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Thread: World Cup qualifiers: Argentina held by Colombia, Chile win

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    Default World Cup qualifiers: Argentina held by Colombia, Chile win



    Colombia climbed into second place in South America's World Cup qualifying group after holding leaders Argentina 0-0 on Friday, while Chile did their chances of reaching the finals no harm with a win in Paraguay.
    Colombia's goal difference puts them above Ecuador, who lost 1-0 to Peru in Lima, while Chile hold fourth spot after beating Paraguay 2-1.
    Venezuela clung to fifth despite giving away a late equaliser for a 1-1 draw against Bolivia at high altitude in La Paz.
    South American champions Uruguay, who had a bye for this round of matches, dropped to seventh below Peru and visit Venezuela on Tuesday in desperate need of a win.
    Argentina, starting without Lionel Messi, and Colombia served up a feast of attacking football at the Monumental in Buenos Aires with chances galore early on, but two red cards before half an hour was up changed the complexion of the game.




    The dismissal of Gonzalo Higuain and Cristian Zapata for kicking out at each other affected Argentina more, leaving them without a striker in red hot form who almost scored two goals while he was on the pitch.
    Higuain's suspension and doubts over Messi's match fitness could mean Argentina start away to Ecuador on Tuesday without their top scorers, who have 17 goals between them.
    Messi, just back from a hamstring injury and lacking match fitness, rarely looked comfortable after coming on with little more than half an hour left.
    Asked whether he would play against Ecuador, the Argentina captain told reporters: "I don't know, I had gone a long time without a game. Playing at altitude is exhausting."
    Messi no doubt recalled his struggle in the thin air of La Paz in Argentina's 1-1 draw with Bolivia in March and his team will have to contend with similar conditions in Quito.




    Argentina have a five-point cushion at the top of the nine-nation South American group with Colombia and Ecuador both on 20 points and Chile 18.
    The top four teams at the end of the qualifiers in October will go through to the Brazil finals. The fifth-placed team, at present Venezuela with 16 points, will enter a playoff against an Asian qualifier in November for another berth.
    Venezuela were four minutes away from victory over Bolivia before a mistake by goalkeeper Renny Vega at a corner allowed substitute Jhasmany Campos to head an equaliser.
    The dropped points dent Venezuela's aspirations of reaching the finals for the first time but coach Cesar Farias looked on the bright side.
    "To take a point in La Paz is very good and it could be the point that takes us to the World Cup," Farias told the post-match news conference.
    "Up here (in La Paz) few teams take points with them. Of our direct rivals only Chile got three but the point is much better for us than for Bolivia."




    Chile's victory at the Defensores del Chaco in Asuncion virtually ended Paraguay's chances of reaching Brazil.
    "It's the hardest and saddest moment of our careers, because we've spent a life in the national team and to finish like this is tough," said veteran Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz.
    Paraguay fans clamoured for Gerardo Pelusso, the team's second coach during the qualifiers, to be sacked.
    Peru coach Sergio Markarian, on the other hand, was a happy man after his team's victory in Lima while recognising that reaching the finals is still only a dream.
    "We're taking the victory calmly, today we're still out of the World Cup. This win sets us up for the fight without promising anything," Markarian said.












    Wo Acha Hay Tou Behtar, Bura Hay Tou Bhi Qabool
    Mizaaj-E-Ishq Mein Aib-O-Hunar Dekhe Nahi Jatay...!!!


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    Default Australia crush Jordan to lift World Cup hopes

    Australia's old guard fired up their hopes of reaching the 2014 World Cup finals with a thumping 4-0 defeat of Jordan on Tuesday.

    Veterans Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill and skipper Lucas Neill all scored to steer the Socceroos into the automatic second qualifying spot in Asia Group B.

    Victory over last-placed Iraq next Tuesday in Sydney will ensure Australia avoid the play-off lottery for a ticket to Brazil.

    The 30-somethings hit the first two goals but it was youngster Robbie Kruse who created both chances from the right wing before sealing the points with an eye-catching strike of his own.

    Neill joined the party with the fourth after 84 minutes when, from a corner, he nodded home his first international goal in 91 appearances to add to celebrations among the 43,785 crowd.

    The opening spell had however been tense until 'keeper Amer Shafia denied Brett Holman from inside the box after 14 minutes.

    Bresciano blazed the rebound high and wide, but barely a minute later he made no mistake with his second chance of the night, connecting with Kruse's short cross to stab in from six yards out.

    Kruse had danced clear of the defence when the referee played the advantage and overruled the linesman's flag for a foul. Jordan froze momentarily, allowing Bresciano to claim his 13th goal for his country.

    The winger was the danger man and Khalil Bani Ateyah was booked for bringing down the rampant Kruse before Cahill had a penalty shout turned down when he went over in the box after 26 minutes.

