MS: HOW THEY DID IT
MEXICO (11 October, 2009) Mexico made sure of their 14th appearance at the finals with a game to spare after a comprehensive 4-1 victory over El Salvador – despite a swarm of bees in the goalmouth halting play for 10 minutes. Javier Aguirre’s side won six of nine games to seize the initiative in the group after the job had been started under previous coach SvenGoran Eriksson.
Mexico captain Rafa Marquez: “This is a great team and Javier Aguirre is a great coach. We worked hard and got the job done, the credit goes to all to my team-mates and to the coach. They are all amazing.”
CHILE (11 October, 2009)
Chile reached South Africa courtesy of a 4-2 victory over Colombia, and they were indebted to substitute Jorge Valdivia who scored one goal and created three. It is Chile’s first appearance at the finals since 1998.
Chile captain Claudio Bravo: “It was our mission to change the face of Chilean football. It was an exceptional campaign, based on discipline, consistency, confidence and belief. But this isn’t the summit, we can achieve great things.” ITALY (10 October, 2009) Italy sealed the chance to defend their world title in South Africa in dramatic fashion, equalising in the last minute in Ireland to snatch a 2-2 draw and top spot in Group Eight. Mauro Camoranesi cancelled out Glenn Whelan’s opener for Ireland, but Sean St Ledger’s goal looked to be taking the group to the final round of matches until Alberto Gilardino’s decisive late goal.
Italy striker Alberto Gilardino: “The game was tight until the end. And qualifying, this is even more beautiful. We deserved the draw. When they scored to make it 2-1, we were not attentive. Thank goodness we equalised.” SERBIA (10 October, 2009) Serbia beat Romania 5-0 in Belgrade to earn automatic qualification for the 2010 World Cup as unassailable leaders of European qualifying Group Seven. Nikola Zigic gave the Serbs a half-time lead, with latergoals from Marko Pantelic, Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Milan Javanovic (two).
Serbia coach Radomir Antic: “I’m extremely happy, as we sealed a World Cup spot in style. If we continue like this, we will be a power to reckon with in 2010.” DENMARK (10 October, 2009) Denmark reached their first major tournament since the 2004 European Championship courtesy of a 1-0 win over Sweden in Copenhagen. Midfielder Jakob Poulsen’s low, long-range strike in the 79th minute was enough to see off second-placed Sweden and ensure the Danes progressed with one round of games remaining in Group One.
Denmark coach Morten Olsen: “We played a better game so our win was well deserved. All the players who have been on the team have been fantastic.” GERMANY (10 October, 2009) Germany have not missed a World Cup finals since 1950 and that record was extended as they booked their place with a 1-0 win away to their group rivals Russia. Miroslav Klose’s 35th-minute strike clinched the win and saw Germany win the group with one round of matches remaining.
Germany coach Joachim Loew: “We said from the start that we wanted to play for a win here, and so go forward. Of course we had a bit of luck in some situations, one has to say that.” IVORY COAST (10 October, 2009) Ivory Coast drew 1-1 with Malawi in Blantyre to become the second African side to reach the 2010 World Cup in South Africa from the qualifiers. Chelsea’s Didier Drogba came on as a substitute to score the crucial equalising goal for the visitors.
Striker Drogba: “I am very happy indeed because Ivory Coast is going to the World Cup for the second time.” PARAGUAY (9 September, 2009) Paraguay secured their place at a fourth straight World Cup finals with two games to spare after a 1-0 win over Argentina. Nelson Valdez’s goal earned his side victory over Diego Maradona’s struggling outfit in the South American qualifying group.
Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino: “In the national team, you work for two possibilities – you can work for having a job or for making history. I want to work for the second option.” SPAIN (9 September, 2009) Spain matched the feats of England and the Netherlands, qualifying for the 2010 World Cup with two qualifying group matches to spare thanks to a workmanlike 3-0 defeat of Estonia in Merida. Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata got the goals to make it eight straight wins for the European champions, and a ticket to the finals for the ninth straight time.
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas: “This goal is very important for me, especially for the confidence it gives me. It’s a pleasure to play with these players and in front of these fans. Eight wins out of eight, not many can say that.” ENGLAND (9 September, 2009) England swept into the finals with a 5-1 rout of Croatia, their eighth victory in eight Group Six matches, as Fabio Capello’s side ensured their progress to the finals with two matches to spare. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard each bagged a brace, with Wayne Rooney adding a fifth, as the Wembley crowd were treated to a superb home win that went some way to making up for Croatia stopping England from qualifying for Euro 2008.
England captain John Terry: “When we play like that, pressing and working the ball, we’re a difficult opposition for any side. Don’t forget, it’s taken a year for us to get this good, and we’ve got a way to go to get to where we ultimately want to be. But we’re on track.” GHANA (6 September, 2009) Ghana defeated Sudan 2-0 in Accra to become the first African side to reach the 2010 World Cup in South Africa from the qualifiers. Inter Milan’s Sulley Muntari and Chelsea’s Michael Essien scored the goals in each half to give Ghana an unassailable lead at the top of qualifying Group D.
Midfielder Essien: “The people of Ghana wanted us to win and we did not let them down... a fantastic feeling to be the first African country to qualify for the first World Cup staged in Africa.” BRAZIL (6 September, 2009) Brazil are the only team to have appeared in every World Cup finals and they made sure that record would continue in the best possible fashion, beating their bitter rivals Argentina 3-1 on their home turf. Two goals from striker Luis Fabiano and another from defender Luisao were enough.
Brazil coach Dunga: “We’re happy. We beat a great team with great champions. Lionel Messi might be the best player in the world. We beat Argentina, who had not lost at home in qualifying.” NORTH KOREA (17 June, 2009) Iran’s failure to defeat South Korea in Seoul earlier in the day meant North Korea only needed to draw in their final group match against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. A 0-0 result put them into their first World Cup finals since 1966 whenthey were beaten 5-3 in the quarter-finals by Portugal – despite taking a 3-0 lead.
North Korea coach Kim Jong-Hun: “It was so hot in Saudi Arabia and as you know the journey from Korea was long, but our belief in the ability of the players snatched the ticket to South Africa.” NETHERLANDS (6 June, 2009) The Dutch won 2-1 away to Iceland to become the first European side to qualify. Goals from Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel put Bert van Marwijk’s team in the driving seat before Kristjan Orn Sigurdsson pulled a goal back.
Coach Van Marwijk: “My goal was to qualify for the finals... winning six straight World Cup qualifiers deserves a compliment.” SOUTH KOREA (6 June, 2009) The South Koreans secured a seventh successive World Cup finals place thanks to a 2-0 victory over United Arab Emirates in Dubai. Park Chu-young and Ki Sung-yueng grabbed the goals.
South Korea coach Huh Jung-Moo: “We are all satisfied with a performance that saw us ensure a place. The players were excellent throughout the qualifiers, they did a great job.” AUSTRALIA (6 June, 2009) The Socceroos eased into the World Cup without so much as even conceding a goal in the six matches it took them to qualify. A 0-0 draw against Qatar in Doha wrapped things up for Pim Verbeek’s team after they picked up 14 points in Group A of the final Asian qualifying phase.
Coach Verbeek: “The World Cup is a great, great event and I’m already looking forward to going there. We have to go and do it better than last time.” JAPAN (6 June, 2009) Takeshi Okada’s Japan became the first team to book their place after ear ning a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Uzbekistan in Tashkent. Shunji Okazaki grabbed the only goal of the game after nine minutes to book a fourth successive finals berth. Coach Okada: “We played well. “I think we should continue playing this style in the remaining matches.” – BBC.COM