In Europe, England qualified for the World Cup in South Africa in style from Group 6 with a 5-1 thrashing of Croatia at Wembley. Two goals a piece from Gerrard and Lampard and one from Rooney meant that England qualified with a 100% record so far in their group.
Elsewhere in the the European qualifying zone Northern Ireland’s hopes of making the tournament took a blow with a 2-0 loss at home to Slovakia. Scotland’s hopes were dashed when they crashed 1-0 at Hampden to The Netherlands after a late goal by substitute Elia.
There were wins for Germany 4-0 at home to Azerbaijan, Portugal 1-0 away to Hungary, Italy 2-0 at home to Bulgaria. Spain qualified for South Africa with an impressive 3-0 drubbing of Estonia.
Holders Italy, Serbia, Slovakia and Switzerland seem to be on course for automatic qualification with France, Portugal, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland hoping to get to South Africa through the play-offs.
The biggest surprise of the night was Faroe Islands 2-1 Lithuania . This was the Faroe Islands’ first win in a World Cup qualifying match for eight years.
In Asia, Bahrain advanced through the play-offs after a 2-2 draw in Saudi Arabia with a dramatic late equalizer. Bahrain will face New Zealand is another two-legged play-off to decide which team will appear at the 2010 World Cup.
In South America, Paraguay beat Argentina 1-0 to qualify and leave Diego Maradona’s team in serious danger of not making the finals. Paraguay dominated a disorganized Argentina and the second half sending off of Juan Sebastian Veron sealed Argentina’s fate. Argentina are 5th in the group only one point ahead of Uruguay who they must play away next month.
Korea Look Good Despite Off-Pitch …