Saturday, September 12, 2009

September separates boys from men

A busy period at the beginning of September marked the end of the road for some of the weaker World Cup hopefuls while Brazil, Paraguay, England, Spain and Ghana made sur of qualification.

Poland were held 1-1 at home to Northern Ireland and suffered a demoralising 3-0 defeat in Slovenia 4 days later resulting in the dismissal of their coach Leo Beenhakker. Costa Rica were another team to have a miserable time losing 3-0 at home to Mexico and 1-0 away to El Salvador. Latvia’s shock 1-0 win in Israel was even more enjoyable as they not only overtook the Israelis but drew level on points with Greece who lost 2-0 in Switzerland. Luxembourg earned a goalless draw in Moldova and the Faroe Islands registered a rare win beating Lithuania 2-1 at home. Belgium continued their slide down the rankings losing 2-1 in Armenia while Austria returned from Romania with a creditable 1-1 draw, and a last minute goal gave Sweden a vital 2-1 win in Hungary. Kazakhstan recorded a 3-1 win away to Andorra and Russia enjoyed the same score-line in Wales while England crushed Croatia 5-1 at Wembley. In Africa Cameroon got back to winning ways with a 2-0 success over Gabon, and Malawi overcame Guinea 2-1 at home. In South America Chile dropped 2 points in their 2-2 draw at home to Venezuela while their closest rivals Ecuador lost 2-0 in Colombia before their 3-1 victory in Bolivia, and Uruguay suffered a setback losing 1-0 away to bottom team Peru. In friendly matches Cape Verde enjoyed a 2-0 win in Malta and New Zealand prepared for their play-off matches with a 3-1 victory in Jordan.