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 Post subject: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Mar 2012, 19:39 
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Using near duplicate posts from the forum of Non League matters http://nonleaguematters.co.uk/forum/gforum.cgi?
I am trying to bring back the lost World Cup thread. I will do this in a series of posts. Comments are by me, unless I give the username (on nonleague matters) of additional interesting comments


June 1 2011
With all the fuss over the President, FIFA seem to have forgotten that there is a World Cup in just three years time. The main qualification draw is due on 30th July, but some teams will not make it that far.

Four countries are not entered at present. The number could change before the draw.

The four are Brunei (suspended at the time of the AFC's preliminary draw, and so excluded)
plus Bhutan, Guam and Mauritania - assumedly for their own reasons

Yesterday, FIFA decided to end suspensions of Brunei and Bosnia - this is too late for Brunei to take part in the 2014 World Cup, but allows Bosnia to play their Euro qualifier in Romania on Friday. The Indonesian question has been deferred to 31 July, by which time they will probably have been knocked out of the World Cup!!

The first qualifying games are very soon, but FIFA's own website only gives the draws, and none of the fixtures. According to Wikipedia, the opening game will be Anguilla v Dominican Republic on Friday, followed by Saint Lucia v Aruba on Sunday. The return legs are on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

Three more CONCACAF qualifyers take place in early July (Wikipedia schedule)

Asia has eight qualifying games, with the first legs scheduled for 29 June and returns on 3 July, and a further series (including Turkmenistan v indonesia) at the end of the month

June 2 2011
With FIFA deciding the opening games in the 2014 World Cup are not worthy of their own web site, it has been difficult to confirm the opening fixtures. This was not helped by our friends at Wikipedia and Soccerway showing different dates, (neither were correct).

I made another mistake (which was me) in the earlier post. Indonesia must sort out its election by the end of June in order to avoid suspension, so they could miss out on the World Cup.

Anyway, the opening game in the 2014 World Cup is in fact this Saturday, 11 pm our time (6 pm local) when St. Lucia take on Aruba. The return match in on 8th June (same kick off time), when one of the pair will have the "honour" of becoming the first side to get knocked out of the 2014 World Cup. That will leave 203 teams in competition, so a further 171 need to be knocked out before the finals can commence.

June 6 2011
Even if we are to blame CONCACAF, rather than FIFA, it is farcical.
The St Lucia v Aruba game was not played this weekend. CONCACAF and Soccerway both have the match down as cancelled, with the second leg still too to be played in midweek.

Wikipedia has it down for next month, meaning the opening World Cup game will be Montserrat v Belize (in Trinidad & Tobago), on 15 June.

June 15 2011
The World Cup should start tonight with the Montserrat v Belize game in Trinidad.
However, the Government of Belize says that any side put out by the Football Federation of Belize cannot represent the nation. FIFA may suspend Belize from International football from July 1.

http://www.soccerway.com/...world-cup-qualifier/

The problem appears similar to the one that earned the Brunei FA a ban that lasted around 18 months, and was lifted too late to allow Brunei to play in the 2014 World Cup

June 16 2011
Montserrat 2-5 Belize played at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Trinidad - reported crowd of 150
Addition remark, by Andy E. Chatham
The manager of Montserrat is Kenny Dyer, who played for Chatham Town and quite a lot of other Isthmian League clubs. Apparently one of the team plays for Cockfosters in the Spartan South Midlands League!
Junior Mendes played two games for Montserrat (wiki). He was at Ayr 2009-10 season, but soccerbase does not record him as playing in 2010-11. Born in South London, he has been on the books of Chelsea, St Mirren, Carlisle, Dunfermline, Mansfield, Huddersfield, Northampton, Grimsby, Notts County, Lincoln, Aldershot, Stevenage and Ilkeston.

June 21 2012 – from http://www.leohoenig.com

Not surprisingly, Montserrat were beaten in the game, losing 5-2 to Belize. Belize are ranked 172 in the World. With the bottom ten of CONCACAF’s 35 members in this knock out qualifying round, Belize are the only non-Caribbean side at this stage. Deon McCauley, who at the age of 23 has already played football in Costa Rica and Honduras, as well as his native Belize had the honour of scoring the first goal of the 2014 World Cup. He went on to complete a hat-trick.
This is not the end of the story. There should have been a second leg match in Belize four days after the opening game, after which Montserrat could be named as the first side knocked out of the 2014 World Cup, but a combination of the government of Belize and FIFA intervened.

Even before the match, the government of Belize had stated that the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) were not a properly registered association and could not officially represent the country. This dates back to the last election for the FFB executive and president in December. After the election, the government set up an “independent” Sports Investigation Committee. The sports minister has been quoting from an as yet unpublished report, which apparently says that by refusing to accept nominations from one of its members (the Belize Premier Football League, the country’s leading league),the FBB had broken its own rules. With the alternative candidate banned, the incumbent, Bertie Chimilio had a free run, but anyway he also handpicked the district representatives who were responsible for voting him back in.
A standoff between the government and the FFB appears to have been going on throughout the year, and FIFA who are notorious unfriendly to governments who interfere in footballing affairs,( with the obvious exceptions of dictators like Gaddafi), gave Belize a deadline before its recent congress, to sort out the situation by the end of the month of June. This deadline would, of course have allowed the two qualifying matches to take place, and give Belize a short window to sort the situation out before the next international match.

It was the government of Belize which took the step that brought proceedings to a halt. They wrote to FIFA in the week before the Montserrat match to state that the FBB did not have the right to represent the nation, and could not fly the Belize flag or play the Belize National Anthem at the match. These symbols are considered to be important, when in the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup, North Korea refused to allow the South Korean flag or National Anthem to be used at matches between the two Koreas in their part of the peninsular – the matches were switched to neutral China. The North Koreans did play in South Korea as scheduled.

Anyway, the match in Trinidad last week went ahead, even without the sanction of the Belize government, but faced with a letter saying that the Belize government would not provide police or security for the match, FIFA finally intervened and suspended Belize from World Football on Friday. Citing Government interference, FIFA have said that any action taking by the government against the office bearers of the FFB would not be recognised.

Meanwhile, a new association has been formed in Belize, the National Football Association of Belize, and on Saturday it elected its first President. Representatives of all the district associations in Belize were present, along with those from the Belize Premier League and the Super League of Belize. With the exception of the Super League, these are the same groupings as would have voted for the FFB president, (not necessarily the same representatives of those associations). The vote was won by Michael Blease, but no list of alternative candidates has been mentioned.

The Super League appears to be a rival league to the Premier League, but not registered with the FFB. This appears to have been the case for some time, although the FFB have not been taking normal action against an unaffiliated league, as McCauley, the hat trick hero from the opening game is a player with Super League champions, City Boys United. One would normally expect a player with an unaffiliated league to be excluded from international participation.
FIFA have given Belize only until 10th July to sort out the situation and play the match. It seems this is not good news for Belize, as neither party is close to giving ground. A similar situation involving Brunei was only recently resolvedafter 18 months of suspension from FIFA. In the end, the newly formed National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam was allowed to take over, (which means that FIFA did give in to the local government), although I understand that FIFA are pretending otherwise.

Assuming Belize are suspended, they may not get any thanks from Montserrat if the island gets a bye into the group stage. While it is great for even a small nation to be involved in the World Cup in a small way, it would be a mistake to say they want to go beyond the first match. The top six CONCACAF nations are exempt from the first group stage, so if they get through, Montserrat will have to bear the expense of a six match group with little income from their home games (the game last week had a crowd shown as 100 by FIFA). FIFA have plenty of money to spread about, but they do not use it to support teams in playing their qualification games.

June 29 2011
Asian Qualifying started today.
Cambodia 4-2 Laos
Nepal 2-1 Timor-Leste
Afghanistan 0-2 Palestine (played in Tajikistan)
Sri Lanka 1-1 Philippines
Bangladesh 3-0 Pakistan
Mongolia 1-0 Myanmar
Vietnam 6-0 Macau
Malaysia 2-1 Chinese Taipei

The first of the second legs (if you see what I mean) is on Saturday, Timor-Leste staying to play again in Kathmandu
The others on Sunday

June 30 2011

As of yesterday, the South Pacific games is not part of the qualifying process - see
http://www.oceaniafootball.com/...e/en-US/Default.aspx

The OFC Tournament in June next year is not likely to be in New Zealand, due to a continuing ban on Fiji Military personel from entering NZ. The last time the pair were due to meet in NZ, the match was postponed, and then played later and elsewhere.

Fiji's team for the 2011 Rugby World Cup is likely to be weakened by the ban

July 2 2011
FIFA has 208 members eligible for the World Cup 2014

208. Brunei - not entered due to FIFA suspension at the time of Asia Preliminary Draw
207. Bhutan - declined to enter
206. Guam - declined to enter
205. Mauritania - declined to enter
204. July 2 2011. Timor Leste (aka East Timor) - beaten by Nepal 2-1, 5-0 in two legged qualifiers. Both matches played in Kathmandu

July 3 2011 – comment by “East Fork United – USA”
Turks & Caicos are squarely behind the 8-ball now. Bahamas blistered TCI with a 4-0 win in Providenciales Saturday. The return match is next week.

One of the starters for the Bahamas was Anton Sealey Jr. His dad was the initial whistle-blower that led to the CONCACAF scandal that ousted Jack Warner as President of the confederation.

July 3 2011

Hopefully in the correct time order, but anyway all those knocked out on July 3.
203. Sri Lanka, losing 4-0 in the Philippines after a 1-1 home draw
202. Mongolia, whose 1-0 home win was overturned with a 2-0 defeat by Myanmar
201. Macau - lost 6-0 in Vietnam, and fared no better with a 7-1 home defeat
200. Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). Beat Malaysia 3-2, but went out on away goals. Malaysia had led 1-0 and 2-1
199. Cambodia. Had beaten neighbours Laos 4-2, but suffered in extra time after being 4-2 down at 90. Final score 6-2
198. Afghanistan. Got a 1-1 draw in Palestine, (first World Cup match played there?), but had lost 2-0 in the "home" leg, actually played in Tajikistan
197. Pakistan. Made no inroads the deficit from a 3-0 defeat in Bangladesh. Final score 0-0.

196 teams now survive. More next week!

July 4 2011 – From Evil Bill (Marske)
Apparently that was indeed Palestine's first World Cup game on home soil.


The US Virgin Islands beat the British Virgin Islands 2-0 last night in their first leg. I found out the other day that the manager of the British Virgin Islands when they made their World Cup debut in 2000 was a certain Andre Villas-Boas. They lost 14-1 on aggregate to Bermuda.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Mar 2012, 20:09 
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July 4 2011 by Hod (Crewe)
Replying to -
Apparently that was indeed Palestine's first World Cup game on home soil.

