Sunday, February 12, 2017

Early starters



While most of the world was taking a winter break, the year began with a shock 2-1 extra-time defeat for Trinidad and Tobago at home to Surinam in the Caribbean Cup qualifier 5th place play-off group. The Central American Cup was hosted by Panama who opened with a goalless draw against Belize, giving them their only point of the tournament. The hosts went on to lose 1-0 to eventual winners Honduras before picking up a win by the same result against Costa Rica. The Costa Ricans had played disappointing goalless draws against El Salvador and Nicaragua.
The Africa Cup of Nations took place in Gabon where Ivory Coast took an early flight home after drawing 0-0 with Togo and suffering a 1-0 loss to Morocco in their group matches. Tunisia got no further that the quarter-final stage losing 2-0 to Burkina Faso who went on to finish 3rd and DR Congo were also eliminated at that stage after a 2-1 defeat to Ghana who failed to reach the final after losing 2-0 to Cameroon. The Cameroonians overcame Egypt 2-1 in the final to life the cup and move up in the world rankings.       

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Russia 2018 takes winter break



The World Cup qualifiers took a winter break after a busy week in November. French Guiana came from 2 down to blow hosts Haiti away 5-2 with a hat-trick from Sloan Privat in the rearranged World Cup qualifier in the Caribbean section while in North America Mexico were 2-1 winners in the USA and Honduras lost 1-0 at home to Panama. In South America Paraguay were humiliated 4-1 at home to Peru and lost 1-0 in Bolivia who had earlier been humbled 5-0 in Venezuela. The Venezuelans then lost 3-0 in Ecuador and Peru lost 2-0 at home to Brazil, who top the football rankings, while Argentina put 3 past their visitors from Colombia and Chile sent Uruguay home 3-1 losers. In Europe Poland were 3-0 victorious in Romania and Israel enjoyed the same result at 9-man Albania while Armenia came from 2 down against Montenegro to celebrate a last-minute home win and  Denmark triumphed 4-1 at home to Kazakhstan. Georgia could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Moldova while the Irish Republic won by a single goal in Austria and Belarus who enjoyed a 1-0 win in Greece were beaten 1-0 in Bulgaria days later and Lithuania were taken apart 4-0 in Slovakia.
In Africa Cameroon were held to a 1-1 home draw by Zambia while Cape Verde were beaten 2-0 by their visitors from Burkina Faso and Senegal lost 2-1 in South Africa. Nigeria enjoyed a 3-1 home win over Algeria while Mali were held at home to a goalless draw by Gabon and in Oceania Tahiti lost 1-0 away to the Solomon Islands while New Zealand fired blanks in New Caledonia. In Asian qualifiers Australia drew 2-2 in Thailand, Syria and Iran played a goalless match in Malaysia and Iraq lost 2-0 in the UAE while in the Solidarity Cup in Malaysia, Brunei smashed East Timor 4-0, Laos were humiliated 4-1 by Macau and enjoyed a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka. In an East Asian Cup qualifier Taiwan defeated Guam 2-0 in Hong Kong.