    Jordan enjoyed plenty of possession but lacked a cutting edge. Ahmed Hayel picked up a loose ball and fired a fine shot just wide after 27 minutes.

    As half-time approached, midfielder Holman was bowled over 25 yards out by Anas Bani Yaseen. Bresciano stepped up again and Shafia did well to hold the low, swerving shot.

    But the second half was nearly all one-way traffic and when Cahill powerfully headed home Kruse's cross after 60 minutes, the result looked secure.

    Jordan, who started the game tied with Australia in third place on seven points, tried to push forward but only further exposed their defence.

    With another flowing breakaway, Kruse cut in from the right, nutmegged a defender inside the box and drove home after 76 minutes.
    Wo Acha Hay Tou Behtar, Bura Hay Tou Bhi Qabool
    Mizaaj-E-Ishq Mein Aib-O-Hunar Dekhe Nahi Jatay...!!!


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    The Lone Ranger Lieutenant General rishabhd's Avatar
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    Default WC qualifiers: Strikers shine as Uruguay, Colombia, Chile win



    Strikers Falcao, Alexis Sanchez and Edinson Cavani all scored as Colombia ate into Argentina's lead, Chile notched a second successive win and Uruguay revived their hopes in South American World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
    Falcao's early penalty, taking his tally to seven in the competition, put Colombia on the road to a 2-0 home win over Peru that leaves them three points behind leaders Argentina with a game in hand.
    "Falcao was essential in the first half as Peru were unable to deal with his movement. He makes fantastic runs (off the ball)... the 'Tiger' is phenomenal," Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said.




    Cavani struck a fine goal as Uruguay beat Venezuela 1-0 away for their first win in seven qualifiers, lifting the 2010 World Cup semi-finalists up to fifth in the nine-nation group, which would earn them a playoff should they maintain the position.
    Uruguay leapfrogged Venezuela, a well-drilled outfit looking to take their country to the finals for the first time in Brazil next year, on goal difference with four matches remaining.
    "We were aware that it could have all been over for us today," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez, deprived of top-scorer Luis Suarez through suspension, said.
    "We can't say the situation has got comfortable but it's an important step."
    Venezuela remain confident of qualifying, despite the setback
    "We still have chances and I'm not going to surrender," coach Cesar Farias said.
    "We dominated the whole match but it's not about who deserves the win, it's about who scores the goals," captain Juan Arango added.




    Chile benefited from the revived goal instincts of Sanchez and the return after eight years of 33-year-old midfielder David Pizarro in a 3-1 home win over Bolivia that consolidated fourth place behind Ecuador on goal difference.
    "David gave us a lot of clarity, the possibility of many assists and depth. I'm very pleased with his performance," Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli said.
    Ecuador will rue their poor finishing after failing to take more than one goal from an endless string of corners and free kicks in a 1-1 draw with an Argentina side missing Lionel Messi for an hour and struggling in the thin air in Quito.
    In two qualifiers this month, Ecuador have picked up only one point and slipped in the standings while Chile, equal on 21 points, are breathing down their necks and Uruguay and Venezuela pose a latent threat.





    Ecuador's run of six home victories in as many matches was halted by Argentina, who took an early lead with a Sergio Aguero penalty, and they now have only one fixture at high altitude, Uruguay in October, out of their four remaining qualifiers.
    Argentina, who have drawn their last three matches albeit two at high altitude, have a bye in the next round on September 6 when Colombia can catch them at the top if they beat Ecuador at home.
    The top four teams at the end of the qualifiers in October will go through to the Brazil finals. The fifth-placed team, at present Uruguay on 16 points, will enter a playoff against an Asian qualifier in November for another spot.







    Wo Acha Hay Tou Behtar, Bura Hay Tou Bhi Qabool
    Mizaaj-E-Ishq Mein Aib-O-Hunar Dekhe Nahi Jatay...!!!


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    Default FIFA World Cup qualifiers: `Tears of blood` jibe stokes Korea-Iran ire

    South Korea and Iran appear headed for one of Asia`s worst-tempered World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday after their coaches traded barbs and one player said he would make Iran`s captain cry "tears of blood".

    The gloves-off verbal sparring has dramatically raised temperatures ahead of their crunch meeting in Seoul, where South Korea need just a point but Iran need a win to guarantee an automatic 2014 World Cup berth.

    After Korean boss Choi Kang-Hee`s promise to "make life painful" for Iran drew a strong response from their coach Carlos Queiroz and captain Javad Nekounam, the home players launched a fresh salvo.
    "I will make him (Nekounam) shed tears of blood," said Germany-based forward Son Heung-Min.

    Son added: "Nekounam is known for talking too much. I will let my action on the pitch do the talking. We will beat them by three to four goals."

    The dispute follows South Korean complaints of ill-treatment during their visit to Tehran last October, with gripes including visa problems and poor training facilities. In a feisty encounter, South Korea lost 1-0.