Yes first World Cup game at home.
Played in Ram at the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium. 9,000 there apparently.
This was the second competetive match there as on March 9th they hosted Thailand in the Olympic Games Qualifying before 17,000 in the 12,500 capacity stadium ? Match report from first competive game at stadium- http://www.guardian.co.uk/...m-kick-off-west-bank .
Next game is at home in the R2 (2nd leg) v Thailand in a W.Cup Q on Thursday July 28th.TBC.

July 8 2011 by East Fork United
Just read on the CONCACAF website that Belize and Montserrat will play the second leg of their series on July 17th in Honduras. Since the Belizean government could not guarantee the safety of Montserrat's team or officials in Belmopan, FIFA put in an emergency order to allow the second leg to go on outside Belize. However, Belize were given a deadline of August 15th to get its act together and allow the BFF and the government to kiss and make up. If no accord is reached, Belize would forfeit its second stage series, should they advance over Montserrat.

Also, last weekend's USVI 2-0 over BVI was the first-ever win in a World Cup qualifying match for the American territory. Dating back to 2000, the US Virgin Islands had been outscored 35-1 prior to Sunday's win in Charlotte Amalie.

Now that the first stage of the Asian qualifiers have concluded, does anyone think any of the eight victorious sides can advance to the group stage semifinals? Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Palestine, Bangladesh, and Nepal have advanced. Vietnam were by far the most impressive, but they did it against one of the weakest sides in the AFC. The competition for all eight will certainly step up compared to their first stage successes.

Reply by Zebedee (Southport)
The most likely of the Asian first round qualifiers to get through to the semi finals in my opinion would be Malaysia, who face Singapore in the second round. The fact that Malaysia won the ASEAN Championships last year whilst Singapore were knocked out in the group stage suggests that the Malaysians should have a decent chance against their neighbours.

July 9 2011 by East Fork United
Two more CONCACAF World Cup preliminaries on Friday. Anguilla were reduced to 9 men and lost 2-0 to Dominican Republic. The second leg, to also be played in DR will be held Sunday. In Oranjestad, Aruba got goals from four different players as they shot past St. Lucia 4-2. The second leg will be at St. Lucia on Tuesday. For Aruba, it was only their second World Cup Qualifying win. Their first came against Puerto Rico way back in 2000.

Today, the Bahamas (4-0 1st leg winners) look to finish off Turks & Caicos. Another second leg decider on Sunday will be in Tortola as British Virgin Islands (down 2-0) host the U.S. Virgin Islands.

July 10 2011
196. July 9. Turks & Caicos Islands. Losing 10-0 to the Bahamas over two legs

July 10
195. Anguilla. A double header over the weekend, both matches in the Dominican Republic, and the home side winning 2-0 and 4-0
194. British Virgin Islands. Two victories for the US Virgin Islands (2-0 home, 2-1 away) - the first ever in the World Cup for the US Territory. BVI have not won a competitive match since a Caribbean Cup Qualifier in 2004. They also have never won a World Cup game, but had two draws against Bahamas in the last series, (losong on away goals).

193 teams survive.
Next game Tuesday, can Aruba score their second ever tie won?

July 11 by Scottywalds (Boston United) on Montserrat 2-5 Belize
Apparently we had Montserrat's 2 goal 'hero' Jaylee Hodgson on trial this pre-season. Not a bad international ratio of 1 game, 2 goals!

July 13 2011
193. Aruba. Both Aruba and St Lucia won their home legs by 4-2. No goals in extra time, so a penalty shoot out sees St Lucia win 5-4

By East ForkUnited
It was only a couple of minnows, but they battled like Killer Whales in Castries, St. Lucia! The host team scored twice in the opening 20 minutes and overturned their first leg 4-2 deficit against Aruba. Aruba went back in front on aggregate with a goal just before halftime. The game stayed 2-1 for the next 26 minutes when the crowd was treated to 3 goals in four minutes. Jamal Joseph notched a hat trick in the 71st minute to give St. Lucia a 3-1 lead and the inside track to advance. Kurt Frederick extended the aggregate score in the 73rd minute. Not to be outdone, Frederick Gomez scored in the 75th minute for Aruba to tie everything up 6-6 on aggregate. After that, no more goals in regular time and the extra 30 minutes, so it was onto penalty kicks. St. Lucia prevailed 5-4 to advance to the next stage of qualification in CONCACAF.

17 July
192. Montserrat. Losing 3-1 in their delayed "away leg" played in Honduras, after going down 5-2 in the "home leg" played in Trinidad. Belize go through and hope not to be suspended by FIFA before their next game!

Scottywalds
Boston trialist Hodgson scored all 3 of Montserrat's goals

Chris LUFC (Leeds United), posting on 28 July
First legs of the Asian Qualifying Second Round played Saturday:

China 7-2 Laos
Thailand 1-0 Palestine
Singapore 5-3 Malaysia
Turkmenistan 1-1 Indonesia
Lebanon 4-0 Bangladesh
Uzbekistan 4-0 Kyrgyzstan
Iran 4-0 Maldives
Oman 2-0 Myanmar
Syria 2-1 Tajikistan
Iraq 2-0 Yemen
UAE 3-0 India
Jordan 9-0 Nepal
Qatar 3-0 Vietnam
Kuwait 3-0 Philippines
Saudi Arabia 3-0 Hong Kong

Interestingly, not one away winner in all the ties and only Indonesia managed to come away with a draw, in Turkmenistan. Second legs will be played today.

28 July – the actual order may be slightly wrong
191. Nepal. After losing 9-0 to Jordan in Amman, it was no surprise that Nepal, coached by former Enfield (and several other non league sides) manager Graham Roberts went out. Still, they got a credible 1-1 draw in their home leg.
Jordan scored in the 62nd minute.
I wonder if Graham Roberts will keep the manager's post through to next spring's AFC Challenge Cup.
He was in charge for the AFC qualifying matches (Won 1, drawn 1, lost 1, scored one, conceded one) and the two legged World Cup match against Timor Leste - all played in Nepal. The only away competitive match was the 9-0 defeat in Jordan - but the AFC Challenge Cup should be in Nepal as well. – for the record, Roberts did hold the job through to the spring, where despite home advantage, Nepal lost to the Maldives, Palestine and Turkmenistan

190. Laos. Laos led 2-0 in China for 15 minutes, but lost that match 7-2. The second leg went 6-1 to the Chinese, so 13-3 on aggregate.
189. Philippines. Lost 3-0 in Kuwait, and 2-1 at home.
188. Tajikistan. Might have thought they had a chance after only going down 2-1 to Syria, a match played in Jordan. But at home the Tajiks lost 4-0 to end 6-1 on aggregate.
187. Bangladesh. A 2-0 home win in Dhaka, but no where near enough to recover from a 4-0 defeat in Lebanon.
186. Turkmenistan. The only side to go out today playing away. After a 1-1 draw at home, they were 3-0 down to Indonesia at half time in Jakarta. 4-1 with 15 minutes to play, the Turkmenistan team pulled back to 4-3, but could not scrape the draw.
185. Kyrgyzstan. Playing a "local" match against Uzebekistan, the third former Soviet Republic to fall within an hour. The Uzbeks won 3-0 on the day, 7-0 on aggregate.
184. Hong Kong. With some Premier League sides playing in the Chinese Territory for the Premier League Asian Cup this week, the national sides 5-0 home defeat to Saudi Arabia (aggregate 8-0). The match could not even be played at the National stadium, needed for the pleasures of Chelsea v Kitchee (Hong Kong Champions) the day before.
183. Vietnam. Qatar had won 3-0 at home, and without the resort to bribing anyone, just paying top dollar for a few players to become Qatari nationals. Qatar were 1-0 up at half time, and despite ended up on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline, the hosts of the 2022 World Cup went through
182. Malaysia. Playing their derby match against great rivals Singapore. A 5-3 defeat in the away leg would not of detered a large crowd from entering the Bukit Jalil stadium. The home fans would have had hope, 1-0 up with 15 minutes to play, but Singapore levelled the scores on the day, and so went through 6-4 on aggregate. Like Qatar, the Singaporeans depend on naturalised players, such as Aleksander Duric who scored the opening goal in the first leg, and had previous represented Bosnia in the Olympics, as a canoeist!
181. India. A credible 2-2 draw at home, after losing 3-0 when playing last weekend in Al Ain (United Arab Emirates). In the away leg, India had two sent off, and had two penalties against them in the first half hour. There was a lot of complaints suggesting that an Arab referee (from Qatar) favoured an Arab team. Not the first time I have heard such complaints in Asia, but it makes a change that the charge was not laid by Iranians.
180. Palestine. Playing at home for only the second time in World Cup matches, the Palestinians scored a 2-2 draw with Thailand. 1-0 down from the first leg, an early goal gave them a chance, but Thailand levelled before the break and went 2-1 up. Palestine levelled in the final minutes, and also had a player sent off at the end.
179. Yemen. Having lost 2-0 to Iraq, a match played in Iraq, Yemen had little chance ‘at home’ when not being able to play there. The match was in in Al Ain (UAE, see above), and the score was 0-0
178. Maldives. The final result of the day comes through minutes after the Yemen result. The Maldives losing 1-0 at home to Iran, 5-0 on aggregate.
177. Myanmar? Expected to be the first knocked out on the day, Myanmar were 2-0 down to Oman on the day, 4-0 on aggregate after 39 minutes, and before any of the other games kicked off – but that was as far as the game went, abandoned after crowd trouble. It is now up to FIFA to rule. One suspects the match and tie will be awarded to Oman who will take their place with 174 other clubs in Sundays draws (176 surviving teams, but of course Brazil are not included in the draw as hosts).

The exit of Myanmar was confirmed by FIFA the day after the game was played.
FIFA Statement http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminar ... d=1482647/

August 16 2011
Latest news suggests that Belize will not be suspended from FIFA

http://www.amandala.com.bz/index.php?id=11534

Although this shows FIFA as the body forcing through "fair" elections, it can be seen as a victory for the government over FIFA, in so far as the previous elections have been nullified.

As with the situation in Indonesia, it appears FIFA are no longer defending corrupt football associations against National governments.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Mar 2012, 20:48 
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August 20 2011

188. Syria. Originally reported on 28th July as Tajikistan, on the reasonable grounds that they lost 6-1 on aggregate to Syria. Included in the Syrian team for the matches against Tajikistan was George Mourad. Mourad was born in Beirut, Lebanon but holds dual Swedish/Syrian nationality. He currently plays for Mes Kerman in Iran, but his career has taken from Vastra Frolunda to IFK Gothenburg (Sweden), Brescia (Italy), Willem II (Netherlands), Tromso (Norway) and Portimonense (Portugal). He is reported to have played two games for Sweden in 2005. This has led to Tajikistan protesting, and today, FIFA confirmed that Syria played an ineligible player in both games, both are therefore awarded 3-0 to Tajikistan, who now move into the next round in Syria's place.
Syrian press reports appear to blame this all on an international conspiracy against them, which appears to include the original decision to force them to play away from home, and the general political situation in Syria. They also tried to complain that the complaint was not made in time, that the Lebanon born player was born in Syria, and of course that his dual nationality was legit under FIFA rules. FIFA official announced that the two games were both awarded 3-0 to Tajikistan, as Syria had played an ineligible player in a statement on 19th August.

