World Cup 2006


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    Articles related to UEFA 2006 WC qualifiers:

    Update Sep 5, 2004
    Update Sep 11, 2004
    Update Nov 24, 2004
    Update Mar 26, 2005
    Update Mar 30, 2005
    Update Jun 4, 2005
    Update Jun 8, 2005
    Update Sep 3, 2005
    Update Sep 7, 2005
    Update Oct 8, 2005
    Update Oct 12, 2005
    Preview Nov 8, 2005
    Review Nov 16, 2005



    Update: UEFA WC qualifiers, March 30th 2005

    by Mike Gibbons

        Tonight saw another round of qualifiers, and these will be the last ones in Europe until the end of season games in June. The late-spring qualifiers of April that kick off as the sun falls and finish in the balmy night are now a relic consigned to the past, as nothing can now be allowed to stand in the way of the knockout stages of the Champions League. The big teams in each group are jockeying for position for the final push in the autumn, on which some of tonight’s results could have a huge bearing. This, then, is what happened…

    GROUP 1
    (Holland 16, Czech Republic 15, Romania 13, Finland 9, Macedonia FYR 5, Armenia 4, Andorra 4)

    Andorra 0 Czech Republic 4
    Macedonia 1 Romania 2
    Holland 2 Armenia 0

        The top three teams are running away with this group, and all were in action tonight against teams they were expected to beat comfortably. The Czechs scored four for the second time this week, this time it was lowly Andorra on the receiving end. A penalty from Jankulovski got them going, followed by strikes from Baros, Lokvenc and a last minute penalty from Rosicky.

        Macedonia is never an easy place to play and Romania struggled through to a 2-1 win, both goals coming from Nicolae Mitea. It was the Dutch who retained the top spot in the group with a 2-0 victory over Armenia, with an early goal from Romeo Castelen, his first at this level, and a second from Ruud Van Nistelrooy. So it’s as you were at the top, with disappointment looming around the corner for one of the big guns.

    GROUP 2
    (Ukraine 17, Greece 14, Turkey 12, Denmark 9, Albania 6, Georgia 5, Kazakhstan 0)

    Ukraine 1 Denmark 0
    Georgia 2 Turkey 5
    Greece 2 Albania 0

        The Ukraine took a massive step towards potentially qualifying for their first World Cup last night, with a 1-0 victory in a rough and tumble encounter in Kiev. The crucial goal was scored midway through the second half by Voronin and with three home games still to play the Ukraine are sitting pretty. The result could have disastrous consequences for Denmark, who are now five points off the play-off spot.

        This spot is currently occupied by Greece, who continued their resurgence from their post-Euro 2004 lull by beating Albania at home with goals by two of the heroes of that campaign, Charisteas and Karagounis. Turkey continued their pursuit with a 5-2 win in Georgia, the biggest win on the continent that night.

    GROUP 3
    (Portugal 14, Slovakia 14, Russia 11, Latvia 10, Estonia 8, Liechtenstein 4, Luxembourg 0)

    Estonia 1 Russia 1
    Latvia 4 Luxembourg 0
    Slovakia 1 Portugal 1

        The game between the group leaders in Bratislava produced a draw, Slovakia took an early lead through Karhan but this was wiped out in the second half by Helder Postiga. Russia missed a golden chance to capitalise on this by only drawing themselves in Estonia despite taking an early lead.

        One side who did close the gap were Latvia, who piled four more goals into the ‘against’ column of group whipping boys Luxembourg. There are now four points separating the top four teams in this group, and we are exactly halfway through the campaign.

    GROUP 4
    (France 10, Israel 10, Switzerland 9, Republic of Ireland 9, Cyprus 1, Faeroe Islands 1)

    Israel 1 France 1
    Switzerland 1 Cyprus 0

        The tightest group on the whole continent, we are still none the wiser as to who will emerge victorious from Group 4. David Trezeguet partially redeemed his woeful performance against the Swiss by putting France in front in Tel Aviv, before undoing all the good work five minutes later by head-butting his marker and getting sent off. Israel snatched another late equaliser through Badir, which could prove crucial in the final analysis.

        Equally important was an 88th minute goal by Alexander Frei that rescued Switzerland in their home tie with Cyprus. Along with the Republic of Ireland they are one point behind France and Israel and have a game in hand. The French coach Domenech is now talking down his teams chances of even qualifying – could they really miss out on the Finals with such a squad at their disposal?

    GROUP 5
    (Italy 12, Norway 8, Slovenia 8, Belarus 5, Scotland 2, Moldova 2)

    Moldova 0 Norway 0
    Slovenia 1 Belarus 1

        Whilst Italy were playing out a scoreless draw in a friendly with Iceland, the remaining teams in this group had the chance to close the gap on them. However Norway could only manage a goalless draw themselves from their trip to Moldova, and despite taking the lead just before half time Slovenia were pegged back at one-all by Belarus. Italy take on Norway in Oslo on 4th June, a win there should just about seal their place in Germany next year.

    GROUP 6
    (England 16, Poland 15, Austria 11, Northern Ireland 3, Wales 2, Azerbaijan 2)

    England 2 Azerbaijan 0
    Poland 1 Northern Ireland 0
    Austria 1 Wales 0

        The chasm in class between the top three teams and the bottom three teams in this group is enormous, and seems to grow with every round of qualifiers. England created enough clear chances to have scored double figures tonight, but poor finishing from Michael Owen in particular limited England to a 2-0 win with goals from Steven Gerrard and David Beckham. Owen’s night got even worse when the Azeri’s coach Carlos Alberto launched a scathing tirade against the Real Madrid reserve for apparently bragging that he would score five goals in the game. He didn’t say any such thing, but at least it added some interest to the proceedings.

        The two other games were decided by late goals, Zurawski saving Poland in the 86th minute against Northern Ireland, and a goal-keeping howler in the 87th minute allowing Austria their second win over Wales in four days, Aufhauser’s drive going through the Welsh goalkeeper Danny Coyne.

    GROUP 7
    (Serbia and Montenegro 11, Spain 9, Lithuania 9, Belgium 7, Bosnia-Herzegovina 3, San Marino 0)

    Bosnia-Herzegovina 1 Lithuania 1
    Serbia and Montenegro 0 Spain 0
    San Marino 1 Belgium 2

        No change at the top in Group 7, as Spain picked up a valuable point in their away game with Serbia and Montenegro. The two teams play again on September 7th, which should be a key game in deciding who advances. Lithuania missed the chance to go ahead of Spain, drawing 1-1 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

        Belgium won their second game of the week with a less than convincing 2-1 win over San Marino. Only two teams have ever failed to beat San Marino in a World Cup qualifier, and Daniel van Buyten struck the winner in the 64th minute to spare Belgium the fate of being the third. There is a lifeline, albeit a slender one, for Belgium to cling to. If they don’t get a result in Serbia and Montenegro in June, that will disappear.

    GROUP 8
    (Croatia 13, Sweden 12, Bulgaria 8, Hungary 7, Iceland 1, Malta 1)

    Croatia 3 Malta 0
    Hungary 1 Bulgaria 1

        Croatia took control of the leadership of this group with a routine 3-0 win over Malta in Zagreb, Dado Prso scoring twice for the hosts.

        In the other game in this group Bulgaria were denied a victory in the very last minute of their match in Hungary, a goal from Rajczi cancelling out an earlier goal from Petrov. That result now leaves a clear gap between second and third place.


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