International Fixtures 19th November

Tonight the second legs of 6 World Cup Qualifiers will be played whilst many other international friendlies will be held. Stand out ties include England vs Germany where the Three Lions looking to bounce back after a shock 2-0 loss against Chile; Netherlands vs Colombia in which two high profile countries will look for a good result heading into next years World Cup; and Brazil vs Chile where the 11th and 12th ranked teams will face off in an all South American tie. Along with the World Cup Qualifiers and International Friendlies, a few Continental Qualifiers will take place in Asia as fourteen teams begin their AFC Asian Cup qualification. The highest ranked teams taking part are Iran and Uzbekistan. Yesterday four International Friendlies were held, with the most prominent game seeing Italy held to  a shock 2-2 draw with Nigeria. A full list of fixtures taking part tonight can be found below:

International Friendlies

Liechtenstein vs Estonia

Kyrgyzstan vs Azerbaijan

Austria vs USA

South Africa vs Spain

Norway vs Scotland

England vs Germany

India vs Nepal

Poland vs Republic of Ireland

Brazil vs Chile

Honduras vs Ecuador

Australia vs Costa Rica

Malta vs Faroe Islands

Slovenia vs Canada

Russia vs South Korea

Turkey vs Belarus

Namibia vs Mozambique

Trinidad and Tobago vs Jamaica

Tanzania vs Zimbabwe

Netherlands vs Colombia

Belgium vs Japan

Continental Qualifiers

Syria vs Oman

Lebanon vs Iran

Bahrain vs Yemen

Kuwait vs Thailand

UAE vs Vietnam

Hong Kong vs Uzbekistan

Malaysia vs Qatar

 

World Cup Qualifiers

Egypt vs Ghana

Algeria vs Burkina Faso

Croatia vs Iceland

Sweden vs Portugal

France vs Ukraine

Romania vs Greece

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2014 FIFA World Cup: Who can still book a place in Brazil?

Over the next week or so a lot regarding the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be decided. The last 11 places will be confirmed and 11 teams will be staying home and missing out on Rio. Here we take a look at who has qualified and who is still in with a shot.

Africa

Definitely there: None.

This weekend 10 teams will battle it out in the second legs of their final qualification matches to try and take one of the 5 places still remaining for African qualification. The first legs saw Algeria beaten 3-2 at Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast beat Senegal 3-1, Ethiopia lose 2-1 at home to Nigeria, Tunisia and Cameroon play out a goalless draw and Egypt thrashed 6-1 by Ghana. The second legs will be played on the 16th – 19th of November.

Asia

Definitely there: Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea.

After defeating Uzbekistan 9-8 on penalties to earn their place in an intercontinental play-off, Jordan will have to face a strong Uruguay team if they wish to proceed to their first ever World Cup. The game will be played on the 13th of November.

Europe

Definitely there: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, England, Spain, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Four teams will progress from the play-offs.

Bosnia gained their first World Cup qualification by winning Group G ahead of Greece, who now must play a play-off to secure qualification.

Russia drew with Azerbaijan, which was enough to see off Portugal and win Group F, while England topped Group H with a 2-0 win over Poland.

The likes of Germany, England, Spain and Italy amongst others have secured qualification and now the eight runners-up must face the play-offs. Greece face Romania, Portugal take on Sweden, Ukraine must tackle France, and Iceland are handed the task of Croatia. The two-legged ties will take place on the 15th and 19th of November.

North & Central America and Caribbean

Definitely there: Costa Rica, United States, Honduras.

Mexico, who finished fourth in qualifying, face Oceania winners New Zealand in a two-legged intercontinental play-off, much like Jordan and Uruguay. After a 2-2 draw with Jamaica, Honduras took the final automatic qualification spot and therefore Mexico need to win this play-off to go through. This qualifier will take place on 13th November.

Oceania

Definitely there: None.

New Zealand completed the Oceanic qualifying stages with no real difficulty and now face a strong Mexico side, who have qualified for each of the last 5 World Cups, in a play-off on 13th November.

South America

Definitely there: Argentina, Brazil (hosts), Colombia, Ecuador and Chile

Uruguay must take on underdogs Jordan to qualify for Brazil after finishing 5th in their group. They were level on points with Ecuador however a poor goal difference let them down. They are largely favoured to go through to the World Cup, but new boys Jordan won’t go down without a fight.

 

So there we have a roundup of who’s qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and who still has a chance of making it there. It could be a nervy few days for some of the bosses, one bad decision could lead to qualification failure. Whatever the outcomes are, we’re in for a week of drama, controversy and a whole load of goals.

-VE

England v Poland: Preview

Venue: Wembley     Kick Off: 20:00 (GMT)   Date: 15th October 2013

Just 90 minutes of football is all that separates Roy Hodgson’s England and qualification for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. The fate of England’s World Cup hopes lie in their own hands as on 15th October – they have the chance to guarantee qualification into the 2014 World Cup. Albeit a bit late, England will have the chance to book their place in Brazil if they overcome Poland tomorrow, a task which they could not manage in October last year as a goal from Glik in the 70th minute cancelled out Rooney’s first half goal. This time around, they will be hoping to do better against the Poles.

Coming into the match Poland are much regarded as the underdogs, after their hopes of qualification were vanquished via a 1-0 loss against Ukraine. England on the other hand come into the game as clear favourites, coming in off the back of a 4-1 victory over Montenegro, but the scoreline is quite flattering as Montenegro played much better than it suggests. This leads me to think that Poland could end up playing a defensive game, not required to attack and a win not of much importance. However, with the likes of Błaszczykowski and Lewandowski in the team, it would be rather wasteful to not use their attacking ability.

