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Subject: World Cup Qualifying Using Fictional WFA Team Sets rss

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John Weber
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I have been looking for a quick-play soccer game with individual player ratings for some time, and thus far Soccer Blast has delivered. This session report (and subsequent posts) will focus on a World Cup qualifying using all of the fictional WFA teams, organized along the following lines.

Finals with consist of 32 teams, eight prior World Cup Champions (Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Uruguay) plus 24 of the 52 remaining teams that will qualify thusly:

Europe (26 teams): Divided into seven qualifying groups, each group winner will advance. Top three second place teams from five four-team qualifying groups advance. Remaining four second place teams go to playoffs.
Asia (10 teams): Preliminary round of two home-and-home series reduces field to eight teams, paired in two four-team qualifying groups. Group winners advance. Two runners-up meet, winner advances, loser to playoffs.
Africa (8 teams): Four home-and-home elimination matchups reduce field to four. Two winners in home-and-home series advance, playoff for third place. Third place advances, fourth place to playoffs.
North and South America (4 teams each): Four-team round robin groups advances top two, with third place team from each to playoffs.
Guaranteed spots: Europe 10 Asia 3 Africa 3 North America 2 South America 2
Playoffs: One European team drawn randomly for home-and-home series with team from one of remaining four regions, winners advance.
Note: Turkey plays in Europe group, Australia plays in Asia group.

Europe, 7 seeded teams are Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Holland, Poland, Portugal and Sweden.
Group A: Croatia (s), Bosnia, Finland, Ireland
Group B: Poland (s), Austria, Denmark, Ukraine
Group C: Belgium (s), No. Ireland, Serbia, Wales
Group D: Sweden (s), Greece, Romania, Turkey
Group E: Czech Rep. (s), Bulgaria, Norway, Russia
Group F: Portugal (s), Hungary, Scotland
Group G: Holland (s), Iceland, Switzerland

Qualifying action starts in Europe with Europe Match Day 1:

Finland 2 (Rannikko 43 pen, Hiehaus 53) Ireland 4 (Rourke 25, Toomey 26, Stackpoole 44 pen, Rahilly 75)
Cautions: Poague (IRL)
Game decided in first half when Ireland goes ahead 2-0 due to rare play where Finland makes bad pass right after kickoff following first Irish score; Finns rally in second half to cut lead to one but cannot generate enough offense to come any closer.

Croatia 1 (Grgic 61) Bosnia 1 (Inarkaevic 43)
Cautions: Grubisic (CRO), Pavicic (CRO), Lukic (CRO), Basic (CRO)
Bosnia seizes a surprise early lead, as Croatia’s aggressive play leads to a slew of yellow cards. Croatia is able to break through for the equalizer after a series of attacks, but no more scoring the rest of the way.

Poland 1 (Sawicki 17) Denmark 2 (Knudson 67, Krogh 85)
Cautions: Nissen (DEN), Borkowski (POL), Sokoloski (POL), Tomaszweski (POL), Lauridsen (DEN)
Poland on attack early, breaking through with Sawicki goal after a corner kick. Denmark forced to sub for injured Lassen in first half. The tide began to shift in the second half with a couple of yellow cards issued to Poland, then Knudson hammered home the equalizer right after being inserted for Lind. Krogh scored winning goal with five minutes left in regulation, and late efforts by the Poles proved ineffective.

Ukraine 1 (Tkach 45) Austria 2 (Gruber 32 Werfel 64 pen)
Cautions: Gloeckner (AUT), Tkach (UKR), Gottlieb (AUT)
Tough break for Austria when one of their key players, Gloeckner, picked up an early yellow. Austria scored first, then sat back in defensive move. Ukraine equalized just before half-time, but the game was decided on a penalty with Werfel booting home the winner for the visitors.

Serbia 1 (Zgodic 47 pen) Belgium 1 (og 42)
Ejection: Fasse (BEL)
Cautions: Grobotick (SER), Marzijian (SER), Vules (SER), Dionne (BEL)
Tough start for Belgium, losing a top player (Schuster) to injury just seven minutes but they scored on a fortuitous bounce and an own goal just before the half. Despite three yellow cards and some rough play by Serbia, it was Belgium forced to play a man down after Cehun was taken down inside the box in the early minutes of the second half. After the Serbs converted the penalty, the Belgians did well to hold the point.

