Next to hosting nation South Africa, the first countries have qualified for football’s most important tournament worldwide, the 2010 World Cup. In Europe, The Netherlands had no problem with Iceland, claiming a 2-1 victory after an especially wonderful first half. The Dutch have a perfect 100 percent score with 18 points out of six matches.
England won 4-0 in and against Kazakhstan, widening the gap to rivals Croatia and closing in on qualification for the tournament. Slovakia beat San Marino 7-0, claiming the top spot in the group where Poland also is active. Poland only played a friendly against South Africa, losing 1-0 after an early goal by the hosting nation. Although coach Beenhakker did not draw too many conclusions, it did worry him that he saw “11 decent players, but no team” on the South African pitch.
In the Asian/Oceanic qualification groups, it was South Korea, Japan and Australia who secured themselves a spot at that same tournament. South Korea claimed victory during a visit at the United Arab Emirates (2-0 win), while Japan did the same in Uzbekistan (0-1 win). Australia secured a ticket to the World Cup by keeping Qatar to a goalless draw.
Australia and Japan advanced from Group A, whereas South Korea in group B still can be joined by either North Korea, Iran or Saudi Arabia. These week’s games will make things a lot more clear. The teams ending third in both groups will play a barrage against each other and the winner will face the number five of the South American group, for a ticket to the World Cup.
In South America, Brazil was helped by a huge blunder by Uruguayan goalkeeper Sebastian Viera, giving the “Seleção” a first win over Uruguay (4-0) in 33 years. Argentina struggled at home against Colombia, but a corner from Juan Sebastian Veron was edged in by Diego Diaz, giving the Maradona lead side an important 1-0 win. Chile beat Paraguay away with 0-2. Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina are on route to the World Cup, having secured a gap to Uruguay and Venezuela. In North America, Costa Rica and the United States made steps towards the final tournament, with both teams winning.