Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The qualifiers team in Asia till 9/9/2009

The qualifiers team till 9/9/2009


South Africa


Monday, September 7, 2009

Butcher lauds Burley achievements

Terry Butcher has paid tribute to George Burley for taking Scotland to within 90 minutes of a 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ play-off, despite a campaign marred by criticism and bad luck. The relationship between the pair stretches all the way back to their playing days together at Ipswich Town in the 1970s and 1980s, but the former England defender has admitted he has seen Burley in a new light since becoming Scotland coach.
Burley has endured a tumultuous 18-month rein so far, which has included Kris Boyd walking out on the national team, the infamous 'Boozegate' affair, Chris Iwelumo missing a sitter, a whole host of injury problems and less than inspiring results on the pitch. Despite the hurdles, Scotland head into their final qualifier against the Netherlands on Wednesday night still with a chance of securing second place in Group 9 and a play-off place which could prove to be their ticket to South Africa next summer.
"I played in the same team as George and he broke my cheekbone many years ago, so I know how determined he is," said assistant coach Butcher. "He is a strong character. I didn't realise how tough the job was but, having seen George in it, he has handled it very well.
"He is the most positive man I've ever met. I think everybody has responded to the positivity and belief and spirit that he has. No-one would have withstood the hullabaloo and everything else that has gone with the job but he has focused on one thing.
"To get into this position considering all that is quite remarkable. But there is no point being in this position and not doing it on Wednesday. We want to make sure we make that final step and the players are determined to do that.
"George has been the same person all the time. He gets animated but never gets down. I've never seen him down. He has always been upbeat and he has certainly inspired me because I plumb the depths when we lose because I'm that sort of person. He is terrific and the whole squad has been terrific as well."

Clingan: It would be unreal

Coventry midfielder Sammy Clingan admits that playing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ would be "unreal". The 25-year-old hopes to take another step towards that exciting possibility on Wednesday at Windsor Park.
Victory for Northern Ireland in the qualifier against Slovakia would see them overtake the Group 3 leaders, with only one match, against Czech Republic, remaining.
Clingan said: "This is probably the biggest game I have been involved in, given what is at stake. To get to the World Cup would be unreal. It is what dreams are made of. But we all know it is going to be a hard shift against Slovakia."
RevengeNorthern Ireland are now unbeaten in five competitive matches and secured a point against Poland in Chorzow at the weekend. Nigel Worthington's side have made up ground after a poor start, which saw them lose 2-1 to Slovakia in the opening game.
"It would be great to beat them and get our own back," said Clingan. "There is good camaraderie in the camp and the confidence is growing. "There is a lot of belief in the squad and to take four points off Poland is something we would have accepted at the beginning of the campaign.
"Teams can also be a bit intimated when they come to Windsor Park. The fans get right behind us and the players really appreciate that. It should be another special night. Hopefully we can put a good performance in and get the right result."
Kee dreamMeanwhile, forward Billy Kee has been backed to take promotion to the senior squad in his stride. That's the verdict of U-21 coach Steve Beaglehole, who is also coach at Kee's parent club Leicester City.
The 18-year-old has been loaned out to League Two side Accrington Stanley to gain experience, after suffering a knee injury last season that curtailed his progress. Kee was due to play for the U-21s against Iceland tomorrow, but instead has a date in Belfast as Kyle Lafferty may be sidelined with a knee injury.
Beaglehole said: "It is quiet unbelievable what is happening to Billy. It is the stuff you read about in comics - real Roy of the Rovers. A lot of the time you wonder if the fear factor will kick in when you promote a player.
"But Billy will be able to cope, no problem. If he was required in the game, it would not faze him."

Torres: It should all be over

Fernando Torres admits he can hardly believe Spain have still not booked their place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ despite winning all seven of their qualifiers to date.
The European Champions defeated Belgium 5-0 in La Coruna on Saturday to maintain their six-point advantage over Bosnia-Herzegovina at the top of Group Five.
With three qualifiers still to play, Vincente Del Bosque's men are still not guaranteed top spot. "It seems incredible that we are not yet qualified," Liverpool striker Torres told a press conference.
Spain could secure qualification with victory over Estonia in Merida on Wednesday, though, provided Bosnia-Herzegovina do not beat Turkey the same day. Even a draw could be enough if Bosnia-Herzegovina lose.

