Saturday, April 02, 2016

Marching on all over the world

Early in the year a single goal in Panama gave Haiti a play-off win over Trinidad and Tobago to secure them a place in the 2016 Centennial Copa America while in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Bangladesh Nepal swept the Maldives aside 4-1 and in friendly matches Suriname lost 3-2 away to French Guiana, Honduras were beaten 3-1 in Guatemala and Egypt lost 1-0 at home to Jordan.
In March the World Cup qualifiers in South America continued with Ecuador drawing 2-2 at home to Paraguay and losing 3-1 away to Colombia who had earlier got the better of hosts Bolivia with the 3-2 winner coming in stoppage time. Chile lost 2-1 at home to Argentina but had a 4-1 success in Venezuela who had drawn 2-2 in Peru with the Peruvians going on to lose only 1-0 to top team Uruguay in Montevideo.
In Asia The Philippines returned home from an honourable 1-0 defeat in Uzbekistan to stun their visitors from North Korea 3-2 with a last minute goal while Lebanon who lost 1-0 in South Korea were held to an embarrassing 1-1 draw by their visitors from Myanmar. Afghanistan travelling to neighbours Iran where they shocked Singapore 2-1 while Qatar lost 2-0 in China and there were big wins for Australia who hammered Jordan 5-1 and for Japan who put 5 past Syria without reply on home soil. Oman could only manage a single goal at home to Oman and Kyrgyzstan won by the same scoreline in Tajikistan while Bahrain scored 3 times at home to Yemen and Saudi Arabia picked up a 1-1 draw in the United Arab Emirates. In North America Guatemala defeated the American tourists 2-0 but were taken apart 4-0 on American soil while there were 3-0 wins for Mexico in Canada and for Costa Rica at home to Jamaica.
In the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Burundi were humiliated 3-1 at home to Namibia but reversed the result 3 days later in Namibia while Libya were humbled 2-1 in Sao Tome and Principe while Kenya were diminish by Guinea Bissau 1-0 home and away. Ivory Coast could only manage a 1-0 win at home to Sudan and were held to a 1-1 draw in the return fixture while South Sudan lost 2-1 at home to Benin and Equatorial Guinea were defeated 1-0 at home to Mali. Zambia and Congo hosted each other in 1-1 draws while Botswana lost 1-0 in Comoros but picked up a 2-1 win in the return match. Cape Verde fell 1-0 at home to Morocco who a few days later became the first team to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations while Algeria missed out on early qualification after sharing the spoils in a 6-goal thriller in Ethiopia. Mauritius enjoyed a 1-0 win at home to Rwanda but were thumped 5-0 by them on the road while Seychelles were victorious 2-0 at home to Lesotho but lost 2-1 in the away match. Malawi held hosts Guinea to a goalless draw but were on the losing end 2-1 in their home match while there were 1-0 wins for Liberia in Djibouti and Burkina Faso at home to Uganda. Cameroon held their South African hosts to a goalless draw and Central African Republic earned a 1-1 draw in Madagascar while Ghana drew 0-0 in Mozambique. DR Congo triumphed 2-0 in Angola and Swaziland were swept aside 4-0 in Zimbabwe. Chad withdrew from the competition for financial reasons after losing 1-0 at home to Tanzania and had the result officially annulled, thought the result stands in the football rankings.
The Caribbean Cup qualifiers got underway and saw Barbados celebrate a 1-0 win over their visitors from Curacao but then lose 2-0 away to the Dominican Republic while Martinique who would have been expected to do better than their 3-0 home win over the British Virgin Islands went on to enjoy a 4-1 victory away to Dominica who had just returned from a 7-0 mauling of the Virgin Islanders. French Guiana lost 2-1 in Bermuda but sailed 3-0 past Cuba on their return home while Suriname drew 0-0 in Guadeloupe and there were narrow wins for Grenada who won 2-1 away to the US Virgin Islands, Guyana who returned from Puerto Rico with a 1-0 win and for St Kitts and Nevis who could only manage a single goal at home to Antigua and Barbuda.
Among friendly matches Panama lost 1-0 in Nicaragua, Bulgaria triumphed 1-0 in Portugal and Papua New Guinea were 2-1 winners away to the Solomon Islands while Macau held their Malaysian hosts to a goalless draw, Bosnia and Herzegovina rolled the Swiss over 2-0 in Switzerland and the Netherlands upset England 2-1 at Wembley less than a week after the passing of Johan Cruyff.