Wales 2 (Faughn 8 Gwynne 51) No. Ireland 1 (Metcalf 90+3)
Cautions: Buthcer (NI), Firth (W)
Wales up two after sloppy clearance off corner then Gwynne puts in rebound of his own shot. Northern Ireland never threatened until putting in late goal in stoppage time.

Turkey 2 (og 30 Irtegun 73) Romania 2 (Ghezzo 35, 80)
Cautions: Behir (TUR), Celak (TUR). Ekci (TUR)
Injury: Siperco (ROM), miss next 4 games
It was a rather mundane first half which saw Turkey ahead after a Romanian miscue led to an own goal, then Romania’s star player Ghezzo, equalized. The action picked up after half-time, leading to an exciting finish. Irtegun put Turkey ahead but Ghezzo once again came through for Romania. Irtegun was taken down inside the box, but no penalty. Romania had to survive the final six minutes of injury time after being short-handed due to a late injury to sub Siperco, after having used all substitutions.

Sweden 3 (Sundstrom 10, Forsberg 19, Gustavsson 45+1) Greece 3 (Metrofanis 3, og 34, Vasco 65)
Cautions: Holmgren (SWE), Forsberg (SWE), Chronis (GRE), Papageorgiou (GRE), Bjorklund (SWE)
A real goal-fest, at least for the first half, with Sweden pulling ahead in the final minute off a corner kick after an own goal that allowed the Greeks to equalize. Sweden then tried to control possession, but the Greeks battled back, with Vasic getting the equalizer; Metrofanis missed an excellent chance in injury time.

Russia 1 (Abdulov 73) Czech Rep. 0
Cautions: Bohac (CZE), Istomin (RUS), Nekrasov (RUS)
Tough defensive struggle decided by a goal from Russia off a set-piece. Two minutes later, the Russian keeper, Vinogradoff, makes a spectacular save and goes on to record a clean sheet for the win.

Bulgaria 3 (og 38, Sokoloff 65, Petrov 80) Norway 2 (Fagerbakke 58, Tommervik 90+3)
Cautions: Djupvik (NOR), Hovstad (NOR), Eek (NOR)
Bulgaria on top due to a rare miscue and an own goal. After Norway’s Fagerbakke equalized, Sokoloff put the Bulgarians back on top and Genov makes a spectacular save to keep his team on top. Petrov powers home a third, a Kaloyanchev free kick sails over the bar, and an extra time goal for Norway is too little, too late.

Hungary 0 Scotland 1
(Miller 16)
Cautions: Boldiszar (HUN)
In a game dominated by defense, Scotland’s lone goal was scored not by their big offensive star (Jan Graham), but defensemen Miller whose shot trickled past the Hungarian keeper, Vazsony, who otherwise had a good game. Two spectacular saves by Black, the Scottish keeper, were needed to score the surprise away win.

Iceland 0 Switzerland 1 (Bueche 50)
Cautions: Derrer (SUI), Gudleifsson (ICE), Roesch (SUI)
Turns into a defensive struggle, and Iceland do well to keep the game scoreless at half-time. Bueche puts in a goal that turns out to be the winner five minutes into the second half, and the Swiss gain the full points – with the help of two spectacular saves from Kaegi (one in the first half, one in the second).
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Asian Qualifying, Preliminary Round

The scene shifts to Asia for the first of two-leg home and home knockout rounds to reduce the total number of nations from 10 to 8. By random draw, the first series matchup China with Nepal and India with Pakistan – a pair of neighbor nations with troubled pasts. China and India will host the first two games.

Asian Qualifying Round Games, First Legs

China 0 Nepal 1 (Adhikar 46)
Nepal surprises many observers by playing the Chinese on level terms on their own turf for the first half. Then, in the opening minute of the second half, a rare play result puts Nepal ahead. Despite two clear chances by China’s star striker, Liang, deep in the second half, plus a third when Liang was taken down inside the penalty area – but no call – the score stands. Huge upset win by the surprising Nepal team.

India 0 Pakistan 1
(Rehman 63)
Cautions: Adil (PAK)
India is forced to substitute early on, due to an injury to a key striker, Maharaj. Pakistan is able to hold its own, breaking through after a scoreless first half. Little offensive punch from India, putting Pakistan in the cat-bird’s seat for the return match.