Henry denies Domenech criticism

France's increasingly fraught qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ deepened on Monday when captain Thierry Henry denied he had criticised coach Raymond Domenech in front of the rest of the squad.
Squad-mate and fellow 2006 FIFA World Cup finalist Florent Malouda also revealed that he had only learnt he was not even among the substitutes for last Saturday's qualifier with Romania at the Stade de France when he entered the dressingroom and he saw there was no shirt for him.
Henry's denial - Le Parisien claimed on Monday that in Friday's team meeting the Barcelona star had publicly slammed Domenech - and Malouda's clear displeasure at the manner in which he learnt of his non-selection will do nothing for morale as they head for a crucial qualifier with Group Seven leaders Serbia on Wednesday.
Henry was forced to clarify what had gone on on Friday on the eve of the 1-1 draw which left the French four points adrift of the Serbs with just three matches remaining and in danger of having to go through a play-off to progress to South Africa.

There was a discussion between the squad and the coach as is usual. It was a constructive discussion... which must stay between the players and the coach.
Thierry Henry
"Nothing happened on Friday evening," protested Henry to French TV station TF1. "There was a discussion between the squad and the coach as is usual. It was a constructive discussion... which must stay between the players and the coach. I did not question the coach's qualities. There was never a clash between us," added Henry, who was quoted by Le Parisien as telling Domenech that the players had no idea where they were to play and lacked any direction.
Henry, who scored France's goal in the Romania match, insisted the camp was a happy one, something clearly not in Malouda's vocabulary. "I saw when I entered the dressingroom that there no shirt had been prepared for me," the Chelsea star - who has enjoyed distant relations with Domenech having criticised him - told RTL radio station in an interview recorded on Sunday but only broadcast on Monday.
"I deduced from that that I was in either the starting line-up or the substitutes bench, that is how I came to learn of it," he went on. "I was surprised, I thought at the very least I would feature at some stage. However, it is important to support ones friends, even from the stands, one has to get over one's disappointment.
"One is powerless to do anything sitting in the stands, one has fleas in ones pants, but that is how it is, it is the choice of the coach," Malouda added. "It is a delicate matter to discuss, and is not an agreeable experience to live through, but it is important not to think about it too much, even if it is disappointing."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Swedes surge as France flounder

Sweden gave some much-needed impetus to their qualification hopes with a 2-1 victory over Hungary on Saturday, while 2006 FIFA World Cup™ runners-up France were held 1-1 at home by Romania and look to be heading towards the play-offs.
In total, 21 qualifiers were held across Europe, but despite a raft of goals no team was able to join the Netherlands in sealing themselves a place in South Africa next summer. Game of the dayDenmark 1-1 PortugalGoals: Nicklas Bendtner 42; Liedson 86
Semi-finalists in Germany three years ago, Portugal can still hope to complete a miraculous comeback and book themselves a ticket to the global showcase. If they do pull it off they can thank newcomer Liedson, their Brazilian-born striker, who equalised four minutes from time in Denmark. The hosts seemed to have the match under control after taking the lead through Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner on 42 minutes, but they were unable to hold on and now Portugal must win their last three matches - including two meetings with Hungary - to give themselves a chance of reaching South Africa. Surprise of the dayFrance 1-1 RomaniaGoals: Thierry Henry 48; Julien Escude 55 og
Held at home by Romania, France no longer control their own destiny in the race for top spot in Group 7 and automatic qualification. Les Bleus managed to open the scoring through Thierry Henry but had to settle for a point following a Julien Escude own goal, with their big-name forwards failing to conjure up a winner. Raymond Domenech's side now need all three points in Serbia on Wednesday to secure at least a play-off berth. The other gamesSweden owe the unique talent that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic a debt of gratitude after the Barcelona forward earned them a 2-1 victory over Hungary in the dying moments. That result brought Sweden to within a point of the play-off spot in Group 1 and five points shy of leaders Denmark in a pool where anything can still happen. Earlier, they had broken the deadlock through Olympiakos defender Olof Mellberg, only for their opponents to draw level via Szabolcs Huszti's 79th-minute penalty.Switzerland also had cause to celebrate an excellent win after they beat Greece 2-0 in Group 2, with Stephane Grichting and Marco Padalino grabbing late goals. The Swiss now hold a three-point advantage over the former European champions and enjoy the same gap to surprise contenders Latvia, who triumphed 1-0 in Israel.
In Group 3, meanwhile, Czech Republic still refuse to let their chances die once and for all. Twice behind in Slovakia, they managed to pull themselves level on both occasions. Daniel Pudil's 68th minute strike responded to Stanislav Sestak's 59th-minute opener before Milan Baros' 83rd minute effort restored parity following a Marek Hamsik strike on 73 minutes. Elsewhere in the section, Northern Ireland picked up a precious 1-1 draw in Poland, all of which leaves five teams still hopeful of going through.
Russia moved to within a point of frontrunners Germany in Group 4 thanks to a 3-0 win over Liechtenstein, Roman Pavlyuchenko firing two of their goals from the penalty spot. First place in the pool will no doubt come down to the 10 October meeting between the leading duo in Moscow, with Finland five points out of second despite their 2-1 success in Azerbaijan.
In Group 5, the battle for second spot continues between Bosnia-Herzegovina, who won 2-0 in Armenia, and Turkey, 4-2 victors over Estonia. Turkey visit their main rivals on Wednesday in what will surely be a decisive game in the race for a play-off ticket. European champions Spain are out of sight after clinching their seventh consecutive victory in the group, 5-0 against Belgium.
Ukraine saw off visitors Andorra 5-0 to boost their goal difference in Group 6 and stay close to Croatia, who needed Ivan Rakitic's 24th-minute effort to overcome Belarus. The two play-off place hopefuls both face away games in midweek, Ukraine travelling to Belarus and Croatia visiting comfortable leaders England.
In Group 8, the top three all won, with Bulgaria managing to prevail in style, downing Montenegro 4-1 after being level 1-1 at the break. Pacesetters Italy won 2-0 in Georgia, thanks in part to a Kakha Kaladze own goal, while Republic of Ireland grabbed a 2-1 victory in Cyprus courtesy of an 83rd-minute Robbie Keane strike. Bulgaria will put their qualification dreams on the line in Italy on Wednesday.
Lastly, Scotland gave their prospects of finishing second in Group 9 a serious shot in the arm by seeing off Macedonia 2-0, a result which lifted them to within a mere 11 points of the already-qualified Netherlands. That is unlikely to be enough to guarantee the Scots a play-off place just yet, however, with just five teams in the section.The statEngland have scored 26 goals through 11 different players since the start of the qualifiers - the same number of goalscorers as Slovakia, who have registered seven fewer strikes. Germany, on the other hand, have hit 20 goals with nine players finding the net.Goal of the dayDenmark 1-1 Portugal: Nicklas Bendtner 42
Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner scored a stunning goal in the shadows of half-time to help his side to a 1-1 draw against Portugal and within touching distance of South Africa 2010. Bendtner leapt high to control a cross from the right on his chest and in one deft movement the Arsenal man thrashed the ball home with his left foot before any defenders could react.
What they said"What can we do to put these chances away? We can't do anything more in our approach play. It'll have to happen eventually," Raymond Domenech, France coach Have your sayWill Portugal and Sweden be able to turn their situation around in Group 1? Can France still go through after their latest disappointment?