    Choi said memories of the trip were still fresh in his players minds, and vowed to return suit to Iran this week -- in comments that were slammed by Nekounam and Queiroz, who called them "shameful".
    But the South Korean coach was unrepentant, predicting that Queiroz would be watching next year`s World Cup in Brazil from his home in Portugal.

    Midfielder Lee Myung-Joo, man of the match on debut in last week`s tight 1-0 win against Uzbekistan, also dismissed Nekounam as well as the threat posed by Iran.

    "I don`t know who Nekounam is. I`ve only heard about him in the media," said Lee. "I don`t think Iran are that strong. We can beat them if we just focus on playing our own game."

    In Tuesday`s qualifier at a packed and fervent Seoul World Cup Stadium, 2002 semi-finalists South Korea will be aiming to seal their eighth consecutive berth at the tournament and ninth overall. Iran have contested three World Cups.

    Ahead of the final round of games, South Korea lead Group A on 14 points, with Iran on 13 and Uzbekistan 11. The top two teams qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The third-placed side enter a play-off series.
    Wo Acha Hay Tou Behtar, Bura Hay Tou Bhi Qabool
    Mizaaj-E-Ishq Mein Aib-O-Hunar Dekhe Nahi Jatay...!!!


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    Default Australia beat Iraq 1-0 to qualify for 2014 World Cup

    Australia secured their place at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil Tuesday with a late strike from Josh Kennedy firing them to a tense 1-0 win over an under-strength Iraq at Stadium Australia.

    It was an unconvincing victory in front of a sell-out 80,000 crowd, but ensured the Socceroos will appear at their third consecutive World Cup, alongside Japan who are already through from Asian Group B qualifying.

    The result put Australia on 13 points, out of reach of Oman (nine points) and Jordan (seven points) who play later Wednesday.

    Australia wasted countless chances in wet conditions before coach Holger Osieck replaced a visibly angry Tim Cahill with Kennedy in the 77th minute.

    But the towering Nagoya Grampus striker justified the substitution when he saved the day with a clinical 83rd-minute header that sent the crowd wild.

    "I'm proud of everybody. It's been a really hard campaign but we showed our mental strength," captain Lucas Neill said. "I'm sorry it wasn't pretty but we beat them.

    "We've got to keep pushing ourselves," he added. "Let's look at the positives tonight -- we're going to Brazil!"

    Osieck kept his faith in the team that impressively beat Jordan 4-0 in Melbourne last week and they repaid the German, but it was not the authoritative performance that many were expecting.

    He was relieved that his team scrambled over the line.

    "It was a very tough qualifying campaign but we made it happen over the last three games," said Osieck. "I'm simply happy for the boys and the fans. It was a tricky game, they are tough to play."

    Former Asian champions Iraqi had no chance of qualifying for Brazil and were without veteran skipper Younis Mahmoud and midfield maestro Nashat Akram, who opted not to play.

    Attacking midfielder Alaa Abdul-Zahra was also absent with the team predominantly made up of players who will compete at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey later in June.

    Their inexperience showed and they were immediately on the back foot with a left-foot strike by Cahill in the second minute forcing a fine save from Noor Sabri, one of only two survivors from Iraq's 2007 Asian Cup-winning team.

    Sasa Ognenovski went close 12 minutes later when he got his head on a Lucas Neill cross as the Socceroos made good use of space on the wings, and Cahill leapt well to get a header on target from a Luke Wilkshire corner soon after.

    Half-an-hour in and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had barely touched the ball as Australia pressed for the opening goal.

    Cahill again went close, twice in as many minutes, but the killer strike eluded them and they went into half-time at 0-0.

    Iraq had their first shot on target soon after the restart when Saif Salman forced Schwarzer into action as Vladimir Petrovic's team upped the tempo.

    Australia responded and thought they'd scored after 64 minutes when Robbie Kruse volleyed the ball into the net, but the referee had already blown for a foul in the penalty area.

    With the game heading for a draw, Osieck brought on Kennedy and despite Cahill petulantly swiping the air close to the coach's head, the move paid dividends.

    As the clocked ticked down Mark Bresciano looped in a cross from the right and the lanky Kennedy made no mistake, climbing to meet the ball and heading it into the right-hand corner.

    Reaching Brazil is a dream come true for the Socceroos, many of whom are 30-plus and will have their last chance to play in a World Cup in 2014.

    Australia's most capped player Mark Schwarzer will be 41 come next year's showpiece, while captain Lucas Neill, striker Tim Cahill and midfielder Mark Bresciano will all be 34 or older.
    Wo Acha Hay Tou Behtar, Bura Hay Tou Bhi Qabool
    Mizaaj-E-Ishq Mein Aib-O-Hunar Dekhe Nahi Jatay...!!!


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