As most of the world was focused on the countdown to the World Cup, African nations began their battle to reach their own finals, throwing up a bunch of interesting results. Botswana who had been thrashed 4-0 by Swaziland in a home friendly managed a goalless draw at Burundi who had won 3-0 in another friendly away to Tanzania, but the most surprising result was Uganda's 2-1 defeat at Madagascar, though the away goal did eventually see them through while Chad's 3-1 home victory over Malawi saw the hosts bow out on the away goals rule. Comoros moved up the rankings despite elimination after losing 1-0 in Kenya and drawing 1-1 in their return match while Tanzania and Namibia enjoyed 1-0 home wins over Zimbabwe and Congo respectively, though Congo hit back with a 3-0 win in the return match. Rwanda eased past Libya 3-0 on aggregate having drawn their away match while Guinea Bissau held the Central African Republic to a goalless draw and disposed of them 3-1 on home soil. Mauritania who had won 2-0 away to Mauritius in the preliminary round were finally halted 3-0 at Equatorial Guinea while Liberia fell 2-0 in Lesotho and there was some satisfaction for South Sudan who went out holding on to a 0-0 draw against Mozambique in Sudan.
In The AFC Challenge Cup held in the Maldives the outstanding result was Afghanistan's 3-1 victory over Turkmenistan while in friendly matches Kyrgyzstan drew 2-2 in Kuwait and South Korea lost 1-0 at home to Tunisia.
Finland took part in The Baltic Cup and were defeated 1-0 by Lithuania in Latvia while in friendly matches in preparation for the World Cup the Netherlands were held to a 1-1 draw at how to Ecuador while Italy suffered the same fate at home to lowly Luxembourg. Algeria defeated Armenia 3-1 in Switzerland while in the USA Honduras lost 4-2 to Israel and Ghana humbled South Korea with 4 goals without reply.