Friday, July 01, 2016

Red hot Chile rule the Americas

A year after Chile hosted and won the 2015 Copa America, the Copa America Centenario was hosted by USA in a celebration of the centenary of the South American football confederation. The 10 South American countries, hosts USA plus Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Haiti and Panama took part in the competition.
The Americans topped group A ahead of Colombia after sweeping Costa Rica aside 4-0 and watching Costa Rica shock Colombia 3-2 in the final match of the group.
In group B Brazil were held to a goalless draw by Ecuador and despite hammering Haiti 7-1 with a hat-trick from Coutinho were eliminated after losing controversially 1-0 to group winners Peru.
In group C with both teams reduced to 10 men, Mexico scored 2 late goals to overcome Uruguay 3-1 and with the Uruguayans suffering a shock 1-0 loss to Venezuela, their 3-0 win over Jamaica was a mere consolation while Mexico, who defeated Jamaica 1-0, were group winners on goal difference ahead of Venezuela after tying with them 1-1 on the final group day.
Argentina and Chile progressed from group D while Panama beat Bolivia 2-1 into 3rd place. Ten-man Panama were pummelled 5-0 by group winners Argentina with a hat-trick from Lionel Messi.
Chile demolished Mexico 7-0 with 4 goals from Vargas in the quarter finals while Argentina brushed Venezuela aside 4-1 before burying their American hosts 4-0 to reach the final.
The USA finished 4th in the tournament after losing 1-0 to Colombia while in the final Chile and Argentina played out a goalless match with the Chileans winning on penalties and moving to the top of the football rankings having seen Messi miss his spot kick for Argentina.         

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Continents calling

With the 2016 European Championships and Copa America Centenario just around the corner several warm-up matches took place in which South American champions Chile suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Jamaica and European champions Spain were stunned 1-0 at home to Georgia. In other friendly matches Armenia smashed Guatemala 7-1 in Carson USA while Slovakia humbled world champions Germany 3-1 in a drenched Augsburg and the Republic of Ireland were embarrassed 2-1 at home to Belarus. Poland lost 2-1 at home to Euro absentees the Netherlands while the Czech Republic suffered the same result against South Korea in Prague and newly recognised Kosovo defeated the Faroe Islands 2-0 in Germany. Australia lost 2-1 at home to Greece and Syria lost 2-0 in Vietnam while Myanmar had a mixed bag losing 1-0 to Singapore but ending on a high with a 3-0 win over Hong Kong to finish 3rd as they hosted the Aya Bank Cup which was won by Vietnam. In an Asian Cup qualifier Cambodia achieved a 2-2 draw away to Taiwan.
In the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Swaziland celebrated a 1-0 victory over their visitors from Guinea and Kenya defeated Congo 2-1 while DR Congo thumped hosts Madagascar 6-1 and South Africa were 4-0 winners in Gambia. Botswana lost 2-1 at home to Uganda and Zambia were 3-2 loser in Guinea Bissau while Egypt won 2-0 in Tanzania and Mozambique continued to rise in the football rankings with a 3-2 victory in Rwanda. The Central African Republic put 3 past visitors Angola without reply while Senegal won 2-0 in Burundi and a single goal gave Sierra Leone a home win over Sudan.     
In the Caribbean Cup second round qualifiers Grenada lost at home to Puerto Rico on penalties after a 3-3 draw and were later thumped 5-1 away to Antigua and Barbuda while Martinique were brushed aside 4-0 in Dominica. The Dominican Republic stunned hosts Bermuda 1-0 before returning home to defeat French Guiana 2-1 and qualify for the next round as group 4 winners with the match between the 2 losers having been postponed due to heavy rain in French Guiana. Guyana who were pummelled 5-2 in Curacao travelled to the US Virgin Islands where they gave the natives a 7-0 spanking.
Papua New Guinea hosted the 2016 Oceania Nations Cup and began with a 1-1 draw against New Caledonia, eventually winning their group on goal difference but losing the final on penalties to pre-tournament favourites New Zealand on penalties after a goalless draw. The Kiwis won their group 6 points ahead of the other teams with a less that convincing 1-0 win over the Solomon Islands who had begun their campaign with a 1-0, but had fallen by the same scoreline to Fiji. The result of the tournament was Fiji's shock 3-2 defeat to Vanuatu.