Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring rolls on

With spring arriving in most parts of the world friendly and competitive matches took place. In Asia none of the top teams managed a win on the road to the 2010 World Cup finals. Uzbekistan trounced Saudi Arabia 3-0 while champions Iraq were beaten 2-0 away to Qatar and Japan were defeated 1-0 in Bahrain.
The Caribbean teams concluded their first round knockout matches taking the overall winners to the next stage where teams from North America will join the mix. Puerto Rico eliminated Dominican Republic with a goal in extra time in a one-off match at home to continue their move up the rankings. Netherlands Antilles got the better of Nicaragua with a 2-0 win after losing the away leg 1-0. Belize drew 1-1 away to St Kitts & Nevis, going through on the strength of their 3-1 home win, and Bermuda sailed past Cayman Islands with a 3-1 victory after only managing a 1-1 home draw. Bahamas scraped past British Virgin Islands on the away goals rule with 2 draws despite playing both legs at home.
In friendly matches across the globe, 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa showed formidability on home soil with a satisfying 3-0 win over Paraguay while Liberia won 2-0 in Sudan. Poland offered little resistance against the Americans, losing 3-0 at home, and Morocco dazzled Belgium 4-1 in Brussels. Tunisia beat Ivory Coast 2-0 in France while Germany flattened Switzerland 4-0 in Basel. Michael Mifsud scored 5 times in Malta’s 7-1 thrashing of Liechtenstein, while Iceland enjoyed a 2-1 win away to Slovakia