176. Bahamas? Reports (in Panamanian media) suggest the Bahamas have withdrawn from the competition. FIFA no longer include their fixtures on site, but there is no explanation given. Looking for the news from the Bahamas, I see no comments as yet - as recently as last Thursday there was a report commenting on selection difficulties (around half the team are at American Universities, which was no problem for matches against the Turks and Caicos Islands in July, but less suitable for the six match qualifying group being played in September, October and November. Still the report expected a team to be announced next week (around 22-24 August) for the match in Panama on 2nd September.
Internet speculation suggests FIFA may have ruled against matches being played in Nassau. The Thomas Robinson Stadium is under reconstruction to increase the capacity from around 9000, to over 20,000 - while the Roscoe Davies Soccer Field, used in the last match has a reported capacity of only 700, and an artificial surface which may not be up to standard.

Turks and Caicos Islands will not be re-instated (they would be unlikely to want it). They lost 10-0 to the Bahamas over two legs.

August 21 2011- comment by Richard Rundle (Devon)
Bahamian withdrawal confirmed by CONCACAF - http://www.concacaf.com/...2813~2426184,00.html
Further comment
http://www.thenassauguardian.com/index. ... &Itemid=50

October 2 2011 by Richard Rundle

Myamnar have also been banned from competing in the 2018 World Cup Qualifying after this incident. (and also fined 25000 CHF)

October 8 2011
175. Barbados. 7-October-2011. Three defeats for Barbados, two of them to Guyana, who top the group. They were level at half time at home to Guyana, but goals from Anthony Abrams and Chris Nurse. Nurse who played for several non league teams around London, including Kingstonian and Sutton, is now with the Carolina Railhawks in the USA. His brother, Jon plays for Dagenham & Redbridge, and more curiously plays international football for Barbados. (They played against each other in the first meeting last month).
174. US Virgin Islands. 7th October. A 7-0 defeat at home to Haiti, on top of a 6-0 away defeat to the same opposition in an earlier match, and a 8-1 home defeat to Antigua and Barbuda in between. To make matters worse, they have to travel to Antigua for Tuesday night’s game.
173. St Lucia. Another team to suffer three defeats, and two of them to Canada, the latest being 7-0 at home.
172. Curacao. 8th October, (still the 7th in the Caribbean, but I am using UK time). A single goal saw Curacao lose 1-0 at home to Antigua and Barbuda, in the same group that the US Virgin Islands had already met defeat. Tamarley Thomas hit the 74th minute winner.
171. Cayman Islands. There third defeat was to Suriname, and came with a single goal from Giovanni Drenthe. The Caymans had lost 1-0 in Suriname, and 4-1 at home to El Salvador. Mathematically this gave rise to…170. Dominican Republic. Losing 2-1 at home to El Salvador, (on top of an earlier 3-2 away defeat), the Dominican Republic still had a marginal life line at the end of the match, as they had drawn 1-1 with Suriname. The life line was marginal, as it depended on the Cayman Islands beating Suriname. They did not, and so the Dominican Republic was simultaneously knocked out.

by East Fork United
This is the "Winnow the Minnow" stage of World Cup Qualifying for CONCACAF. More will fall by the wayside after Tuesdays games, and one team (Panama) can qualify from Group C for next year's semi-final round with a victory over Nicaragua.

I think Group B is the most intriguing of the 6 in this stage. With Bermuda's stunning 2-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana have the inside track on advancing. But, if Bermuda can replicate that upset with a win over Guyana Tuesday, the group will turn into a free-for-all! Since the expected top 2 teams in each of these groups have to play each other twice in the span of four days next month (November 11th and 15th), it's conceivable that Bermuda, T & T, and Guyana could all finish on 12 points! Next month, Guyana and T & T play each other, while Barbados (currently pointless) meet Bermuda.

Groups D and E are looking good for Canada and Guatemala to advance, but whoever wins the game between Grenada and St. Vincent next Saturday (October 15th) will still have a mathematical chance. The loser would be out, and both sides could be eliminated with a draw, if Guatemala beat Belize Tuesday (and they will be favored to do so). Given the way they've played so far, Canada is charging into the 2012 semi-final round. They have looked better than their nearest competitor, St. Kitts & Nevis. Although, St. Kitts could steal the group if they win their last 3 matches, which would include 2 over Canada (and that seems like a tall order).

Groups A and F are not as clear-cut in determining a winner yet. If form holds Tuesday, those groups will be decided in November as El Salvador and Suriname face each other twice in Group A, along with Haiti and Antigua & Barbuda in Group F.

By Andrelux (Luxembourg)
172. Curacao

On a side note, what will be the story for 2018? I understand (although I may be wrong) that for membership of FIFA you now need to be an independent country, although there are grandfather rights for existing members (Hence England, Scotland, Hong Kong et al). So Curaçao have inherited the mantle of the Netherlands Antilles, and I guess also taken over their grandfather rights, But what about St Maarten? Will they be eligible to enter the 2018 World Cup, should they so choose?

East Fork United
Unless they gain independence, I don't think St. Maarten will be in the running for the 2018 World Cup. There are 5 federations in CONCACAF that are not FIFA members. These countries are eligible to compete in regional competitions like the Gold Cup and the Caribbean Cup, but not the World Cup. The other 4 nations include St. Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana which are all departments of France. Players from these countries that wish to compete in the World Cup, would do so under the Dutch or French flags. Thierry Henry, like Napoleon's wife Josephine, came from Martinique

Andrelux
Yes but Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana are legally part and parcel of France, as is St Martin (the northern bit of the island) iwhich is a Collectivité d'outre mer and similarly fully part of France. Now that the Netherlands Antilles has broken up, then Saba, Bonaire and St Eustacius are also fully part of the Netherlands. But St Maarten has the same international status as Curaçao.

Incidentally, I agree with you, and I don't think they will either. But Curaçao will, simply because (at 200,000 vs 35,000) they happen to be the largest natural successor to the Netherlands Antilles, who in any case would not currently be eligible for FIFA membership (since they were never independent).

Go figure.

My view is that either you have both as FIFA members or neither And then, let's not forget about Aruba, But then, what do I know?

Question from a Bristol Rovers fan
Did Ebbsfleet's Ricky Shakes play for Guyana on Friday night to become a double international? (He previously played for Trinidad and Tobago)
Reply from Hod
Yes.

October 9 2011
So, as the Syrians will not be pleased to note. A player who has played international for one country can switch allegance, play for another and not get his team kicked out of World cup qualifying.

Hod
Erm , was a bit harsh of a decision. 13 mins of a friendly !

http://www.thenational.ae/sport/footbal ... rs-by-fifa

Back to me
I am not certain the report is correct, Hod - I have seen it suggested he played twice for Sweden. FIFA have a process (no doubt uneccesarily beauracratic) for changing affiliation, and the Syrians ignored it.

October 12 2011
"Winnow the minnow" carries on in Concacaf, but first, a half term report from Asia. This was written on the day of the games, but for some reason I could not put it on site last night.

Half way point in the current Asian groups. Five groups of four, two going through, so ten teams to be knocked out either next month, or on February 29th. There have been a couple of surprises so far, none more so than in Group A, where Jordan have three wins out of three and a home match against Singapore next (they won 3-0 in Singapore today). They look very likely to reach the next round. Group seeds China lost at home to Iraq today, (I happened to see there last bid to reach the World Cup finals flounder with a home defeat against Iraq). With only one win in three, China desperately need to win in Iraq, and then add vicotry in Singapore to have a chance of continuing, otherwise Iraq (2 wins to date) will go through.

Group B sees South Korea on top, two wins at home, and a draw in Kuwait. Kuwait have five points, while the Lebanon has 4 - the pair drew in Lebanon today, while UAE are continuing recent poor form with three defeats

Group C also sees the favourites out in front. Japan has two home wins, and a draw in Uzbekistan. Today they beat Tajikistan 8-0. The Tajiks are in this group after Syria fielded an ineligible player in an earlier round, but in their other two games had managed to lose only 1-0 at home to Uzbekistan, and in North Korea. North Korean chances of reaching a second successive World Cup took a blow when they lost 1-0 at home to the Uzbeks today. Veteran Alexander Geynrikh scoring the goal in the first half.

Australia have three Group D wins, and look very comfortable, with a five point lead ahead of Thailand. The Thais themselves will still fear Saudi Arabia, whose points come from two 0-0 draws away from home (in Oman last month, and in Thailand today). Saudi Arabia's home game was a 1-3 defeat by the Aussies, but they are home on both next month's games. Oman have yet to score, drawing against Saudi Arabia in their first game, but going down 3-0 in both Thialand and Australia.

A 6-0 win over Bahrain today puts the Iranians at the top of Group E. This is their second home win, coupled with a point gained in Qatar. Qatar won in Indonesia today, 3-2 which places them second, with return matches against Indonesia and Bahrain next month, both at home. Bahrain have also won in Indonesia, so their crucial game is the return match in Qatar.

OK then, to Concacaf.

12th October
169. Bermuda. Needed to beat Guyana to have a chance of progressing, and went ahead after 71 minutes. Guyana equalised ten minutes from time

168. Puerto Rico. same kick off time as Bermuda - they needed to win in Canada, but managed only a 0-0 draw.

167. Dominica and
166. Nicaragua. A 5-1 win for Panama over Nicaragua in the three team group sees them through to the next round, three goals for Perez. Both the other teams out as the game finishes.

165. Belize. A 3-1 defeat by Guatemala sees Belize out, and almost certainly promotes their opponents into the next round. Grenada v St Vincent and the Grenadines is not until Saturday, and only one of the pair keeps in with a chance (both out if the game is drawn).

15 October 2011.
163. St Vincent & The Grenadines &
164. Grenada

St. Vincent & The Grenadines (are they really a country, and not some 60s pop group?) took the lead with 30 minutes to play, only for Clive Murray to score a leveller for the home team in injury time.

Guatemala, with two games to play, are now certain of a place in the next round

31 October 2011.
162. Mauritius have withdrawn from the competition 12 days before they were due to play a two legged tie against Liberia. The Liberians therefore proceed to the group stage.


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11 November 2011.

The punishment on Myanmar (originally banned from the 2018 World Cup) has been reduced, and they can now enter, but will not play any qualifying games at home.

