Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Iraq top guns in Asia

With Japan, Iran and Australia the firm favourites to lift the Asian Cup, it was Iraq who shone through and reached gold. The tournament was co-hosted by Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia with Vietnam the only co-hosts to reach the second round enjoying a 2-0 win over the UAE along the way. Indonesia started with a 2-1 victory against Bahrain, but were narrowly beaten and eliminated by South Korea and Saudi Arabia who both finished among the top 3 in Asia. South Korea had suffered a 2-1 shock defeat at the hands of Bahrain, but ended up finishing 3rd having had to rely on penalty shoot-outs to decide all their matches after the group stage. Having drawn 1-1 with eventual champions Iraq and beaten Oman 2-0, Thailand were 10 minutes away from the next round, but Australia who after a shock 3-1 defeat to Iraq were in need of goals, ended their dreams with 3 late goals in a 4-0 hammering of their hosts. China were the biggest name not to reach the second round, losing their final group match 3-0 to Uzbekistan. Reigning champions Japan lost a thrilling semi-final 3-2 to Saudi Arabia who were beaten 1-0 by Iraq in the final of the 2007 Asian Cup. Iraq are now the top ranked team in Asia. Reports from all the matches can be read at: http://footballreporter.co.uk/asia2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Football in the Americas

The USA hosted and won the Gold Cup in June beating Mexico 2-1 in the final. The Mexicans had got off to a bad start with a 2-1 defeat to Honduras who in turn lost by the same score-line to the surprise team of the tournament -and most improved team in Mark’s football rankings- Guadeloupe.

The 2 finalists had been invited to take part in the more prestigious Copa America which was being held in Venezuela for the first time. Mexico fared much better than their northern neighbours this time finishing 3rd having beaten champions Brazil 2-0 and annihilating Paraguay 6-0 on their way. Paraguay had been in festive mood after the 5-0 demolition of Colombia, but were brought down to earth by the rampant Mexicans. Uruguay picked themselves up after a disastrous 3-0 defeat to Peru in their opening match, to finish the tournament in 4th place having narrowly lost their semi-final match on penalties to Brazil. As predicted Brazil and Argentina reached the final with Argentina firm favourites, but it was Brazil who lifted the cup with a convincing 3-0 victory over their old rivals.

Reports from all the Copa America matches can be read at: