Friday, June 11, 2021

The world goes on


While European teams were preparing for the delayed Euro 2020 competition, World Cup qualifiers continued across the globe.

In South America, with Cope America on the horizon, Peru were beaten 3-0 at home to Colombia, but bounces back 5 days later with a stunning 2-1 victory in Ecuador while Bolivia enjoyed a 3-1 home win over Venezuela with a double from Marcelo Moreno and Chile drew 1-1 in Argentina.

Mongolia shocked Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in Japan while Sardar Azmoun netted a double for Iran who picked up a vital 3-0 win away to Bahrain and Tamer Seyam converted 2 penalties as Palestine swept Singapore aside 4-0 in Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan drew 1-1 with Bangladesh in Qater and there was a 2-2 draw between Indonesia and Thailand in Dubai while Turkmenistan scored a last-minute winner against 10-man Lebanon to win 3-2 in South Korea.

In the Caribbeans, Bermuda, who were battered 6-0 by Suriname with Nigel Hasselbaink scoring a hat-trick and Sheraldo Becker a brace, could only draw 1-1 with Cayman Islands in America while Guyana suffered a 3-0 loss at St Kitts & Nevis, for whom Keithroy Freeman scored twice, and lost 2-0 to Puerto Rico 4 days later at the same venue. Montserrat stunned their Grenadian hosts 2-1 with a late double from Lyle Taylor while Trinidad & Tobago were held to a goalless draw in the Bahamas.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Silent start


The World Cup qualifiers in Europe and CONCACAF kicked off mostly behind closed doors. Germany suffered a rare home defeat, losing 2-1 to North Macedonia while the Irish Republic were stunned 1-0 at home to Luxembourg. Burak Yilmaz scored a hat-trick as Turkey celebrated a 4-2 victory at home to the Netherlands, but after a 3-0 win over Norway in Spain, the Turks returned home to let a 2 goal lead slip and draw 3-3 with Latvia. Ukraine began their three-match week with an impressive 1-1 draw against world champions France in Paris, but their pride was shattered with 1-1 home draws against Finland and Kazakhstan. Denmark capped a good week with a 4-0 win in Austria while Armenia also rose in the football rankings after sending Iceland packing with a 2-0 loss and coming from behind to beat Romania 3-2 in Yerevan.  Greece earned a creditable 1-1 draw in Spain, but their 1-1 draw at home to Georgia was less than impressive while Slovakia, who came from 2 down to salvage a disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Malta, defeated their Russian visitors 2-1 a few days later. Croatia lost 1-0 in Slovenia who were 1-0 losers in Cyprus while Sweden won 3-0 in Kosovo.

In the CONCACAF section, Montserrat achieved 2-2 and 1-1 draws in Curacao against Antigua & Barbuda and El Salvador respectively while Anguilla managed to lose only 1-0 to Barbados in the Dominican Republic and US Virgin Islands lost by the same low score away to Grenada. Puerto Rico achieved a 1-1 draw in Trinidad & Tobago.

The Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers came to a conclusion with Comoros making it to the finals for the first time after a goalless draw at home to Togo. The Cape Verde Islands enjoyed a 3-1 victory over their visitors from Cameroon while Madagascar were hammered 4-0 in Ethiopia and drew 0-0 at home to Niger, losing out on qualification. Gabon enjoyed a 3-0 win at home to DR Congo but lost 2-0 in Angola and Tunisia were 5-2 winners in Libya while Congo were 3-0 losers at Guinea Bissau. Eswatini drew 1-1 in Senegal and the Central African Republic lost 1-0 at home to Mauritania while Zimbabwe qualified with a 1-0 win in Botswana but finished off with a 2-0 defeat at home to Zambia. Namibia were awarded a 3-0 win away to Chad who were disqualified due to government interference.