Saturday, September 13, 2008

Paving the way to South Africa

With the European Championships which excelled the victorious Spaniards to top spot in Mark’s Rankings in June and the Olympic Games in Beijing later on taking centre stage, Egypt would hope that their humiliating 4-0 friendly defeat in August away to Sudan had gone unnoticed, but there were also important World Cup qualifiers being played in which Suriname gained a 2-2 draw in Haiti while Trinidad and Tobago enjoyed a 3-1 win in Cuba. In the Caribbean Cup qualifiers Antigua & Barbuda whipped Bermuda 4-0 on the Cayman Islands, and after a disappointing 0-0 draw against Aruba, Netherlands Antilles showed much improvement in their next home match to register a 2-0 victory over Grenada.
A short spell in September saw the World Cup qualifiers in Europe get well and truly underway with Lithuania producing the first shock of the campaign winning 3-0 in Romania. Austria enjoyed a 3-1 home win against France, and Iceland held Norway to a 2-2 draw in Oslo. England put their recent disappointments against Croatia behind them with a 4-1 triumph in Zagreb, and 2 late goals gave Denmark a 3-2 victory in Portugal. The Swiss crowd were stunned by a 2-1 defeat to Luxembourg, while Bosnia & Herzegovina ran riot at home with the 7-0 destruction of Estonia.
In South America Colombia went from bad to worse at home losing 1-0 to Uruguay and 4-0 to Chile. Brazil who had earlier enjoyed a 3-0 win in Chile were held to a goalless draw at home to Bolivia who were reduced to 10 men for most of the 2nd half.
In Africa Uganda suffered a 3-1 loss in Niger, and Chad defeated Sudan 2-1 in Egypt before going down 3-1 in the same fixture 4 days later. The most notable result in Asia was the 3-0 victory of the United Arab Emirates at home to Uzbekistan.