England are already guaranteed a place in the play-offs but manager Roy Hodgson would much rather avoid this. Hodgson wants England to complete the task in hand tomorrow and not resort to leaving it any later.

“We must make sure we complete it against Poland and I am sure we will,” he said.

“Even though they are out of the running and have nothing to play for, I can’t imagine they will take their foot off the pedal.”

Captain Steven Gerrard agrees with Hodgson, and believes that the Poles cannot be taken lightly. Despite being out of the running they still could prove dangerous with the players they have.

“They’ll be coming to Wembley, they’ll want to beat England, they’ll want to be the team that stops us going to a World Cup; we won’t be thinking they’re going to take their foot off the gas.”

Poland will be without injured defender Lukasz Piszczek, but coach Waldemar Fornalik, who could be in charge for the last time, is more concerned about scoring goals.

He said: “I am thinking of the points and a win. Nothing else will do in any match.”

Jakub Blaszczykowski, the Poland captain, has reiterated that the game won’t be defensive.

“We want to thank them with a good game and the right result.

“It doesn’t matter that we only have honour for which to play. Matches at Wembley are always very important to us.”

Team-mate Robert Lewandowski admits that Poland will be underdogs for the game but is hopeful that he can give Poland’s fans something about which to cheer.

“We know we have a lot of fans out there who will come to the game,” he added. “We don’t stand a chance of going through but we want to go to Wembley and at least allow our supporters a little fun. For sure, we won’t be favourites.”

Possible Line-Ups (Just Guessing)

England: Hart; Johnson, Jagielka, Cahill, Baines; Gerrard, Lampard, Townsend, Welbeck; Sturridge, Rooney

Poland: Boruc; Wojtkowiak, Jedrzejczyk, Szukala, Glik; M Lewandowski, Blaszczykowski, lich, Sobota, Krychowiak; R Lewandowski

This match promises to be enticing with a lot on stake here. Who do you guys think will win the game tomorrow?

-VE

England vs Montenegro Review 11/10/2013

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England Team: 1 Hart 2 Walker 3 Baines 4 Gerrard 5 Cahill 6 Jagielka 7 Townsend 8 Lampard 9 Sturridge 10 Rooney 11 Welbeck

England Subs: 12 Smalling 13 Ruddy 14 Gibbs 15 Jones 16 Carrick 17 Milner 18 Barkley 19 Wilshere 20 Defoe 21 Lambert 22 Forster

Montenegro team: Poleksic, Pavicevic, Jovanovic, Volkov, Kecojevic, Jovetic, Damjanovic, Zverotic, Drincic, Savic, Boskovic

Montenegro subs: Blazic, Novakovic, Krkotic, Igumanovic, Janjusevic, Kasalica, Vesovic, Vukcevic, Dembasic, Beqiraj

It was a glorious yet somewhat comical win for England as they triumphed 4-1 over one of their main group rivals, Montenegro. Andros Townsend made his England debut in what was an extremely important match for the home nation. England got off to a good start with some good attacking pressure, trying to force a mistake from Montenegro. Montenegro didn’t really look like they could get into the game which gave England the opportunity to dominate the possession for most of the first half. Townsend always looked quite dangerous which stayed the case throughout the match. He won England a free-kick in quite a dangerous area after just 15 fifteen minutes of the game being played. Leighton Baines was the taker but the Montenegro keeper came and punched away. This seemed to shock Montenegro into action as they began a quick counter which was halted for a foul on Gary Cahill. News then began to filter through that Ukraine had scored against Poland which took them to top of the group as England were drawing 0-0. Not much happened in the first half after that until the 44th minute when Daniel Sturridge cut in from the right and saw his effort take a deflection which left Poleksic helpless, luckily for Montenegro, the deflection took it just wide. England didn’t want the half to end as they picked up their form but they were indeed held to a 0-0 draw at half time, having dominated the match. England came out for the second half with no changes made. The first major incident in the half came after 47 minutes when Welbeck’s shot was saved by Poleksic who was unlucky as the ball fell straight to Wayne Rooney who put the ball in the back of the net from six yards out. The game suddenly spurred into life with Hart making a good save from a header after 55 minutes to keep it at 1-0. England doubled their lead seven minutes later as a cut-back from Welbeck was turned in for an own-goal by Boskovic. Just two minutes later, Manchester City’s Stefan Jovetic struck the crossbar from a long shot which had every England fan’s heart in their mouths. England stupidly ignored the warning signs and Montenegro capitalised after 71 minutes, Jovetic’s shot prodded in by Damjanovic, the score now 2-1. England looked slightly nervous but it Townsend didn’t show it as he struck a beauty in off the post after 77 minutes, England 3-1 Montenegro. England added to their goal tally in the 90th minute when Kecojevic brought down Daniel Sturridge in the box. The Liverpool striker took the penalty himself and scored. Full time, England 4-1 Montenegro. Overall, a good performance by Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions who put themselves back at the top of their group with one match left in World Cup 2014 qualifying.


Townsend’s debut goal

 

GROUP H
Team MP W D L GF GA Pts
England 9 5 4 0 29 4 19
Ukraine 9 5 3 1 20 4 18
Montenegro 9 4 3 2 16 12 15
Poland 9 3 4 2 18 10 13
Moldova 9 2 2 5 7 15 8
San Marino 9 0 0 9 1 46 0

-SJ

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