Monday, November 14, 2005

First leg in playoffs

A Luis Garcia hat-trick saw Spain all but qualify for the World Cup finals by beating Slovakia 5-1 in their home match. Switzerland will take a 2-0 lead to Turkey on Wednesday; both teams have been climbing the rankings at:

Norway’s good away form will be severely tested in the Czech Republic, as they will attempt to overcome a1-0 home defeat, while Australia will have home advantage against Uruguay after going down 1-0 to the South Americans. Bahrain will start their home tie on equal terms after a 1-1 draw away to Trinidad & Tobago.

There were a number of friendly matches taking place this weekend. Italy came from behind to beat the Dutch 3-1 on their home soil, while 2 late goals from Michael Owen gave England a 3-2 victory over Argentina in Switzerland. Germany held France to a 0-0 draw in Paris, but goals were not hard to come by in the UAE where Brazil thrashed the hosts 8-0. The Ivory Coast beat Romania 2-1 in France, and Poland made easy work of Ecuador with a 3-0 win in Spain. Portugal and Iran beat Croatia and Togo 2-0 respectively. Both the Iranian goals were scored by world record international goal scorer Ali Daei from the penalty spot.

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