Friday, March 29, 2013

March to Rio

Two more international days in March took the world closer to the Brazil 2014 World Cup. The Czech Republic suffered a demoralising 3-0 defeat at home to Denmark, but bounced back with 3 goals in Armenia 4 days later while the Danes were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Bulgaria. Norway were stunned by a single Albanian goal in Oslo while Slovenia lost 2-1 at home to Iceland and Ukraine triumphed 3-1 in Poland. The Republic of Ireland earned a goalless draw in Sweden but dropped points when they shared 4 goals with Austria in Dublin while Northern Ireland succumbed to a late Israeli double in Belfast and Wales conquered Scotland 2-1 at Hampden Park. Finland shocked European and world champions Spain with a 1-1 draw in Gijon, while South American champions Uruguay fell 2-0 in Chile having earlier dropped points in a 1-1 home draw against Paraguay to continue their fall in the Ziaian rankings and Asian champions Japan lost 2-1 away to Jordan. Newly crowned African champions Nigeria could only manage a 1-1 draw against their visitors from Kenya while Morocco were brushed aside 3-1 in Tanzania and Uganda lost 2-0 in Liberia. A single goal in Venezuela gave the hosts victory over Colombia and Argentina could only draw 1-1 in Bolivia. Bosnia & Herzegovina continued their good run with a 3-1 win over the visiting Greek and Lithuania drew 1-1 in Slovakia while the Dutch demolished Romania 4-0 in Amsterdam and Switzerland fired blanks in Cyprus.
Thailand were crushed 5-2 in Lebanon and Yemen lost 2-1 in Malaysia while Hong Kong beat Vietnam 1-0 and Oman earned a 2-2 draw away to Australia.
After their recent heroics in the Africa Cup of Nations, Cape Verde lost by an odd goal in 7 away to Equatorial Guinea and Togo were beaten 2-1 in Cameroon while Zambia drew 1-1 in Lesotho and there were 1-0 wins for Congo over Gabon and Malawi in Namibia. In North America Honduras lost 2-0 in Panama and Mexico were held at home to a goalless draw by the Americans.
Earlier in friendly matches Gambia suffered a surprising 2-0 loss at home to Mauritania before enjoying a 3-1 win in Niger while in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Myanmar the most surprising result was Guam's 3-0 victory over Taiwan.