161. Tajikistan. Losing 4-0 at home to Japan, their fourth defeat in as many games, Tajikistan become the first casualty from the third round of Asian qualifying (having only survived the second round on a technicality). Victory does not confirm that the Japanese reach the next round, but it is highly probable

UAE 0-2 South Korea - leaving UAE on the brink of elimination, it took two late goals, the second from Arsenal's Park Chu Young

160. North Korea, who lost 1-0 in Uzbekistan, to end any lingering hope of a second successive world cup

Oman 1-0 Australia. An early goal from Al Hosani to embarass the Oz on lets all laugh at Australia day, following their rather poor cricket result.

Iraq 1-0 China. Once again, the Chinese look like leaving the competition at an early stage. Goal difference is the rule for the World Cup (I actually thought it was head to head when I started this), so China can survive, if Iraq lose their next two games, and China win theirs.

Kuwait 0-1 Lebanon, By taking four points against Kuwait, Lebanon have lifted themselves to second in the group, and incidentally, knocked out

159. UAE - whose survival chances depended on this game ended in a draw.

Bahrain 1-1 Iran, a result which will satisfy the Iranians more

158. Singapore. A goal in each half as Singapore lose their fourth group game by 2-0 in Jordan. Singapore out, Jordan through to the next round with two matches to go.

157. Indonesia. The same kick off time as Singapore, and a 4-0 defeat in Qatar, so like their South East Asian rivals they drop out leaving only one of the regions teams still in the contest, and they lost their game
Saudi Arabia 3-0 Thailand. A first group win for Saudi Arabia, in the same group as Australia. Australia had won three games before today, but this is the closest group. Saudi are second having taken four points off Thailand, and one against Oman. Oman who visit Saudi on Tuesday, picked up their other point against their neighbours, but lost to Thailand, who host the Australians on Tuesday

First legs of African ko games today - teams will be knocked out on Tuesday
Penultimate round of CONCACAF games overnight, with the groups finishing during the week.

12 November 2011
The Concacaf matches produced results in all of the three groups not settled, so the final group games next week are all dead rubbers. The games that mattered knocked out the following.

156. Suriname. El Salvadore keep up their 100% record with a 3-1 win here, so as the Salvadorans qualify for the next rouns

155. Trinidad & Tobago. Fell by 2-1 in Guyana.

154. Haiti. The surprise of the round, as they lose 1-0 to Antigua and Barbuda at the "Sticky Wicket" Stadium.

Comment from Matty (Derbyshire)
Interview from Derby Telegraph with Tom Curtis - ex Chessie player and curretly Antigua and Barbuda manager on this and managing Antigua Barracudas in USL - USA 3rd tier
http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Dista ... story.html

Good spot from Fareham Seagull (Brighton fan in Fareham)
Weren't St.Kitts & Nevis eliminated on Friday as well?
Quick response from Sigma (Czech Republic), (While I was away in Gibraltar)
Yes, they were eliminated with the 0-0 home draw against Canada.
Canada won in Toronto against St Kitts last night 4-0.

Comments from Hawkwind.
Strange organisation with Asia and North & Central America reducing to 12 and 10 respectively before Europe has even started. Still, helps focus the mind.................................

North & Central America. 10 of the 12 survivors were Gold Cup 2011 participants - Antigua & Barbuda and Guyana the intruders replacing the non-eligible Guadeloupe and Grenada, who followed up a 4-0 Gold Cup defeat to Guatemala by losing 3-0 and 4-1 to the same opponents in the World Cup. Grenada managed the rare feat of being a top seed finishing bottom of their group. On the evidence of the 2011 Gold Cup strange that Cuba are ranked in the Confederation's top six, and exempt until the final twelve, yet the seeding before doesn't look entirely accurate - only three top seeds justifying their seeding while Belize and Dominican Republic finished runners-up from the bottom poisition having come through a preliminary round. Trinidad & Tobago (7th October 2011) are the highest ranked team to be eliminated. Any surprises in the next round? Cuba and Jamaica look to be the most/only vulnerable. On October 2011 ranking the final 10 are: 1 MEXICO, 2 USA, 3 JAMAICA, 4 PANAMA, 5 HONDURAS, 6 COSTA RICA, 8 EL SALVADOR, 9 CANADA, 10 ANTIGUA & BARBUDA, 11 GUYANA,12 GUATEMALA, 13 CUBA which kinda suggests that the 'current' rankings are more accurate.

Asia. The elimination of top seeded China (officially ranked 5th in Asia) is the only 'official' shock so far, North Korea were in the bottom pot and will only finish 3rd - not sure how a qualifier from the previous event was ranked so lowly 12 months after. Two potential shocks to come in the final round. Saudi Arabia have to win in Australia to seal a place in the final ten otherwise they'll be dependent on the Oman versus Thailand result, the real mega-shock would be South Korea being eliminated which would happen if they lose at home to Kuwait and Lebanon don't lose in the UAE. Lebanon are the surprise package. Beginning this group campaign with a 6-0 defeat it was difficult to imagine that four games later they would be on the threshold of a final ten place, just a point to be certain and a defeat will do if Kuwait fail to win. The other good recovery was Iraq. Beginning with a home defeat against Jordan, and then obliged to play their remaining home games on neutral territory they've done remarkably well to record four straight wins and a place in the next round. On October 2011 ranking the final 10 are: 1 JAPAN, 2 AUSTRALIA, 3 South Korea, 4 IRAN, 6 UZBEKISTAN, 7 JORDAN, 8 IRAQ, 9 Qatar (almost certain), 10 Kuwait, 11 Saudi Arabia, 12 Bahrain (miracle required), 13 Oman, 16 Thailand, 25 Lebanon.

Me – back online with dates and numbers
12 November 2011 (UK time)

153. St Kitts & Nevis - needed to beat Canada twice to have a chance, but the home match was 0-0



15 November 2011 - a big day with 10 African teams knocked out, and action is Asia, Concacaf (all dead matches) and Comnebol

- and I was too busy to keep in touch, but here is a summary

152. Burundi, unlucky in losing on away goals to Lesotho, they lost the away match 1-0, and won at home 2-1

151. Madagascar. Another close one, their 2-1 home win came on the back of a 2-0 defeat in Equatorial Guinea. The Madagascans were 1-0 down at half time, and only took the game lead in injury time.

150. Chad. Very unusal by African standards, two away wins, means Tanzania, who won 2-1 in Chad go through on away goals.

149. Seychelles, following a 3-0 home defeat to Kenya, with a 4-0 away one.

148. Eritrea. 4-2 on aggregate to Rwanda.

147. Sao Tome e Principe. Love the name, not the result, 6-1 on aggregate to Congo

146. Swaziland. Score higher at Scrabble than footy. Lost 2-8 to DR Congo.

145. Guinea-Bissau. After a 1-1 draw with Togo, they lost to a single, second minute goal away

144. China. The only Asian team to fall on the day, despite a 4-0 win in Singapore. China needed Iraq to lose in Jordan, but Iraq won by 3-1

143. Comoros, who lost both legs against Mozambique, ending up 5-1 aggregate losers.

142. Djibouti. Two 4-0 defeats by Namibia. The highest aggregate of the ten African matches decided.

16 November 2011

141. Somalia. After a 0-0 draw in the home leg, Somalia let in an early goal in Ethiopia. Both Bekele (62 and 65) and Kebede (87 and 90) added a second half brace to give Ethiopia a 5-0 progression to the group stage.

With Somalia out, the World Cup field has narrowed to 140 teams. Three more will exit later in the month, when the minnows of the minnow continent battle it out at the (modestly named) JS Blatter Playing Fields in Apia, Somoa. Apart from the host, American Somoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands will be striving for the honour of being knocked out in Fiji next June.

23 November 2011.

First up, Hawkwind
American Samoa were the first country to be eliminated from the 2010 World Cup, a third defeat in five days ended their mathematical interest, 34 goals conceded, before they signed off with a 4-0 defeat to Tonga.

A tsunami of a shock in Oceania then this morning. American Samoa began their 2014 campaign with a 2-1 victory over Tonga in Apia, Samoa (what was Western I believe). Scanning the reports Ramin Ott's speculative long-range effort just before the break gave the underdogs the lead and a Shalom Luani lob 15 minutes from time doubled their advantage. Unaloto Ki Atenoa Feao, a name to remember, headed Tonga a lifeline with time running out, only for American Samoa to resist the late onslaught to record their first ever World Cup win.

It's probably too early to be talking of a place in Brazil but clearly Dutch coach Thomas Rongen is more the right one for the plucky American Samoans. Next up the Cook Islands, a serious test before a potential showdown with their neighbours on Sunday. Already in uncharted territory, although the smart money says it is still highly unlikely, American Samoa could make history over the next few days.

Then again they may get stuffed twice.

And my comments
American Somoa is also known as Eastern Somoa. One of five countries ranked on the FIFA table, but with zero points. Somoa (aka Western), Montserrat, San Marino and Andorra are the others. American Somoa were also bottom of the ELO Rankings, since beating Wallis and Futuna 3-0 in August 1983 - their first ever internatonal game, American Somoa have played 38 more times, scored 16 goals and conceded 291. It goes without saying that this was their historic second win.

Somoa, (as in Western, and the hosts of this tourney) also got a win with a last minute goal against the Cook Islands. They were 2-1 up at half time but looked to be heading for a draw after Campbell Best equalised with five minutes to play before Albert Bell scored the injury time winner.

The next matches are in the early hours of Friday morning (UK time)

Additional comment from Sigma
Rongen has coached in the US since the 1980's, including stops in high school soccer, college, and the MLS. He recently coached the US U20 side for 6 years.

I believe the USSF sent him to American Samoa for a few months to help develop football in the country.

25 November 2011 (UK time)

140. Cook Islands. After defeat to Somoa, the Cook Islands needed to beat American Somoa to stay in the competition. This did not happen, the Cook Islands went behind midway through the first half, and an equaliser (via an own goal)just after the hour was not enough.

139. Tonga. After defeat to American Somoa, Tonga needed to beat hosts Somoa to stay in the competition. This did not happen. Somoa went ahead with a penalty just before half time, and a late equaliser, scored by substitute Lokoua Taufahema a minute after taking the field did not change things.

So after two 1-1 draws, the stage is set for Somoa and American Somoa to meet on Saturday (early Sunday UK time) to decide which of the pair goes through to June's qualification in Fiji
Sarumio (Salisbury added)

Did anyone else see the segment on BBC news last night (6 o'clock news I think it was), where they covered how American Samoa beat Tonga and showed highlights of the game and an a post match interview with the manager?

Great publicity for Oceania football!

But will this be enough to drag American Samoa off the bottom of the FIFA rankings? Just how many points do you get for beating another minnow and lowly ranked country like Tonga?
Zebedee replied to say it would lift American Samoa up the ratings. He even explained the math, which can be found on FIFA’s web site if you need it.

