Sunday, September 23, 2012

The road to Rio

The campaign for the 2014 World Cup got underway in Europe with the rest of the world already deeply involved. Wales began with a 2-0 home defeat to Belgium and suffered 6-1 in Serbia 4 days later while England got off to a good start with 5 goals in Moldova but were then held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine at Wembley and the Hungarians who started with a 5 goal win in Andorra where taken apart 4-1 by the Dutch in Budapest. Iceland hosted and beat Norway 2-0 before losing to a single goal in Cyprus while there were 2-0 wins for Romania in Estonia and Switzerland in Slovenia. Israel fell 4-0 at home to Russia and Liechtenstein were battered 8-1 by Bosnia & Herzegovina in Vaduz while Luxembourg picked up a 1-1 draw in Northern Ireland as did Macedonia in Scotland. In South America, Colombia shot up the rankings after demolishing visiting South American champions Uruguay 4-0 and returning from Chile with a 3-1 victory 4 days later while Venezuela also enjoyed success on their travels with a 2-0 win in Paraguay. In Asia Iran were upset 1-0 in Lebanon and Jordan celebrated a 2-1 victory over the visiting Aussies while in Oceania Tahiti fell 2-0 at the Solomon Islands before being thumped 4-0 at home to New Caledonia. In the North American section USA were defeated 2-1 in Jamaica and Panama suffered a 1-0 loss in Canada while Mexico were victorious 2-0 in Costa Rica and Guyana enjoyed a 2-2 draw in El Salvador.
In the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Cape Verde celebrated a 2-0 victory over their illustrious visitors from Cameroon while Morocco fell by the same result in Mozambique and Togo drew 1-1 in Gabon. A single goal in Morocco gave Algeria a win over Libya while Angola lost 3-1 in Zimbabwe. In the Caribbean qualifiers the British Virgin Islands travelled to Martinique where they were demolished 16-0 by their hosts and buried 7-0 by Montserrat while Martinique went on to share 4 goals with Suriname. Puerto Rico overcame Bermuda 2-1 in Haiti before thrashing Saint Martin 9-0 at the same venue. Among friendly matches Tajikistan beat Qatar 2-1 in Germany and Ghana lost 2-0 in Liberia while the Czechs were stunned 1-0 at home to Finland. The Philippines had a mixed bag, winning 2-0 in Singapore before losing 2-1 in Laos.