England’s 4-1 thrashing of Croatia in Zagreb stands out from the UEFA World Cup qualifiers, but it is really too early to book tickets to South Africa, or pass judgment on Fabio Capello, who in the title of Gabriele Marcotti’s newly-published biography, is “a winner”.
The vast improvement on the same fixture two years ago was manifest, but England are still maddeningly inconsistent. Have we suddenly forgotten the ubiquitous jeering at Wembley and funeral pyre-building in Fleet Street following Judi Online24Jam Terpercaya 2021 England’s previous game?
France had a dreadful result losing to Austria on Saturday but redeemed themselves slightly by beating Serbia 2-1 in Paris on Wednesday. Denmark excelled in winning in Portugal, but Austria and fellow EURO 2008 hosts Switzerland were beaten on Wednesday, by modest Lithuania and Luxembourg respectively.
More interesting is South America, where Paraguay still head the table, four points ahead of Brazil. The other two qualification places are taken up by Argentina and Chile, with Uruguay in the 5th place play-off spot.
Spare a thought for Oceania without Australia anymore. Seeing New Zealand top with five wins out of five just proves how far that FIFA region has to go.
Perhaps the most interesting World Cup game of the past few days was the USA’s first trip to Cuba in 61 years. The Havana of 1947 would have seemed like home, with Al Capone and Co. running the show. While Cuba prevents its citizens leaving its shores, the US prevents its citizens from visiting Cuba, but that did not stop five brave American fans travelling via a third country to attend the game (won 1-0 by the US).
The warm welcome extended to the US squad and fans should send a message to the White House. These five proud Americans felt compelled to cover their faces throughout the game in case they were arrested on their return. Imagine the lunacy of America prosecuting Americans for supporting America.
2010 World Cup Qualifiers – Sept 10
On an evening of shock results for away teams in the European zone for qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, England, Scotland, Denmark, and yes, Luxembourg all beat tough teams away.
England, were a different proposition this time around at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, beating Croatia 4-1, thanks to a Theo Walcott hat-trick and a goal from Wayne Rooney.
Scotland won on the road in Iceland 2-1, with goals from Kirk Broadfoot and Barry Robson in Rejkyavik. The biggest shock on a night that saw Denmark beat Portugal 3-2 at the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon was Luxembourg’s 2-1 win over Switzerland at the Letzigrund Stadion in Zurich. Joint Euro 2008 hosts Austria also came down to earth after their 3-1 win over France in Vienna, when they lost 2-0 away to Lithuania, who have taken a maximum six points from their first two games.
In other results, a Miroslav Klose hat-trick saved Germany from defeat in Finland with the game ending in a 3-3 tie.
France beat Serbia 2-1, Italy edged Georgia by the same score and Russia won a close game with Wales also 2-1.
In Asia zone qualifying games, North and South Korea shared the points in Shanghai – surprise, surprise, with a 1-1 draw in the southern Chinese port city. Australia got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 1-0 success in Uzbekistan in Group 1.
In South America, Paraguay stay top of the group after a 2-0 defeat of Venezuela.
In the CONCACAF zone, the USA had an impressive 3-0 home win over Trinidad & Tobago, to top their group with maximum points.