Saturday, October 10, 2009

News Of The World - Who's in South Africa 2010

You all know I love my football. I'm all for all things Argentina, but I also enjoy watching international football from all across the globe.

Having a relatively quiet day at home in Buenos Aires, with cable TV and an internet connection, I was able to enjoy almost 24 straight hours of World Cup Qualifiers from many regions around the world and here are my takes from a very busy and exciting super-Saturday.

Chronologically speaking, Ivory Coast were the first of the day to secure a ticket for their second consecutive World Cup. Led by the fantastic (if only he didn't dive that much) Didier DROGBA, the Elephants came from behind to get a draw away to Malawi and join South Africa and Ghana as African representatives next year. They wait for the other three from that continent with Cameroon, Tunisia and Egypt being favourites but Gabon, Nigeria and Algeria also having chances.

I then watched as the prolific Miroslav KLOSE scored for Germany to book their place at the mighty Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. That 1-0 win sent Russia to the European playoffs.

Italy trailed twice in Dublin against Ireland but they equalized twice through Argentine-born Mauro CAMORANESI and Alberto GILARDINO. That point was enough for them to go to South Africa and try to defend the title they obtained 3 years ago in Germany.

Denmark and Serbia were the two unlikely group-winners to seal their qualification on Saturday. On paper at least, Nicklas BENDTNER's Denmark weren't favourites to win in a group containing Cristiano RONALDO's Portugal and Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC's Sweden. They won the group and they are still undefeated with only one game to go.

A crucial win for Portugal over Hungary left them in the driver's seat as they need to beat Malta at home in their last match to be sure of a place in the playoffs.

The Serbs stunned many as they beat France to the top spot in Group 7. They defeated Romania 5-0 at home and they also return to the World Cup where they shared group with Argentina and our three rivals from the first round in Germany (Netherlands, Ivory Coast and Serbia -although it was called Serbia and Montenegro back then-) are all through to the next World Cup while we still have to wait some more.

Than it was all about Argentina and South America.

Chile were impressive and they scored four against Colombia to clinch their place in a World Cup for the first time since 1998. They are still partying in the streets of Santiago and BIELSA is being considered pretty much as someone who has revolutionised Chilean football.

Venezuela crashed out at the expense of Paraguay (although mathematically they are still in with a chance. They need to beat Brazil by a huge difference, hope for Chile to beat Ecuador and for Argentina to put a good few goals past Uruguay...not gonna happen, is it?).

We all know what happened with Argentina and there's only Ecuador v. Uruguay to talk about.

What a crazy game that was. Ecuador got in front through VALENCIA and only one minute later, the excellent Luis SUAREZ levelled the scoring for Uruguay. It looked like the match was heading for a draw which would have complicated Argentina even further as we needed someone to win that game. I preferred Ecuador to win it so Uruguay would have nothing to play for on Wednesday and Argentina would have at least secured 5th place.

But FORLAN, from the penalty spot, gave Uruguay a huge win that turned out to be a good result as we now have a nice advantage over Ecuador and if they don't win in Chile, a draw will get us to South Africa automatically.

Finally, it was the turn for CONCACAF. A region we should be paying attention too. A few weeks ago, Mexico were in fourth place and hence, they were the ones who would have been facing the fifth-placed team from South America. Last week it was Costa Rica. This's Honduras!

First things firts, the USA and Mexico, the two clear powers from that region, have both clinched their tickets to the World Cup. The Americans defeated Honduras 3-2 away from home, whilst Mexico eliminated El Salvador with a 4-1 at the Azteca.

Fourth-place, and a playoff with either Argentina, Uruguay or Ecuador will now be decided between Costa Rica and Honduras.

They are both away from home with Honduras visiting El Salvador, whilst Costa Rica travels to the USA. Honduras need to win and they need Costa Rica to draw or lose in the USA as Honduras have better goal difference than the Ticos.

That concludes my roundup of international football which saw the number of teams qualified to South Africa 2010 increase from 11 to 19. We still need to find out which will be the remaining 13.

Here's the full list of teams that will be in South Africa 2010:

South Africa (host nation)

Ghana; Ivory Coast

Australia; Japan; South Korea; North Korea.

Denmark; Spain; Germany; Italy; Netherlands; Serbia; England.

South America:
Brazil; Paraguay; Chile.

USA; Mexico.

Bahrain and New Zealand played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their playoffs. The winner of that matchup will be on their way to South Africa.


John said...

Beside our game against Peru, the only other match that caught my attention was the play off between Bahrain and New Zealand. Interesting to see either one of them in South Africa.

The Bahrainis were very unlucky having created more chances and even hit the post twice. The All Whites can take advantage from this situation but will need to do more than just defending at home.

Mohd said...

god, i never thought i will live to see Arg struggling to reach the world cup!..after 1994 that is :)

anyway, i truly wish Chile get at least a draw with Ecuador because i honestly cannot think of a way on how Urguay won't beat us. Damn Suarez and Forlan can rip our defence appart!
Common Bielsa, help us out...

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