Dark clouds gather for Argentina

Sixteen years ago to the day, Argentinian football experienced one of its darkest hours when the national side lost 5-0 to Colombia at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires. That defeat, their first at home in FIFA World Cup™ qualifying, consigned La Albiceleste to a play-off against Australia.
The man who proved their saviour on that occasion was Diego Maradona, and now, over a decade and a half later, El Diez finds himself in a similar situation, albeit on the other side of the touchline. With just three crucial games left in the group, can coach Maradona steer his side to safety and a place in South Africa?
The immediate outlook is somewhat bleak. Fresh from defeat to their fiercest rivals in Rosario, Maradona now takes his beleaguered squad to Paraguay for a meeting with Gerardo Martino's ever-combative side. With only two points separating them from Colombia and Ecuador in fifth and sixth respectively, Argentina's margin for error is decreasing with every game.

We had to beat Brazil and we lost. There's no time for feeling sorry for yourself, though. You have to keep looking forward.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona
"I'm feeling composed. There's no cause for alarm," said a calm but clearly downcast Maradona in the wake of the 3-1 defeat. "It won't be easy to go to Paraguay, but we'll see what solutions we can find for our problems and try and take the three points. Anything can happen in football as today's game showed. We had to beat Brazil and we lost. There's no time for feeling sorry for yourself, though. You have to keep looking forward."
Causes for concernThough the Paraguayans' form may have dipped a little of late, Argentina have been unimpressive on the road throughout the qualifying competition. Their last away win in the group came on Matchday 2, in October 2007, when Alfio Basile oversaw a 2-0 win in Venezuela. Of the six away matches since, La Albiceleste have lost four and drawn two, letting in 12 goals in scoring only three in the process.
"I'm angry we lost today and that we're in this situation now," said a frustrated Carlos Tevez after the final whistle in Rosario. "I thought we were the better side today but they had three chances and took the lot. We need to keep on working and stay strong. It won't be easy in Paraguay but we'll be going there to fight. We need to win."
The vastly experienced Javier Zanetti was in similarly defiant mood. "There's no time to lose," he said. "We need to change our mindset and start thinking about Paraguay. We didn't play well today and we paid very dearly for our lack of concentration at set-pieces. At this level mistakes like those can cost you games, but we hope to improve in those areas for Wednesday."

