Posts Tagged ‘World Cup 2014’
There were four crucial matches in the Asian section of the World Cup 2014 qualification tournament this week with the headline news being that Japan became the first team to secure their qualification. They cannot now be overtaken at the top of Group B following their draw with Australia and Oman‘s victory over Iraq. Japan had gone behind to a late goal from Tommy Oar, but they won a late penalty to equalise through Keisuke Honda and draw 1-1. Oman‘s 1-0 win over Iraq in Muscat came courtesy of an Ismail Al Ajmi goal in injury time at the end of the first half.
Any of the other four teams from Group B could still finish in second spot and seal automatic qualification for the finals behind the Japanese. Oman are in pole position on nine points but they have played a game more than the other three. The remaining fixtures are Australia v Jordan and Iran v Japan on Tuesday the 11th of June and Australia v Iraq and Jordan v Oman on Tuesday the 18th of June.
In Group A Qatar and Lebanon saw their hopes of automatic qualification ended and indeed Lebanon are now completely out as they can no longer even make the play off for the fifth spot following their 1-1 draw with South Korea in Beirut. Lebanon had looked set to win as they led for most of the match through Hassan Maatouk’s 12th minute strike but their hopes were dashed deep into injury time when Chi-Woo Kim equalised for the Koreans, who now top the group. Iran beat Qatar 1-0 away in Doha with a goal from Reza Ghoochannejhad to keep the pressure on South Korea and Uzbekistan at the top of the table. The remaining Group A fixtures are South Korea v Uzbekistan and Iran v Lebanon on Tuesday the 11th of June and South Korea v Iran and Uzbekistan v Qatar on Tuesday the 18th of June.
The current group tables are as follows:
Mexico moved to the top of the CONCACAF World Cup 2014 final qualifying group with a 1-0 win over Jamaica at Independence Park in Kingston last night. The Mexicans, who were playing the first of three World Cup qualification matches in a week that will go a long way towards determining their presence in Brazil next summer, were held at 0-0 until the 48th minute when Aldo de Nigris headed in Salcido’s cross and they managed to preserve their clean sheet until the final whistle for a valuable three points. Their first win in the six team group came in their fourth match following three lacklustre draws and moves them from fifth to first with six points. However, the lack of goals will still be a concern for manager Jose Manuel de la Torre. De Nigris’ strike was only their third goal in the group, meaning that they are still scoring at less than a goal per game, but at least the defence is proving to be watertight with seven clean sheets from their last eight qualifiers.
Mexico‘s next two qualifiers are away in Panama and at home to Costa Rica before they fly to Brazil for the Confederations Cup, but the rest of their group rivals are also in action over the coming fortnight so there’s likely to be a further shake up of the table by the middle of June.
The group table is now as follows:
Japan have become the first team to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil following a 1-1 draw against Australia in Saitama. The point means that the Blue Samurai are now guaranteed to finish in one of the top two spots in Asian Qualifying Group B and can relax ahead of their final match away to Iraq next week. Japan could still be mathematically be pipped for first place in the group by the Iraqis, who can join them on 14 points if they win their last three games, starting with a visit to Oman later today, but it’s an unlikely scenario and won’t worry the Japanese too much even if it happens.
Australia now occupy second spot in the group with seven points from six games, ahead of Jordan only on goal difference and a point clear of Oman, with the Iraqis a point further back but having a game in hand on the latter three teams. The Socceroos know that they now have qualification in their own hands with two home matches against Jordan and Iraq left on the agenda and two wins will definitely seal their place in the finals.
It was a tight match in Saitama with both teams reluctant to take too many risks in the knowledge that a draw would be a decent result. Neither manager made a change until the 72nd minute when Australia introduced Dario Vidosic and Japan left it until ten minutes from time before shuffling their pack, but soon after they did so they fell behind to a Tommy Oar goal and responded by bringing on Havenaar and Kiyotake to push for an equaliser. Their late pressure paid off as Matt McKay handled inside his own box and Keisuke Honda smashed home the resultant penalty in injury time.