Thursday, September 13, 2007

Late summer matches

The most eye-catching result in August was Hungary’s 3-1 friendly victory over World champions Italy. On the same night Portugal were held to a 1-1 draw in a Euro qualifier in Armenia while Belgium enjoyed a 3-2 win over Serbia.

The 2007 South Pacific Games in Samoa was given extra spice as it acted as a preliminary qualifying competition for the 2010 World Cup with the top three qualifying to join the Oceania qualifying section. A single goal in the final decided the match in favour of New Caledonia over Fiji with the 3rd place going to Vanuatu who upset the Solomon Islands 2-0. Tuvalu who also took part in the competition became the latest country to join Mark’s Football Rankings.

The qualifying matches for the African Cup of Nations produced several surprises in September with some weaker teams achieving good results over teams that had already qualified for the finals. Cameron’s 1-0 loss in Equatorial Guinea was the most notable of such results.

In Europe Scotland enjoyed their trip to Paris when James McFadden unleashed a corker to give the visitors a famous victory and the double over France. Wales took Slovakia apart with the help of Craig Bellamy who scored twice in the 5-2 humiliation of their hosts. Own goals in consecutive matches saw Northern Ireland lose away to Latvia and Iceland in a matter of four days, while late goals in Portugal snatched victory from the jaws of the Portuguese against Poland and Serbia.