sometimes through their shouting, sometimes through their cleats.

Matt Striker: So, ladies and gentlemen, we are talking to Phil Schoen, We're talking about October 8th and 9th. It's the South American World Cup Qualifiers. We're gonna have rounds One and Two exclusively right here on FITE. We're talking about some of the games that we're gonna see. We'll see Brazil and Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador will see a very physical style of play.

Before we let you go, predictions which teams are coming out here and again to the new viewer, What's the one thing you think they'll take away from us?

Phil Schoen: I would hope they would sense the passion. It is a sport. It is a game. There's got to be entertainment. And with that in mind, the passion telling a story. And there are so many stories. These go back to the foundation of football, the very first World Cup, obviously, in Uruguay, they're hoping to get the next one after the US and North America host in 26. With a brand new world that we're living in, who knows who's going to show up? They also have the next round of games on that Tuesday, for example, otherwise gonna be the team Ecuador faces next, Argentina is gonna have to go up to altitude to face Bolivia in La Paz. Sometimes I'll even put two separate teams just to avoid that and give one team a chance to acclimate. I don't think they're gonna have that luxury this time around. You're looking at 18 contests before they determine who are going to be the four, maybe five teams that advance to Qatar 2022.

Matt Striker: Phil, where can folks find you?

Phil Schoen: Well, for me personally, my website philschoen.com, But you can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Matt Striker: It's October 8th and 9th - South American World Cup Qualifiers rounds one and two. To find out more download the FITE app or go to FITE.tv on behalf of Phil, everyone over a FIFA everyone behind me over a FITE on that I'm saying all the talk is done. The only thing left to do is fight!

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