Wednesday, June 10, 2009

World Cup 2010 Qualifying Report: Rest of the World


As we've just mentioned in our TV Preview, Asia is awash with three new countries that have qualified for the Finals in South Africa next year.

From Group 1, Australia and Japan are assured of occupying the top two places after the Aussies played out a goalless draw against Qatar and Japan won 1-0 away to Uzbekistan.

In Group 2, South Korea made it seven Finals in a row thanks to a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates. North Korea stay second but are now three points behind their near neighbours after a goalless draw at home to Iran who stay in fourth.

In next Wednesday's fixtures, Iran travel to Seoul to play South Korea while Saudi Arabia will be hoping to move up from third in Group 2 when they play host to North Korea.


It's still early days in the final round of African qualifying, but there's already been some eye-opening results from last weekend's matches.

African champions Egypt are still without a win after two games thanks to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Group C leaders Algeria. All three of the goals for The Desert Foxes came after an hour of play in a 17-minute spell that left Egypt shell-shocked. Al Ahly's Mohamed Aboutrika pulled one back with four minutes remaining, but Egypt will now be looking at their next fixture against Rwanda as a must-win if they're to play in South Africa next year.

Elsewhere Cameroon and Morocco played out a 0-0 draw in Yaounde that will damage both team's chances of progressing in Group A. Gabon, however, beat Togo 3-0 to top the group with two wins out of two leaving both the bookies' favourites in the bottom half of the table.

The other matches around Africa provided fewer shocks - Tunisia maintained their 100% record in Group B with a 2-0 win over Mozambique while Nigeria moved up to second with a 3-0 victory over Kenya that featured two goals from Inter's Victor Obinna.

In Group E, Ivory Coast got their second win of the campaign, 2-1 over Guinea, but they have Burkino Faso for company on six points after they beat Malawi 1-0. Finally in Group D, Ghana predictably maintained their perfect start thanks to a 2-0 win in Mali which gives them a three-point lead over Benin.

South America

After months of dominance in the South American round-robin, Paraguay have finally been knocked off their perch by Brazil who now lead the group table on goal difference.

While Brazil were thumping rivals Uruguay 4-0 in Porto Alegre, Paraguay were struggling to deal with an in-form Chile side who beat them 2-0 in Asuncion. Dunga's side will be delighted with their first win over the Uruguayans since 1976, especially as it comes at a time when Paraguay extend their current run without a win to three. Brazil's goals came from Barcelona's Dani Alves, Juan, Luis Fabiano and Real Madrid's latest signing, Kaka.

For Chile, however, the gap between them and the leaders is now just a single point and a win at home to Bolivia tonight could see them lead the group if other results go in their favour.

In other news, Argentina recovered from their recent 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Bolivians by scrambling to a 1-0 win over Colombia. Daniel Diaz was on hand with a goal after 55 minutes to give Maradona's men a five point gap ahead of fifth-placed Uruguay.

At the bottom, Peru slumped to their eighth defeat in thirteen games, 2-1 at the hands of Ecuador, while Venezuela surprisingly beat Bolivia 1-0 in La Paz to totally make a mockery of Maradona's claims that playing at altitude can seriously harm a team's performance.

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