I added
There are five teams - the two Somoan teams, Montserrat, Andorra and San Marino with zero points in the FIFA tables. This means they have played recognised internationals in the last four years (otherwise they would be unranked), but have lost all of them. The win and draw in this series will lift both Somoans up the table. Effectivley this would make Montserrat the worst team in FIFA - working on the assumption that Andorra and San Marino get marked down because they never play such small minnows as Oceania and Caribbean nations.

The alternative rating, as http://www.eloratings.net which I always like to compare to FIFA (both have faults, so neither are definitive) already include the first of these games, and they lifted Eastern Samoa (as they call American Somoa) just one place up the table from 232 to 231. Palau - another Pacific state, but not a FIFA member drop to bottom, but they have no recognised match since 1988 (when they lost to both Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, 2-15 and 2-11 respectively in the Micronesian games)

Northern Mariana, 230th on ELO are associate members through the Asian Confederation, (Guam are also in Asia).
Hawkwind adds
Missed out on the BBC but there is a short extract on youtube - the same perhaps?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bft_ChykJGg

With a follow-up point against the Cook Islands the Samoan showdown that was unimaginable a few days ago is now a reality. Certainly the hosts will start as favourites, four years ago they triumphed in the corresponding fixture 7-0, and they do currently lead the group by virtue of one extra goal scored, but just maybe the time's are a changing. If American Samoa do pull it off then I have a feeling that the good citizens of Pago Pago will be partying for a week.

The World Cup is a great competition - embracing the whole world. Wouldn't it be nice if one of the television companies could screen the game live in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Forestman gets in the next line before me
Samoa 1 American Samoa 0 (Silao Malo in the 90th minute). Samoa through to second round group A with Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Tahiti.

27 November 2011
138. American Samoa.

Still this is an achievement for AS, and it takes them off the bottom of the FIFA rankings

On 21 December, FIFA published rankings with Samoa in place 149, American Samoa at 186. Before this group, they were tied at the bottom.

29 February 2012
10 World Cup QUalifying games today as the Asian groups draw to a close.

Of the 20 teams in action, six have qualified for the next round (Jordan, iraq, Uzbekistan, Japan, Australia and Iran) and six are listed above as out (China, Singapore, UAE, N Korea, Tajikistan and Indonesia).
That leaves Eight countries. In group B, two out of S Korea, Lebanon and Kuwait go through, the odds do not favour Kuwait - who are the losing team unless they can win in South Korea. In group D, one of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Thailand goes through. Saudi are through if they can win in Australia, but the winner of Oman v Thailand go through if they lose.

Finally Group E starts with Qatar 3 points and a lot of goals ahead of neighbours Bahrain - but still threatened if they lose heavily in Iran

137. Thailand. Under the management of German Winnie Schaefer, the Thais needed to win this one to have a chance of going through, but a 10th minute goal gave hope to Oman (manager Paul Le Guen, formerly of Rangers). Both sides would be knocked out if Saudi Arabia, leading at half time, were to win in Australia. Thailand had second half substitute Teeratep Winothai sent off shortly before the end, and their lingering hopes were finally exhausted when Oman scored a second in injury time.

136. Saudi Arabia. The result came in a couple of minutes after the Oman-Thailand one, the pair of matches having synchronised kick off times. Second in the group at the start of the day, Saudi Arabia knew that a win in Melbourne would put them through. Australia had already qualified for the next stage, and picked a side generally devoid of European based players. excepting Mark Schwarzer in goal. Saudi Arabia took the lead after 19 minutes, and after an Australian equaliser again went ahead in first half injury time. It was Harry Kewell, who now plays for Melbourne Victory and was therefore at his home stadium that levelled the scores again, and two more goals in the next three minutes sealed the Saudi fate, leaving Oman is the second qualified team from the group. The Saudi Arabian coach (who I suspect is soon to be sacked) is none other than Frank Rijkaard.

Earlier, China (already out) beat Jordan (already through) by 3-1, with the last goal from Yu Dabao (celebrating his newly aquired status as the most expensive Chinese player to transfer between Chinese clubs, Dalian paying £2million for his services). Tajikistan and North Korea drew 1-1 but both had already failed to qualify
135. Kuwait. No surprise here, but it took over an hour before South Korea broke down the Kuwait defence. Eventually, South Korea beat Kuwait 2-0 to put themselves and Lebanon through, despite Lebanon losing 4-2 to UAE. Foe the UAE these were the only points gained in the campaign.

In a slighly surprising result, Uzbekistan won 1-0 in Japan. This made the Uzbeks clear winners of the group with five wins and a draw (they drew at home to Japan). The Japanese had earlier lost in North Korea, but had confirmed qualification before today.

Matty comments
I keep hearing here and there that the Uzbeks and the other 'Stans' are getting stronger quickly - whereas I don't think Japan and S Korea are much further forward and China have gone backwards
I remember England regularly thrashing Turkey and Norway and both going on to some success - if a bit patchy recently -
perhaps one will emerge from this pack of ex Soviet states?

134. Bahrain. Coming into the day, Bahrain qualification requirements were "win by 8 goals and hope Qatar lose". With five minutes to go, it actually looked as if they could make it. Aided by Indonesia having their keeper sent off in the second minute (and scoring from the resultant penalty), Bahrain, coached by Peter Taylor, racked up 10 goals. Qatar were 2-1 down in IRan with four minutes to play when Kasola Mohamed scored to keep his team in the competition, and knock out their neighbours.

I cannot help but thinking there may still be a FIFA investigation into this result. (I was right, although the investigation was to be low level – as the feeling is that it is mainly down to Indonesian incompetence)

Meanwhile, Iraq, already qualified beat Singapore, already out by 7-1 in the last game of the day


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With the Euros coming up, June also sees World Cup Qualifying games in every continent except Europe. Most of these are just entering a new step of the process, which means that only four teams will be knocked out this month, all in Oceania.
The Oceanian group, played on the Solomon Islands starts tomorrow, and cuts down the number of teams from 8 to 4. The final four play in a home and away series before the winner (aka New Zealand) plays (and probably loses) in a inter-continental play off.
The final four also play knock out semi-finals and final after their group matches while on the Solomon Islands, with the winner of this month's tournament being the OFC Champion for next years Confederation Cup


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The June World Cup Fixtures - played on every continent not near you - have started, and it does not appear Samoa will last much longer, having come through the preliminary group. It took them eight minutes to concede a goal, and they were 4-0 down at half time to Tahiti. The first goal against was scored by Lorenzo Tehau, the second by Jonathon Tehau, and both the third and fourth by Alvin Tehau (notice anything).
After Teaonui Tehau and Steevy Chong Hue (I think that's Chinese for Tehau) had added goals in the second half, Samoa pulled one back to be just 6-1 down.
Tahiti then acted with with another goal from Jonathon Tehau, and a quick fire hat-trick from Lorenzo Tehau (82-85 minutes), to take the match 10-1

The second game was Vanuatu 2-5 New Caledonia. Vanuatu competed until the hour mark, levelling the scores on 52 and 61 minutes, but New Caledonia pushed on at the end. Hat-trick for Bertrand Kai.


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Its a tough schedule out in Honiara, with group games over a period of just six days - meaning that each team has to play three times in five days.

The pattern over the first four days is high scoring in Group A, low scoring in Group B.
Day 2 resulted in two 1-0 wins, for New Zealand over Fiji, and for the hosts, the Solomon Islands over Papua New Guinea. The OFC are reporting a capacity crowd of 15,000 for these.

Goals were back in order on day 3, starting with Samoa, beaten 10-1 on the opening day, and now dropping five more goals against Vanuatu in their second game. It was the second game, Tahiti against New Caledonia that proved the more dramatic. Tahiti looked well in control at half time, they were 3-0 up and New Caledonia had had Georges Gope-Fenepej sent off, in giving away the penalty by hand ball for the second goal. However, despite going down to nine when Jean-Patrick Wakanumune got his marching orders for a two footed lunge, New Caledonia proceeded to pull back two goals. With New Caledonia pushing for an equaliser, Tahiti managed to score on the break. Two minutes later, it was back to 4-3, and five minutes of injury time to play (as it happened without an additional goal).

The results meant that Samoa were not yet knocked out of the competition. If the games were played in Cloud Cuckoo Land (not yet a FIFA member), then Samoa would win their final match by 8-0, and then Vanuatu (despite playing later and knowing they only have to avoid an 8-0 defeat to get through) would also lose by 8 (to a team that only needs a draw to win the group). There is also the possibility that Vanuatu and New Caledonia can both win by enough goals to knock out Tahiti. I suspect that being as Honiara is in the real world, New Caledonia beat Samoa, which sets a target for Vanuatu (which they in turn fail to reach).

First up on day 4 was New Zealand against Papua New Guinea, and any nerves the New Zealanders may have had were calmed within two minutes when much travelled striker Shane Smeltz put New Zealand ahead, (born in Germany, Smeltz has played in Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and England (for Mansfield, AFC Wimbledon and Halifax) and signed a contract for Shandong in China before changing his mind). New Zealand went further ahead early in the second half, making PNG's penalty goal in the 89th minute little more than a consolation.

This meant if the Solomon Islands beat Fiji in the second game, both themselves and New Zealand would go through, while neither Fiji or Papua New Guinea could qualify. The Solomons dominated the game, but it remained goalless. The result puts one team out of the World Cup

133. Papua New Guinea - having lost their two games, elimination was confirmed only after Fiji failed to beat their hosts. The result also puts New Zealand into the next round.

The final day of group matches will see Fiji play Papua New Guinea first. Assuming Fiji win, then it sets a target for the hosts in their final game against New Zealand, and a two goal victory for Fiji means the Solomons will need a point in their last game.


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A note from yesterday's game. Just before Papua New Guinea pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, New Zealand's Tony Lochhead was cautioned. As he had already received a yellow card just before half time, he should have been off the field during injury time, but the referee did not notice. He has been given the red card post match, and is suspended from the next game. The means he played for three minutes in which he should have been off the pitch. I do not think any further action is being taken, although I would be surprised if Vanuatu's Bruce George got to referee another game in this tourney.

132. Samoa. Nine goals, of course is exactly what was wanted if the Samoans were to try to qualify despite losing the first two games. Of course it would have helped if they had scored them. A 9-0 defeat by New Caledonia wraps up what will still be seen as progress by Samoa, having got out of the first qualifying round, and lifted their FIFA ranking. For New Caledonia, confirmed in the semi-finals and the four team home/away series Jacques Haeko scored five goals, including all three to come in the second half.

131. Vanuatu. Coming onto the field after the New Caledonia - Samoa game, Vanuatu knew they had to win by five goals to put themselves ahead of Tahiti. This was made less likely after just 13 minutes when they conceded a penalty, scored by Nicholas Vallar. Tahiti added to this with goals from three of the Tehau brothers, Jonathon (35 minutes), Alvin (57) and Teaonui (85). Lorenzo missed out this time. Vanuatu pulled back a goal to 4-1, but this was in injury time.

