Friday, November 18, 2005

World Cup Line-up Completed

The world finally knows the identity of the 32 participants in the 2006 World Cup.

A solitary Australian goal on Wednesday meant extra time and a penalty shootout, in which Mark Schwarzer made 2 excellent saves to send the hosts to the World Cup instead of Uruguay. In Bahrain a single goal was enough to see Trinidad & Tobago through for the first time, and another 1-0 win saw the Czech Republic book a place in the finals at the expense of Norway. Spain’s visit to Slovakia was not much more than a formality; a 1-1 draw confirmed their presence in next year’s finals. In Turkey an early spot-kick conversion by Switzerland left the home team with a mountain to climb, needing to win by a 3 goal deficit. The battling Turks came close, but a 4-2 win was not enough, as Switzerland qualified on the away goals rule.

In recent friendly matches Ghana gained an impressive 3-1 win in Saudi Arabia. Italy and the Ivory Coast drew 1-1 in Switzerland, while Bulgaria travelled to the USA and beat Mexico 3-0 to move up 4 places in the rankings.

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