Thursday, October 13, 2005

World Cup 2006 Qualifiers

Three more teams qualified for the World Cup 2006 after yesterday’s qualifiers:

  • France: The French destroyed Cyprus 4-0, and with a tie in Switzerland’s match against Ireland, the French swept to top of the group, after much difficulty. First time since 1986 France qualifies “by itself”… (in 1998 they qualified as hosts, and in 2002 as defending champions).
  • Serbia-Montenegro: Defeating Bosnia-Herzegovina in the last match, gave the Serbians the top spot in the group in front of Spain.
  • Sweden: It was very unlikely that Sweden would not qualify before yesterday's match, even if losing to Iceland at home. However, the strong Swedes won a 3-1 victory, and are now ready for Germany.

With these, 27 teams are now ready for Germany 2006. There are five more teams to go, and they will be found among the following:

  • Trinidad/Tobago-Bahrain: This will be the play-off game between the Asian play-off winner and number 4 in the North- Central America zone. I bet Uzbekistan is disappointed it was not them instead of Bahrain, after their victory in the first match was annulled. Instead Bahrain made it through by tying 1-1 away, and getting 0-0 at home.
  • Uruguay-Australia: Uruguay made sure they would get the fifth spot in South America, by defeating Argentina 1-0 in Montevideo in their last group match. Australia has never won a play-off against a South American fifth before, and will again have a hard time against the seasoned double-World Champions.

The draw for the European play-offs will be tomorrow (Friday October 14th), but there will be the following teams in the bowl:

  • Spain: Will be a hard team for anybody to defeat, but hardly impossible. A 6-0 win over San Marino only gave them second spot after the Serbians.
  • Czech Republic: With a resounding 3-0 victory against Finland in their last match, the Czechs squeezed past the Romanians on the second spot.
  • Turkey: With a difficult 1-0 away-victory against Albania, the silver-medallists from 2002, grabbed the second spot in front of a disappointed Danish side.
  • Slovakia: After a nerve-wrecking 0-0 at home against Russia, the Slovakians got the second spot, and will have another chance at qualifying for their first world cup.
  • Switzerland: 0-0 in Ireland was enough for the Swiss to get a play-off match.
  • Norway: The Norwegians were in a group which was easily won by Italy. They will surely have their hands full against any coming adversary in the play-off.

The first three teams (Spain, Czechia and Turkey) are all top seeded, and can therefore not draw one another. Any of the three other teams will surely have a hard time against either of them, but it is certainly not impossible!

By November we should know the final list of countries who will fight for the trophy next summer!

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