Saturday, July 07, 2012

Spain reign in Poland and Ukraine

A Spanish triumph in Euro 2012 may have been predictable but their 4-0 final win over Italy, who had defeated Germany 2-1 in the semis and whom they had drawn 1-1 against in their group, was a setback for the Italians. Russia got off to a flying start with the 4-1 hammering of the Czech Republic, but as the Czechs bounced back with a 2-1 win over Greece and a 1-0 victory against their hosts Poland, the Russians fell to a single Greek goal and found themselves flying home. The Republic of Ireland who lost their vital first match 3-1 to Croatia left the tournament with no points as did the Netherlands who had begun with a 1-0 defeat to Denmark who were themselves knocked out as a result of their 3-2 group loss to Portugal. Sweden also failed to get out of their group, despite ending on a 2-0 win against France, as they had earlier suffered a 2-1 loss to their hosts Ukraine while the French had overcome Ukraine 2-0 in Donetsk.
While the cream of Europe were occupied in Poland and Ukraine, there were World Cup qualifiers to be played in other parts of the world. In Asia Qatar were thumped 4-1 at home to South Korea before holding Iran to a goalless draw in Tehran while Japan smashed Jordan 6-0 in Saitama and in North America the outstanding results were El Salvador’s 2-2 draw in Costa Rica and Panama’s 2-0 triumph in Honduras while in South America Bolivia enjoyed a 3-1 home win over Paraguay and Chile continued their impressive run with a 2-0 win in Venezuela. In Africa Egypt overcame hosts Guinea 3-2 in a World Cup qualifier but were later stunned 3-2 at home to Central African Republic in a 2013 continental qualifier while among other World Cup qualifiers Sudan played a goalless match in Lesotho and Cameroon lost 2-1 in Libya. In the Oceania Cup/World Cup qualifier hosts Solomon Islands lost their semi-final match 1-0 to Tahiti who lifted the trophy with a single-goal win over New Caledonia. New Zealand plummeted further in the rankings after their 2-0 humiliation to New Caledonia in the other semi-final match.