In last year's Pacific Cup, the semi-finalists were New Caledonia, Tahiti, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. For this tournament, New Zealand are added to the mix, and so one of the quartet will probably miss out after the final group games tomorrow


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130. Fiji. As the first match up on the day, the objective for Fiji was to set a target to make sure that the Solomon Islands needed a point against New Zealand, and then then to hope New Zealand would win. In order to avoid the complications of equal goal differences, a two goal margin was really required. Thirteen minutes on the clock, Fiji are 1-0 up through Alvin Singh, so things are looking good - but time goes on and no more goals are forthcoming. With just five minutes to play, it falls to Kema Jack to score the all important goal, an equaliser which means Papua New Guinea finish with one point from the tournament.

By failing to win the match, Fiji are immediately eliminated, and hence the second match of the day, another 1-1 draw between New Zealand and the hosts, Solomon Islands decides only the 1/2 finishing order in the group.



With the various problems between Fiji and New Zealand, and between Fiji's FA and the OFC, I would imagine that Fiji's exit (especially without the need for a contrived result in the final game) will have been cheered by the officialdom.



Four years ago, a match between New Zealand and Fiji had to be postponed and eventually played at a neutral venue, as New Zealand are enacting sanctions against the military dictatorship in Fiji, the OFC general secretary Tai Nicholas was critical of Fiji, (I think in particular of their justice system). This resulted in him being charged with being in contempt of court by a Fijian court and liable to arrest on arrival in Fiji. This in turn is the main reason why these finals, and other OFC tournaments have been switched away from Fiji


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 08 Jun 2012, 21:13 
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Not Strictly World Cup as the four finalists out in the Solomon Islands, (New Zealand, Tahiti, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands) go on to play a home/away series before one gets a play off chance to go to the World Cup.

The knock out matches are therefore for the Oceania Nations Cup title, and a place in the 2013 Confederations Cup, and a shock in the semi-finals

In the first semi-final, a goal by Jonathon Tehau gave Tahiti a 1-0 win over the hosts, Solomon Islands
Then two second half goals gave New Caledonia a 2-0 win over New Zealand. Bertanrd Kai, who plays for Hienghene Sport in New Caledonia, scored first, with Georges Gope-Fenepej adding a second in injury time.

On FIFA rankings, New Zealand are best in Oceania, 100th world wide, New Caledonia second best, or 155th world wide. (Wales are 38th, Scotland 41st and Northern Ireland 103rd World wide, Liechenstein 149th).

This is the 9th time of asking for this tournament. Australia, who only played in the first seven have won on four occasions, and New Zealand on 4. There will be a new name on the trophy on Sunday


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 11 Jun 2012, 12:18 
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Tahiti won the Oceania cup, and therefore go into next season's Confederation Cup. The match was won by a single, ear;y goal. The 3/4 play off was won by New Zealand, who looked comfortably ahead on the hosts after Chris Wood scored a hat-trick in the first half hour, but the Solomoon Islands pulled it back, and levelled with only three minutes of normal time to play. An injury time winner by ex AFC Wimbledon player, Shane Smeltz settled the tie.

Two rounds of South American qualification have been played this month. This is a third of the way through and with a single qualifying table of nine teams, no one is knocked out yet (or is likely to be this year). Still, Peru, paraguay and Bolivia are all beginning to get left behind. Argentina remain the form team although as they were idle last weekend (in World Cup terms), they have slipped to third in the group, behind Chile (played one more game, four wins, two defeats) and Uruguay (the only unbeaten side). Argentina followed up their 4-0 win over Ecuador by beating Brazil 4-3 in New York (including the near obligatory Messi hat-trick).

In Africa, the ten groups of four teams apiece have played their first two games this month. They now go into hibernation until March while the Nations Cup gears itself up to play again in January. It will be June next year when the fourth and fifth rounds are played and we see teams knocked out here. Of the 40 matches played this month, only three were away wins, and Guinea were involved in two of them, winning at Zimbabwe on the opening day, but then losing at home to Egypt. Egypt and Tunisia are the only teams with a 100% record from two games while Cape Verde are the only pointless team.

In Asia (where two rounds of games have taken place this month already) and in CONCACAF (where there has only been one round), there is also a midweek round and I'll summarise it all after then.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 13 Jun 2012, 12:35 
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Three out of the ten rounds of Asian Competition in the current groups have taken place this month. The final three rounds take place next June, with a round each in September, October, November and March to fill in.

Already, the East Asian giants, Japan and South Korea look to be on their way to Brazil. In Group B, Japan have won two of their games, while every other game in the group has been drawn. Japan have seven points from three games, after a 1-1 draw in Brisbane earlier today. It was a penalty be Luke Wilkshire (ex Bristol City, now Dinamo Moscow) that allowed Australia back into the game after Yuzo Kurihara (who was sent off right at the end for a second yellow card) had put Japan ahead. In the previous game, at home to Jordan, Kurihara had scored the final goal in a 6-0 win for Japan, after goals for Ryoichi Maeda, Shinji Kagawa and a hat-trick for Keisuke Honda (who is also based in Moscow, playing for CSKA). The group had opened with Honda, Maeda and Shinji Okazaki scoring in a 3-0 win for Japan over Oman.

The fifth team in the group is Iraq, who have two points from 1-1 draws in Jordan, and at home (actually played in Doha, Qatar) to Oman. Australia opened with a 0-0 draw in Oman, and so have two points from two. Oman, if you count up the mentions have points from the mentions have two points from three games, while Jordan have only one point, but from two games only.

In group A, SOuth Korea did not get off to the best of starts, although the only reason they were pointless at the end of day 1, is that they had no game. 22 minutes into their game in Qatar, they were 1-0 down, but they were only behind for four minutes before Lee Kuen-Ho levelled the scores. He also scored the final goal in a 4-1 win. Lee has joined Ulsan this season, after four years in Japan, and the other goals were scored by new team mates at Ulsan, Kim SHin-Wook and Kwak Tae-Hwi. Today South Korea were at home to Lebanon, and two goals for Kim Bo-Kyung, (who does play in Japan, for Cerezo Osaka) moved them into a safe position, before substitute Koo Ja-Cheol (Augsburg) finished the scoring in the final minute. At least, SOuth Korea are not the only team to win a game in this group; in fact both games on day one were 1-0 away wins, for Iran in Uzbekistan (a very late goal) and for Qatar in Lebanon, (almost inevitably, the goal was from Uruguay born Sebastian Soria). Iran and Qatar drew 0-0 in Tehran today, and so are both on 4 points (Qatar have played 3 games, Iran 2). Lebanon (3 games) and Uzbekistan (2) have one point each after drawing with each other last week in Beirut.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 13 Jun 2012, 23:04 
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The first two rounds have been completed in Round 3 of Concacaf's qualification process.

The remaining games are in September and October, so this area is poised to provide the next six to get knocked out.

Only two sides, Mexico and Panama have started with two straight wins.

The first game was Cuba v Canada with Canadians coming away with a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Olivier Occean. Occean has had a good season, scoring 17 in Greuther Furth's promotion push. Canada hung on despite Valerenga goalkeeper Lars Hirsschfeld being sent off. WIth Milan Borjan (born Croatia, now playing in ROmania) in goal, Canada drew 0-0 against Honduras in their second game. Canada's next two games are against Panama, who have managed their two wins without losing a goal. 2-0 in Honduras, 1-0 v Cuba. Blas Perez scored two second half goals in the first game, while Nelson Barahona was the goalscorer in match 2.

Mexico's wins were 3-1 against Guyana, and 2-1 in El Salvador. They now play two games against Costa Rica, who were pegged back after leading 2-0 after just 16 minutes against El Salvador, but then won comfortably by 4-0 in Guyana.

That leaves Group A, where USA opened with a 3-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda, played in Tampa. They found Guatemala more difficult, for although Clinton Dempsey put them ahead, having also scored in the previous game, they conceded a 83rd minute equaliser scored by Marco Pappa, not showing gratitude for the fact he earns his wages in the USA, with Chicago Fire. This is Guatemala's only point so far, as they had earlier lost 2-1 in Jamaica. The Jamaicans, like USA have four points as they then drew 0-0 in Antigua.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 07 Sep 2012, 11:49 
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The Autumn session of Qualifyers opened with two games in Oceania.
The Solomon Islands beat Tahiti 2-0. THis is a result for the Solomons, as during the recent Oceania Nations Cup/World Cup series played in Honoria, Tahiti beat their hosts in the semi-final before beating New Caledonia in the final and grabbing a place in next year's Confederations Cup. In the same Semi-finals, New Zealand were beaten by New Caledonia, but this does not carry through to the WOrld Cup home/away groups. New Zealand went to New Caledonia early today, and won 2-0 - former AFC Wimbledon striker Shane Smeltz opened the scoring


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Sep 2012, 09:06 
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129. Cuba 11 September 2012. A 1-0 defeat in Honduras, Cuba's fourth consecutive defeat at this stage removes any faint hopes the Cubans have of continuing beyond into the final series of CONCACAF qualifying. The goalscorer in the match was Jerry Bengston, fresh from impressive performances for his side in the Olympics; he also scored in the 3-0 home defeat for Cuba at the start of the weekend

Despite losing twice to Guatemala, Antigua and Barbuda still have a faint chance of going through - they have one point, while all the other three teams in the group have 7. USA beat Jamaica 1-0, avenging the 2-1 away defeat earlier in the weekend. Hugu Gomez, who plays in the Mexican league scored the only goal of the game

In Group B, Mexico's fourth win, 1-0 against Costa Rica means they are safely through. Javier Henandez scored the only goal. Guyana cling to mathematical chances of staying in the competition, although this will require a victory over Mexico next month.

In Asia, Japan sit proudly and clear on top of the group - 10 points from four games, with their nearest rivals Jordan on just 4 points (with a game in hand). Before Jordan beat Australia yesterday, Japan had been the only team to win in this group. On eround of matches next month, with Japan sitting it out as the group reaches the half way stage. In group A, South Korea lead the way, and will also have 10 points at the half way stage if they can win in IRan. Iran are second on 4 points, level with Qatar and Lebanon, although the latter have played a game more and will sit out next months games. Uzbekistan, despite a home draw with the Koreans look at risk of getting left behind if they lose in Qatar next month.

New Zealand have recoved from their poor finish to the Oceania Nations Tournament with two wins at the start of the final group. The Solomon islands, who beat Tahiti in their first game were thrashed 6-1 in New Zealand Tahiti have no points after going down 4-0 at home to New Caledonia. Hardly auspicious for the country representing the region in the COnfederations Cup next year.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 07 Oct 2012, 17:51 
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Another International Weekend is upon us, and there will be action around the World in World Cup Qualification.
The one exception to this is in Africa, where World Cup qualifying is on sabbatical until next March, the countries being involved next week in winning places in South Africa for January’s Cup of Nations.