Brazil have got some great players. They beat us comfortably. But let's make one thing clear: the responsibility is all mine.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona
Those dead-ball lapses led to Brazil's first two goals, when Luisao and then Luis Fabiano had all the space and time they needed to beat Mariano Andujar. "I'm angry and sad about the result," said the Argentina goalkeeper before attempting to sound a more optimistic note ahead of their midweek engagement in Asuncion."A good result in Paraguay will change everything and if we play like we did against Ecuador and at times tonight, we'll be ok. The most important thing is to go out and win, although we passed up a really good chance tonight."
Shouldering the blameDespite the defeat, Maradona refused to criticise his players, choosing instead to give them his complete backing. "I've got no complaints about my players," he said. "I wasn't happy when Bolivia thrashed us, but I've got nothing to say today. We started better than Brazil and then they go and score with their first two chances. It was all uphill for us after that but let's make one thing clear: the responsibility is all mine."
Jesus Datolo's wonder strike breathed new life into the home side only for Luis Fabiano to pop up four minutes later and halt the hoped-for comeback in its tracks. "We didn't have a chance," continued the Mexico 1986 winner. "We had to take risks and when we fell behind we had to go and look for an equaliser. Brazil have got some great players and they hit us at just the right times. They beat us comfortably."
On the bright side for Maradona, he has no injury or suspension worries and will be able to select from a full squad for the decisive meeting with Paraguay, now a make-or-break game for the Argentinians.
"This isn't over," vowed Andujar. "We need to pick ourselves up quickly because we have another final coming up. It's not over and it's still in our hands."Argentina have three games to keep it that way.

Ghana qualify for South Africa

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien scored as Ghana defeated Sudan 2-0 in Accra to become the first African nation other than the hosts to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari gave the Black Stars an early lead and Essien added a second soon after half-time, unleashing a drive that flew into the net at the near post.
The result, coupled with closest challengers Benin and Mali drawing 1-1 in Cotonou a few hours before, left the Ghanaian side boasting a 100 per cent record with an unassailable seven-point Group D advantage. It will be the second successive FIFA World Cup appearance for Ghana, who did best of the five African teams in Germany three years ago by reaching the knockout second round before losing 3-0 to defending champions Brazil.
"It was so important to win, regardless of how we achieved the result. It is still special for us professionals to return home and bring joy to the people of Ghana," Essien said.
"Teamwork brought us success, as in previous qualifiers. The side did not feel under pressure because we are used to playing in front of packed crowds like the one in Accra tonight.
"The people of Ghana wanted us to win and we did not let them down," he said. "What a fantastic feeling to be the first African country to qualify for the first World Cup to be staged in Africa."
Serbia-born coach Milovan Rajevac said: "It is a priceless honour for my players to represent their country and qualify for the World Cup.
"This team is very hungry to go to the finals again. My players are aware of what they can achieve and have the quality to go far. I always believed we would qualify and am very confident about the future."
A quarter of the 32 qualifying nations for the first FIFA World Cup to be staged in Africa are now known, with Ghana joining Australia, Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, Korea DPR, Korea Republic and hosts South Africa.

What a fantastic feeling to be the first African country to qualify for the first World Cup to be staged in Africa.
Michael Essien of Ghana
Elsewhere, Mali had threatened to put Ghanaian celebrations on hold by taking the lead through former France youth international Mamadou Samassa on 71 minutes only for Mohamed Aoudou to equalise three minutes from full-time.
Tunisia snatched a 2-2 draw in Nigeria thanks to an 90th-minute Oussama Darragi goal in a top-of-the-table Group B match to maintain a two-point lead with two rounds left. A capacity 60,000 crowd saw Osaze Odemwingie fire the Super Eagles into the lead with a close-range shot midway through the first half, only for Nabil Taider to level soon after from a superb curling drive. Michael Eneramo converted a low cross ten minutes from full-time to put the home team ahead again, only for Darragi to hammer a Haitham Mrabet pass into the net from an acute angle.
Mozambique edged Kenya 1-0 in the same group courtesy of a goal midway through the second half from veteran South Africa-based striker Manuel 'Tico Tico' Bucuane. Tunisia have eight points, Nigeria six, Mozambique four and Kenya three, with the leaders chasing a fourth consecutive appearance at the quadrennial showcase of international football.
Morocco fightbackAdel Taarabt scored two minutes into stoppage time as Morocco were rewarded for some enterprising second-half play with a 1-1 draw away to Togo in a Group A match. Togo led from the fourth minute through Moustapaha Salifou as they returned to Lome after a three-match ban.
Gabon have six points, Togo five, Cameroon four and Morocco three, although the Indomitable Lions have a chance to go top Wednesday when they host the surprise pacesetters in Yaounde. The five group winners qualify for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa between 11 June and 11 July and the top three finishers in each mini-league secure places at the Africa Cup of Nations five months earlier with hosts Angola.