Friday, October 18, 2019

Expected path


In the month of October there were relatively few unexpected results in international qualifiers. Bangladesh earned a 1-1 draw in India and Iran lost 1-0 away to Bahrain in World Cup qualifiers while in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Chad beat Liberia 1-0 in their home match to take it penalties and knock their visitors out, and Gambia did the same to Djibouti after a 1-1 draw.
In the Euro qualifiers England lost 2-1 away to the Czech Republic but bounced back in Bulgaria a few days later winning 6-0 in a black day for Bulgarian football remembered for racist chants while Bosnia and Herzegovina brushed Finland aside 4-1 at home but lost 2-1 in Greece and Turkey retuned from France with a 1-1 draw. Cyprus won 2-1 in Kazakhstan only to return home and get hammered 5-0 by Russia and Estonia held their Belarussian hosts to a goalless draw while in a CONCACAF Nations League match in Anguilla, St Martin celebrated a 3-0 victory over the Cayman Islands. In a friendly match played in France, Colombia lost 3-0 to Algeria for whom Riyad Mahrez netted twice.  

Friday, September 13, 2019

Back to business


After the summer break, competitive international football returned with European qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers in Africa and Asia. In Africa the qualifiers began with a shock in the first round as Djibouti celebrated a 2-1 victory over Eswatini and held them to a goalless draw in the away match to progress to the next round while a 3-1 win for Sudan in Chad was enough to take them through after a 0-0 home draw. Zimbabwe also made it to the next round despite being stunned 1-0 in Somalia, as did Equatorial Guinea who could only draw 1-1 at home to South Sudan in their first match. Angola paved their path to the next round with a 1-0 win in Gambia.
The Asian World Cup qualifiers entered the group stage where Palestine enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to Uzbekistan but were embarrassed 2-1 in Singapore the following week. The shock of the round was produced by Nepal who won 2-0 in Taiwan while Mongolia stunned their visitors from Myanmar 1-0 and Asian champions Qatar where held to a goalless draw at home to India. Lebanon lost 2-0 in North Korea and Kyrgyzstan fell to a single goal in Tajikistan while Australia were 3-0 winners in Kuwait and Malaysia defeated Indonesia 3-2 on their travels.
In the Euro 2020 qualifiers Croatia slaughtered Slovakia 4-0 on the road, but the Slovaks salvaged some pride days later with a 2-1 win away to Hungary while Croatia were held to a 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan. The Netherlands returned from Germany with a 4-2 victory that took them to the top of the Ziaian rankings and Greece were held 1-1 at home to little Liechtenstein while Bosnia & Herzegovina were beaten 4-2 in Armenia for whom Henrikh Mikhitaryan scored twice. Poland lost 2-0 in Slovenia while Portugal triumphed 4-2 in Serbia and Estonia were 2-1 losers at home to Belarus. The Czech Republic picked up a 3-0 win in Montenegro while Albania enjoyed a 4-2 home win against Iceland.
In the Concacaf Nations League Panama suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Bermuda.