In South America, where the nine countries play each other twice in League format (Brazil, as hosts are missing), the first series of matches this month marks the half way stage. Argentina lead the race, and are at home to Uruguay in the stand out game for the area. Uruguay, two points behind Argentina are in fourth, with Columbia and Ecuador between them. Both of this pair are at home giving them a chance to stretch out the table.
Paraguay, visiting Columbia and bottom of the table are liable to be cast adrift, especially if Bolivia pick up points against Peru. It would be a surprise if Paraguay, Bolivia or Peru qualify from their current positions, but all the top six remain hopeful with one to miss out completely, and one to face a play off.

In Europe too, nothing can be settled. Most teams play their third and fourth games of a ten match programme, meaning clarity only comes in the summer. Still there are nine teams with a two out of two record, and these can put daylight between them and the rest of the fields. Germany play Ireland (away) and Sweden (home) – both opponents have played only a single match and won. The Netherlands should win their third game (Andorra Home) before heading to Romania, while the Romanians defend their 100% record first in Turkey.

Group E is an interesting one, without a stand out team. Switzerland have won twice, but it would be a surprise if both Norway (home) and Iceland (away) succumb. Group F already looks like a two horse race, Russia and Portugal have both won twice and every other game has been drawn, giving each team one point. Russia and Portugal meet on Friday. Also meeting are Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Both have two wins behind them, but in Group G, Slovakia are hot on the leaders tails.

England had better go top of their group on Friday, currently level on four points with both Poland and Montenegro, neither of whom play. Poland play England on Tuesday, while Ukraine who have only played one game so far (the draw at Wembley), visit Moldova and then play home to Montenegro. In the five team group, France having Finland and Belarus, have Friday off before travelling to Spain. The Spanish won their only game so far, in Georgia, and go away again to Belarus in their Friday game.

The Asian groups, like South American reach the half way stage this month. There is only one set of games in Asia this month, with another in November, before the climax over three weeks in the summer. Things begin to get interesting now, with two teams from each of the groups of 5 heading to Brazil. It is the East Asians, South Korea and Japan that lead the way. South Korea will make the difficult trip to Iran, who are their closest rivals, despite defeat in Lebanon last month. Iran would pull level with the Koreans on points if they win, a result that would also allow Qatar to keep up, by beating Uzbekistan. Lebanon miss out on this moth. In Group A, Japan have no fixture, but will be satisfied leading the group with 10 points from four games. They only dropped points in Australia, who will want to improve on two draws so far, when they play Iraq in Doha. Still, Australia will not be so worried about playing catch up, with three home matches, and no more away trips to Arab opponents after this month. The other match this month sees Jordan playing in Oman, and the away team start on a high after their victory over Australia last month.

In Oceania, the four team group plays games three and four this month, which means the pairings are home and away/ New Zealand, having won the first two games, play Tahiti who have lost twice. Should New Zealand win both games, then they will be on the verge of reaching the play offs, while Tahiti need to win at least one to stay in the competition. New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands are paired in the other matches, with the team that comes out best being the main rivals to New Zealand for the play off place.

The winner of the Oceania group play off against the team finishing fourth in the final group of North American qualifying. This final group has not even started yet, and from the current round, three groups of four, only one team has confirmed its position as through, and one as being knocked out. The other ten will find out their fate within the next 10 days.
Mexico are the team through, and El Salvador will be sure to join them should they beat Costa Rica this weekend. As they finish at home to Guyana, Costa Rica would have renewed hope even if they draw – for they finish at home to Guyana, while El Salvador finish away to Mexico. For Guyana, they need to beat Mexico and Costa Rica, while El Salvador does not win either game. Even then they may need more than a single goal win in Costa Rica. I feel that they have already given up and decided money is more important than points, as they have switched their home fixture against Mexico, and will play in Houston.

For Cuba in Group C, there is no survival route. Four straight defeats have made certain of that, but any two of the other three go through. Canada have the bonus of playing at home to Cuba first; Panama are clear favourites though – a home victory over Honduras would guarantee their place, and even if this fails, they finish off by playing Cuba. The second place in the next round is likely to be decided in the final game, when Honduras play Canada.

Antigua and Barbuda’s hopes are also remote. Not only do they have to beat both USA (home) and Jamaica (away), but they have to hope both these teams lose to Guatemala. Any other combination of results sees A&B, with only one point so far, knocked out. For both USA and Jamaica, beating the minnow, and drawing against Guatemala will be enough to go through, while Guatemala themselves know four points are enough, and will want to go to Kansas to face to USA needing only a draw.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Oct 2012, 10:47 
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Sudan are to appeal to FIFA after the World Body decided on Tuesday to award their home game against Zambia as a 3-0 away in. The match was played back in June, with Sudan winning 2-0 courtesy of second half goals from Muhannad Tahir and Saif Masawi.

In the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations four months earlier, Suadn had also played Zambia (losing 3-0), but Masawi had been sent off for two yellow cards. An automatic one match ban was therefore in order, and the World Cup match was when it should be served out.

By playing Masawi in the World Cup match, FIFA ordered the sanction of awarding the match to the opponents, plus a fine of 60,000 CHF (which is the minimum writted into FIFA regulations).

Sudan claimed that they were not informed by FIFA or the Conferedation of African Football of the suspension, and hence they were within their rights to play Masawi. In fact it appears the only person that said to the Sudanese FA that Masawi should not play, having been sent off in the last match was Masawi himself! If is normally expected that the CAF should inform a nation of a suspension.

Sudan also claim that Zambia took over a week to put in their protest to FIFA, when the rules state that it should be submitted within 48 hours of the end of the game. Despite both the game Masawi being sent off in, and the World Cup game being against Zambia, they apparently did not notice the discrepancy until they read it in the press.

The Sudanese have also complained that Sudanese media were unpatriotic, by bringing the matter out into the open, when otherwise it may have been missed.

Finally, Ghana have also added their voice to unfairness of it all. Having lost to Zambia the following week, their chances of reaching the World Cup may well be put into jeopardy by the additional points now given to Zambia.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 13 Oct 2012, 06:38 
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128. Antigua and Barbuda
127. Guyana


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 14 Oct 2012, 12:52 
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Replying to my own comments again, but that is the way of life.

The two sides who fell from the CONCACAF group were expected, but they still have something to contribute as the remaining nine are scythed down to six in midweek.

A win would have given Antigua and Barbuda only a faint glimmer of hope for their final game, but they kept in the game against the USA until Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders) scored his second header of the game in the final minute. Dexter Blackstock had quickly levelled after Johnson had put USA ahead in the first half. IN a similar story, Guatemala beat Jamaica 2-1 - again for the winners it was score first (Carlos Figuereo, 15 minutes), concede equaliser (Luton Shelton, penalty, 61) and win late (Carlos Ruiz, 85).

Guatemala and the USA share top place in the group with 10 points each, and a draw when they meet in Kansas will put both through. However, a losing side could be easily passed by Jamaica, who will play Antugua and Barbuda at home, knowing a three goal margin will certainly put the pressure on. I think Jamaica have a ver good chance of making it if USA score early, but by the second half in Kansas - both sides are liable to settle for the point if that is still the requirement. Against both USA and Guatemala, Jamaica have won one and lost one, but they are off the pace as they did not win in Antigua.

Mexico were already assured of going through, Guyana did not have any real hopes, and so switched their game to Houston, Texas. They were rewarded with a crowd over 12000. The two matches played in Guyana were seen by 11000 and 4000, but a game in Texas would also score with higher receipts per person watching. With 12 minutes to play, the game was suprisingly 0-0, then the Mexicans came through with a deluge, Guardado got the first, Peralta a minute later, then an own goal, and one from Hernandez before Reyna finished off the 8 minutes of madness! 5-0 to Mexico.

For the 35,000 packed into the Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador, the evening was probably more tense, before it boiled over at the end. The home side, El Salvador started a point ahead of Costa Rica, but went behind after half an hour. Jose Cubero doing the damage. For the home side Eliseo QUintanilla was red carded with five minutes to play, and then Alfredo Pacheco also saw red in injury time. Although Costa Rica still need to win their final game to tie up qulaification, the match in question is at home to Guyana. El Salvador need to win in Mexico to stand any chance of benifitting shold Costa Rica slip up.

In Toronto, Cuba, already eliminated could name only 11 players for their match against Canada. Rumour says four player defected (i.e asked for political assylum) before the game. Tosaint Ricketts, who plays for Valarenga in Norway put the Canadians one up in the first half. Roberto Linares of Cuba and Olivier Occean of Canada were both red-carded in the middle of the second half, incidents that were immediately followed by Will Johnson doubling the home advantage. Sonafterwards, Burnley's David Edgar added the third. Meanwhile 27,000 were in Panama City to see the groups other game, and although it was 0-0, this probably suits Panama more than Honduras. Honduras play Canada in their final game and must beat the Canadians to go through; Panama will be in the final round unless Honduras beat Canada, and they lose be a larger margin in Cuba.

The South American group has neatly divided into three sections, each of three teams at the half way stage. The top three teams all look certain to go through, and all celebrated home wins; Argentina are top with 17 points from 8 games, Columbia and Ecuador have 16 points each.

By contrast, there are three teams whose case looks hopeless, and none won, Bolivia (5 points) and Peru (8) drew 1-1 with each other in Bolivia, while Paraguay (quarter finalists in South Africa) are rooted to the foot of the table after losing 2-0 in Columbia.

That leaves the "interesting trio" in mid table. Fourth place goes through, Fifth goes into a play off, and Sixth goes out. Uruguay and Chile are both on 12 points, despite defeats, while Venezuela sat out this round.

The big game of the day saw Argentina beat Uruguay by 3-0. It took over an hour before the near inevitable Lionel Messi goal opened the scoring, he also completed it 14 minutes later, while Sergio Aguero scored the other.

The Oceania group also reached half way, but this means teams will be knocked out on Tuesday. New Caledonia returned from a dissapointing French Outre Mer tournament (they finished 7th), to win 6-2 in the Solomon Islands. Actually, the team that travelled to France was not their strongest squad, and I think Georges Gope-Fenepej who scored a hat-trick in Honoria was not in Paris. New Zealand then continued their relentless march through the stafe with a 2-0 win in Tahiti. Tahiti may be playing in the Confederations Cup, but they have practically no chance of reaching the world cup as well, and will be out if they do not win in New Zealand on Tuesday. Assuming New Zealand win this game, then the Solomon Islands will also be knocked out unless they win the return in New Caledonia.

The two Oceania games opened and closed the passage of the days play, with all the other games, including 24 in Europe starting and finishing in between. Possibly the most important goal of the day in Europe, was the first one, scored by Alexander Kerzhakov for Russia - and proving to be the only goal in their game against Portugal, giving the Russians a lead in Group F. A lack of goals in Chisinau was the feature of the Ukraine's visit to Moldova; their failure to capitalise on the point gained at Wembley leaves England with a good hand, especially if they continue to show their best form on their travels when they to Warsaw in mid-week.

