Football news 2021: USA misses Olympics, loses to Honduras, furious reaction

The knives are out after America failed once again in its Olympics bid, a horrifying blunder costing the country a spot at the Tokyo Games.

Honduras punched their ticket to the Tokyo Games, denying the United States a place in the Olympic football tournament with a 2-1 semi-final victory in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

Juan Carlos Obregon scored in first-half injury time and Luis Palma added a second for Honduras in the 47th minute when US goalkeeper David Ochoa’s attempt to clear the ball went horribly wrong, ricocheting off Palma and into the goal.

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Jackson Yueill pulled one back for the United States in the 52nd minute with a blast from outside the box.

But Honduras held on to qualify for their fifth Olympics — which sees countries compete with under-23 sides — and fourth in a row. The United States, meanwhile, will miss their third straight Games, last qualifying in 2008.

It was the second straight time they were denied by Honduras, who also derailed their bid for a 2016 Rio de Janeiro berth.

American players were visibly distraught after full-time, holding their heads in their hands as Honduras celebrated.

One Honduran player showed terrific sportsmanship, consoling Ochoa, who was devastated his mistake had cost his country a shot at the Olympics.

A US men’s team hasn’t played in a major international tournament since the 2014 World Cup, and American football fans aren’t impressed.

Journalist Grant Wahl called Ochoa’s blunder “embarrassing” and was scathing of the team’s inability to qualify.

“Already seeing excuses and ‘not really that big of a deal’ if the US men fail to qualify for the Olympics tonight. Nonsense. US men’s soccer needs to stop failing to qualify for marquee events,” Wahl tweeted.

“Third-straight Olympic qualifying debacle for the US men’s program.”

CBS Sports football expert Luis Miguel Echegaray tweeted before the match: “Whatever happens in this Olympic qualifier … I echo once again this harsh but honest message, which is also for the men’s senior team: Stop underestimating your opponent because guess what, you ain’t done s*** recently.”

USA Today’s Andrew Joseph wrote: “For all the strides US Soccer has made with its men’s program in recent years, Sunday’s failure to reach the 2021 Olympics felt like a major step back.”

Journalist Clint Smith tweeted: “Honduras deserved to win. US weren’t good enough. Same story different year. Three straight failures to qualify for the Olympics. It’s just not good enough.”

The second qualifier from the North and Central America and Caribbean region saw Mexico beat Canada 3-0 and secure their 12th trip to the Olympics.

With AFP

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