Monday, September 05, 2005

Teams bound for the World Cup in Germany

The World Cup in Germany is approaching. Some teams are almost surely qualified - like Ghana... Actually, there is still a largelly theoretical chance that Ghana will not qualify (a large victory to Congo against South Africa, and Ghana losing against Cape Verde).

But after this weekend's qualifiers we have nine teams who we will be sure to see next year in Germany:
  • Germany: The hosts are not playing qualifiers, but are not overly scary, after losing to Slovakia.
  • Argentina: Already been qualified for a couple of months, and losing to Paraguay changes nothing.
  • Brazil: The defending champs made sure they would be in Germany by destroying Chile 5-0.
  • USA: This will be the fifth world cup in a row for the North Americans, who defeated their Mexican arch-rivals 2-0 in Ohio last Saturday.
  • Ukraine: This will be the first world cup for the Ukrainians, after a 1-1 with Georgia. That they are the first European team to qualify besides the hosts, is only the more impressive when seeing their qualifying group 2, with teams such as Turkey, Greece and Denmark.
  • Japan: The Japanese are no surprise qualifiers in the Asian zone, and will be a welcome team in Germany.
  • Iran: Trailing Japan in the Asian qualifiers Stage 3 Group B, the Iranians will make their first appearance since France 1998, when their most memorable moment was to defeat a weak US side.
  • South Corea: One of the strongest Asian sides since their 1986 appearance, they will have to fight hard to defend their semifinal spot of the World Cup in 2002.
  • Saudi Arabia: Surely won the Group A of the Asian qualifiers Stage 3 Group B in front of South Corea.
Other countries, like Mexico, Tunisia, Portugal, Uzbekistan or Cameroon, are only one step away from certain participation in the World Cup next year. Furthermore, Australia is sure to get (yet another) a chance against South America's number 5 team, after defeating Samoa 7-0 in the first play-off of the Oceania qualifying zone.

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