The Welsh may be pleased with their come back to beat Scotland, but the result is liable to be a footnote when all qualifyers are known - the Scottish bid may have hit the buffers earlier than is traditional. The only group where two teams have 100% from 3 games is Group D, where the Netherlands (3-0 over Andorra) will visit Romania (1-0 in Turkey) in mid week. So far the Romania defence have not conceded, while the Netherlands have scored 9 conceding only during their 4-1 win in Hungary. The most anticipated match will be in Madrid's Vincente Calderon stadium. Here Spain meet France, both with two wins out of two under their belts. However, while Spain were in qualification action on Friday, returning from Belaurus with a tidy 4-0 win (het trick for Barcelona's Pedro), France warmed up in a dissapointing style with Japan winning 1-0 at the Stade de France. Shinji Kagawa scoring the late winner.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 16 Oct 2012, 12:43 
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126. Tahiti. (October 16 2012)
By losing 3-0 to New Zealand, Tahiti's fourth defeat in four group matches since winning the Oceania Nations Cup.
The defeat was made in Scotland - Michael McGlinchy, a Celtic youngster who represented Scotland at U-20 and U-21 level (but not often) but then switched to the land of his birth, opened the New Zealand scoring after just three minutes, and added the third, three minutes into injury time, while Chris Killen (also at Celtic, playing 26 matches compared to McGlinchy's one) scored New Zealand's second goal

125. Solomon Islands
Inevitable even before Georges Gope-Fenejec opened the scoring for New Caledonia in the fifth minute, the Solomon Islands fell to a 5-0 defeat and out of the cup. New Caledonia are New Zealand's only opponent now for the play off spot. The next game, in March will see New Caledonia visit New Zealand.

Numbers 124, 123 and 122 will be from the CONCACAF games tonight.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Oct 2012, 08:46 
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I'll try and add some detail later
124. Canada - after a shocking 8-1 defeat in Honduras. Panama draw 1-1 in Cuba
123. Guatemala - losing 3-1 to the USA in a game where both through if drawn. Jamacia scramble ahead on goals after beating Anigua & Barbuda 4-1
122. El Salvador. Always the most likely, they went down 2-0 in Mexico, but even a win would not have served them after Costa Rica thrashed Guyana 7-0


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Nov 2012, 00:03 
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14 November - 4 matches played in Asia, two in Europe. No teams qualified for next round or knocked out, but Japan are closing in on a place in the finals with a 2-1 win in Oman. STuttgart's Shinji Okazaki scored the late goal, which puts Japan (13 points from 5 games) no less than eight points ahead of the rest of the group. Australia (who did not play), Oman and Iraq (who beat Jordan 1-0) are all on five points. Jordan on four points are still in contention.

In the other group, it was South Korea who were not playing and they lost top place in the group to Uzbekistan, 1-0 winners at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Ulugbek Bakayev scoring the goal. Qatar's favourite Uruguayan, Sebastian Soria scored the only goal as Qatar beat Lebanon, With four points, Lebanon are not without a chance, Qatar, Iran and South Korea have seven points each while Uzbekistan now have eight.

Montenegro beat San Marino 3-0 to go two points ahead of England in European Group H, while Northern Ireland got a very late equaliser against Azerbaijan in Belfast. Neither side looks likely to go through


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013, 13:47 
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Only CONCACAF has restarted for the new year, with three games, the first in their 10 match series to decide the continents finalists.

Surprise results though, with the USA caught cold. Their players have been on break as its the close season, while Honduras have just been playing in the Copa Centroamerica (in which they were runners up to the hosts).


USA scored first, but Jerry Bengston continued his habit of scoring important international goals, with the winner.

The other games were drawn, with Mexico not being able to break down the Jamaican defence (0-0) despite home advantage.

Panama took a two goal lead midway into the first half of their game with Costa Rica, but were pulled back to 2-2.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 21 Mar 2013, 23:23 
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Preview of the Coming Qualification games is on the blog at www.leohoenig.com

Japan will be first to qualify if they win, New Caledonia will probably be the only team knocked out this month.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 22 Mar 2013, 13:53 
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121. New Caledonia. If there is a New Zealand equivalent of Barry Davies, then surely he will have said "What a delighted scorer, its Tommy Smith!!", as the Ipswich Town player scored an injury time winner to make the final Oceania group match irrelevent. New Zealand go through to an intercontinental play off after a 2-1 win.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013, 12:06 
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Image

USA v Costa Rica


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013, 15:23 
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RegencyCheltenhamSpa wrote:
Where was the USA match being played?


Denver, Colorado. At the wonderfully named "Dick's Sporting Goods Park".
All profits to Arsenal FC, (the day to day operations of the ground is operated by Kroenke Sports Enterprises), Stan Kroenke (through various companies owns Denver Nuggets (Baseball), Colorado Avalanche (Ice Hockey), Colorado Mammoth (Lacrosse), Colorado Rapids (Association Football), St Louis Rams (American Football) and is the major shareholder at Arsenal (sport unknown).

Denver expects an average of 10 inches of snow in March, and 6 in April, so this is not freak weather.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 01 Apr 2013, 11:20 
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MarkHalliwell wrote:
120 Scotland :) :) :) :)

He who laughs first. I am not convinced there will be any British teams in Brazil. I can see England being the 9th placed runner-up, and hence not making the play offs!

I have done my review, on www.leohoenig.com

Japan missed out on being the first qualifyer, things are going to move on in June.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 02 Jun 2013, 21:26 
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I have blogged a quick preview of the summer qualification games

Four Asians will qualify, and quite possibly Argentina

Somewhere around 30 teams will fall, mainly in Africa, four in Asia and maybe one or two in Europe.

www.leohoenig.com


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 03 Jun 2013, 12:17 
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Ralph wrote:
How many teams go to the WC via the playoffs?


Thirteen European (as in UEFA) teams make it to the World Cup. The 53 teams are divided into 8 groups of 6, one of 5.
All Nine winners go to Brazil, and four second placed teams by winning play offs. The "worst" second placed team based on discounting results against the 6th place team in 6 team groups does not reach the play offs.

The other confederaations get the following qualifiers
Africa - 5. Each of the 10 group winners from the current groups goes into a play off (knock out round).
Asia 4 or 5. Will complete a series of two groups of 5 this month. Winners and Runners up qualify. Third placed teams place off against each other with the winner then playing against a South American team.
South America 4 or 5. Playing a single group of 9 teams, 16 matches. Four direct qualification places. 5th place plays against the Asian 5th team
North/Central America 3 or 4. Currently playing final group of six teams, top three qualify. Fourth placed team pays off against New Zealand.
Oceania 0 or 1. New Zealand through to a play off against fourth place from CONCACAF.

That adds up to 31, the 32nd (or first) is the hosts, Brazil.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 04 Jun 2013, 13:40 
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Qualification for 2014.

1. Brazil (Hosts)
2. Japan. 4 June 2013
Japan become the first team to qualify, but left it late.
Australia fielded a team where the 11 players starting came from 11 clubs, 8 countries and three continents, and went ahead through Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht) with less than 10 minutes to go.
had it stayed at 1-0, Japan would have needed to try again to qualify, by Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow) scored an injury time penalty equaliser to put them through


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 04 Jun 2013, 21:11 
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Back to the knocked out list.

119. Lebanon.
I suspect there is going to be a story about the finish of this game. Soccerway had it marked up as 10 minutes of injury time. Lebanon needed to win in order to keep their chances of qualifying alive, and took the lead against South Korea in the 12th minute.
Kim Chiwoo is listed as scoring the equaliser 7 minutes into injury time, Lebanon's Walid Ismael sent off (second caution) just afterwards.

Lebanon have only one game left to play, when they visit Iran next week; in the unlikely event of them winning, they will move ahead of Qatar until the last game is played. Qatar also have a single game to play (in Uzbekistan in two weeks time) and a liable to also be knocked out after losing 1-0 at home to Iran today. Qatar's only chance is to win their game, while Iran lose both those and reaching the play off. The Iranian goalscorer today was Reza Ghoochannejhad, who plays for Standard Liege.
Iran have ten points, South Korea have 11 as do Uzbekistan (who did not play today). South Korea play Uzbekistan and Iran over the next two weeks.

Oman beat Iraq 1-0 with a goal at the end of the first half. This jumps then into second place, five points behind Japan in the group. Australia play Jordan next week, both teams are two points behind Oman, and both have two games to play - so the winner in Melbourne next week will go second in the group. Both sides know that if they win both games, Australia finish off against Iraq in Sydney a week later, while Jordan will play Oman in Amman (the Jordanian capital). Japan's final game, next week will in Qatar, but the home side is Iraq

There is one more match tonight, although its a late evening kick off in Jamaica and hence the early hours of the morning in the UK. Both Jamaica and Mexico are looking for a first group win in this game, Mexico have three draws, Jamaica two draws and a defeat. The game is ahead of the other group games to free Mexico for the Confederations Cup later in the month

Two matches tomorrow, African Group F which is also playing midweek (this and next Wednesday) when the other group games are at the weekend, to allow for Nigeria playing in the Confederations Cup


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 05 Jun 2013, 08:04 
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RegencyCheltenhamSpa wrote:
Be interesting to see Uzebekistan in the World Cup.


Uzbekistan is one of the teams with high hopes of reaching their first finals.
Mexico won the overnight game in Jamaica, propelling themselves to the top of the group.
Panama, currently second in the group are also bidding for their first finals

Meanwhile, I have updated the blog to comment on San Marino'c chances of surviving in the competition beyond Friday's matches, even though they are not playing in them


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 05 Jun 2013, 21:45 
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118. Kenya
Two games this afternoon in African Group F. Only one goal, scored by Ahmed Musa of Nigeria. Musa is a team mate of Honda (who scored yesterday for Japan) at CSKA Moscow. The goal means Nigeria are top of the group with 8 points, Malawi drew 0-0 with Namibia, which means Malawi have six points, Namibia 4 and Kenya stuck in last place on 2. Although Kenya can catch Nigeria, they can only do so if Nigeria were to lose at home to Malawi which would put Malawi on nine (or more) points.

In the eight games played in this group, there have been eight goals, two scoreless draws, four 1-0 wins (two home, two away) and two 1-1 draws.

There can be half a dozen or so teams knocked out on Friday. So I'll be back then


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 07 Jun 2013, 20:03 
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The wonderfully named Ghanain International, Richard Kissi Boateng plays for the equallly wonderfully named TP Mazembe Englebertin in the falsly named "Democratic Republic" of Congo.

Today he managed 24 minutes in Sudan before getting a red card.

Still, it did not matter to much to the result, Ghana won 3-1 with two goals from Asomoah Gyan, one from Sully Muntari

117. Sudan


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