Thursday, June 12, 2014

Finals in mind

As most of the world was focused on the countdown to the World Cup, African nations began their battle to reach their own finals, throwing up a bunch of interesting results. Botswana who had been thrashed 4-0 by Swaziland in a home friendly managed a goalless draw at Burundi who had won 3-0 in another friendly away to Tanzania, but the most surprising result was Uganda's 2-1 defeat at Madagascar, though the away goal did eventually see them through while Chad's 3-1 home victory over Malawi saw the hosts bow out on the away goals rule. Comoros moved up the rankings despite elimination after losing 1-0 in Kenya and drawing 1-1 in their return match while Tanzania and Namibia enjoyed 1-0 home wins over Zimbabwe and Congo respectively, though Congo hit back with a 3-0 win in the return match. Rwanda eased past Libya 3-0 on aggregate having drawn their away match while Guinea Bissau held the Central African Republic to a goalless draw and disposed of them 3-1 on home soil. Mauritania who had won 2-0 away to Mauritius in the preliminary round were finally halted 3-0 at Equatorial Guinea while Liberia fell 2-0 in Lesotho and there was some satisfaction for South Sudan who went out holding on to a 0-0 draw against Mozambique in Sudan.
In The AFC Challenge Cup held in the Maldives the outstanding result was Afghanistan's 3-1 victory over Turkmenistan while in friendly matches Kyrgyzstan drew 2-2 in Kuwait and South Korea lost 1-0 at home to Tunisia.
Finland took part in The Baltic Cup and were defeated 1-0 by Lithuania in Latvia while in friendly matches in preparation for the World Cup the Netherlands were held to a 1-1 draw at how to Ecuador while Italy suffered the same fate at home to lowly Luxembourg. Algeria defeated Armenia 3-1 in Switzerland while in the USA Honduras lost 4-2 to Israel and Ghana humbled South Korea with 4 goals without reply.