Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODWINES -

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

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