Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Early summer matches

While the battle for European supremacy was taking place in Europe, the rest of the world had their eyes on the 2010 World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago scraped through to the next round of the North, Central America and Caribbean section with a 2-0 win in Bermuda after having suffered a shock 2-1 defeat in their home match, while El Salvador forgot about their 1-0 loss in Panama with a 3-1 win in the return match. Puerto Rico held Honduras to a 2-2 draw but went out after losing 4-0 in Honduras. Netherlands Antilles managed a 0-0 draw in Haiti but fell to a single goal at home, while Suriname followed up their 1-0 home-leg win with a 2-1 victory in Guyana.
In South America Paraguay playing with 10 men for most of the match celebrated a 2-0 home triumph against Brazil but crashed down from their dizzy heights losing 4-2 in Bolivia.
Round 3 group matches were completed in Asia with 10 teams progressing to the next round. Having registered a 1-0 win in China, Qatar joined Australia in the next round by eliminating champions Iraq whom they beat 1-0 at home in the final day. China finished bottom of the group despite a 1-0 victory in Australia. The United Arab Emirates lost 3-1 at home to Syria, but pipped them to the post on goal difference. The most entertaining match of this round took place in Singapore where the hosts were overrun 7-3 by Uzbekistan.
While the bigger boys in Asia were in action, the South Asian Cup took place in Sri Lanka where little Bhutan enjoyed a fairly good run including a 3-1 win over Afghanistan, a 1-1 draw with Bangladesh.
In Africa Burkina Faso returned from Tunisia with a 2-1 victory while Seychelles held on to a 0-0 draw in Burundi. Kenya earned 2 home wins beating both Guinea and Zimbabwe 2-0, while Gabon enjoyed the same result against Ghana. Egypt and Morocco did not travel well as they lost 1-0 to Malawi and 3-1 to Rwanda respectively. South Africa were beaten 1-0 in Sierra Leone and could only draw 0-0 in their return match. In other matches Uganda defeated Angola 3-1 and Togo lost 2-1 in Swaziland.
All the above mentioned teams were big movers in the Football Rankings for the month of June.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Getting ready for Euro 2008

With Euro 2008 just around the corner, participating teams cautiously prepared for the competition with friendly matches late May and early June.
Group A - Co hosts Switzerland will kick off the tournament having kept a clean sheet in their 2 recent matches against Slovakia 2-0 and Liechtenstein 3-0. After beating Lithuania 2-0 the Czech Republic bid farewell to their fans with a strong second-half performance in their 3-1 win over Scotland. Turkey played 3 matches in Germany where they lost 3-2 to Uruguay, but were victorious against European oppositions beating Slovakia 1-0 and Finland 2-0. Portugal also played in Germany where they put 2 past Georgia without reply.
Group B – Co hosts Austria showed most promise with a 1-1 draw against Nigeria and the 5-1 thrashing of Malta. Germany did not show their usual power, losing a 2 goal home lead to draw 2-2 with Belarus, but ended their preparations with a 2-1 victory over Serbia. Croatia were also less than convincing in their 1-0 home win over Moldova and 1-1 draw in Hungary. Poland travelled to Germany where they shared 2 goals with Macedonia and managed a 1-0 win over Albania before returning home for a 1-1 draw against Eruo 2008 absentees Denmark.
Group C – The French preparation had a South American flavour with Ecuador, Paraguay and Colombia visiting France. Failing to penetrate the French resistance goals were scarce as France registered 2 against Ecuador and 1 from the spot against Colombia. World champions Italy settled for 0ne friendly match in which they defeated Belgium 3-1 in Florence. The Dutch enjoyed a 3-0 win over Ukraine before drawing 1-1 with Denmark and beating Wales 2-0, whereas Romania’s only test resulted in a 4-0 victory over Montenegro in Bucharest.
Group D – Reigning European champions Greece defeated Cyprus 2-0 but will be defending their title after a 3-2 loss in Hungary. Russia smashed 6 past Kazakhstan without reply, before flying off to Germany where they continued their winning streak with wins against Serbia 2-1 and Lithuania 4-1. Spain needed a late goal to beat Peru 2-1 and a single goal to get the better of the USA. Sweden did enough to beat Slovenia 1-0 but were left with plenty to ponder after suffering a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Ukraine.
Euro 2008 will take place in Switzerland and Austria June 7th-29th. Full reports can be read at footballreporter.co.uk