Second Legs

Nepal 0 China 2 (Zhen 46, P’eng 51), China 2-1 on aggregate
Cautions: Agarwal (NEP), Sun (CHN)
Nepalese hopes rise after a scoreless first half, but China breaks through with a couple of early goals in the second. China advances to group stage by 2-1 aggregate, and Nepal is first team eliminated.

Pakistan 0 India 1 (Yadav 81), 1-1 on aggregate aet (Pakistan 4-3 on pk)
Cautions: Edo-Khel (PAK), Mehmed (PAK), Kumar (IND), Parikh (IND), Kanda (IND)
Two spectacular saves by the Indian keeper, Trivedi, keep the game scoreless through halftime. Then, with less than 10 minutes left in regulation, Yadav scores for India, knotting the aggregate at 1-1. No scoring in 30 minutes of extra time, and it comes down to a penalty kick shootout to decide which of these two nations moves on. Each convert three of four, then Heshbani puts Pakistan up 4-3, when Bhavsar of India then makes the crucial miss that sends Pakistan through to the next phase. Very exciting tense action down to the very end.

China and Pakistan now advance to the group stage with the remaining six Asian nations. Pairings are as follows:

Asia Group 1: Australia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea
Asia Group 2: China, Iran, Japan, North Korea

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Africa Qualifying, First Round, First Legs

Africa Qualifiers, First Round, First Legs

Pairings for the first round (losers being eliminated) are:

Algeria vs Ghana
Cameroon vs Morocco
Ivory Coast vs Eritrea
Nigeria vs Senegal

Algeria 2 (Bin Mohammed 4, El-Said 11) Ghana 0
Caution: Abu Raba (ALG)
This one was over early as the home team scored twice in the first 12 minutes. The Black Stars of Ghana could not get on track, and their star David Lokko was invisible for most of the game. Ghanian fans hope for better in the second leg.

Cameroon 3 (Maalouf 17, Okoro 24, Turay 87) Morocco 0
Cautions: Okofor (CMR), Okeke (CMR), Dagher (MOR)
Injury: Contee (CMR), miss 3 games
A fairly easy win for Cameroon, who had the vast majority of possession throughout, putting two past the Moroccan keeper in the first half before adding a late goal. Only negative was the loss of sub Contee to injury; he will need to sit out the next three games for the Cameroon team.

Ivory Coast 2 (Hove 45, 67) Eritrea 0
Cautions: Gwisai (IVC)
Spectacular save in the 15th minute by Ivory Coast’s keeper, Moyo, keeps Eritrea off the board until Ivory Coast attack breaks through with a pair of goals from striker Hove; once Ivory Coast were ahead, Eritrea never threatened.

Nigeria 1 (Elewechi 50) Senegal 2 (Mwayenga 20 Nyandoro pen 29)
Cautions: Ofodile (NGR), Nkendirim (NGR),Wutawunashe (SEN)
Good, tense struggle that began as all Senegal in the first half, with Mwayenga connecting on a free kick, followed by a penalty that was converted by Nyendoro; it took a spectacular save by the Senegal keeper, Ndoro, to keep Nigeria off the board in injury time just before half-time. Nigeria bounced back with an early second half goal, but Ndukaku missed a penalty in the 74th minute, plus an important no-call when Ndukaku was taken down in the 88th minute kept the score at 2-1, in favor of the visitors.

Return legs coming soon, but for the next report, let’s head to the Americas for the opening round of games.
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Americas, Match Day 1, Group Stage

North America, Group Stage, Match Day 1

In North America, the four teams competing are USA, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica. First matches of the home-and-home group stage sees Mexico at home to Canada and USA traveling to Costa Rica.

Mexico 2 (Pelaez 35, Rana 48) Canada 0
Cautions: Warner (CAN), Goddard (CAN)
Ejection: Blake (CAN)
The sending off of Blake in the 4th minute set up Mexico for a fairly routine win over the meager Canadian offense, weakened by the expulsion of one of its two strikers. A late first half header by Pelaez plus an early second half goal from Rana sealed the victory for the home team. Two spectacular saves by the Canadian keeper kept the scoreline from getting even worse.

Costa Rica 1 (Solano 62) USA 2 (Johnson pen 18, Brown 20)

Cautions: Solano (CRC), Fierro (CRC), Pizzaro (CRC), Wolfe (USA), Gilmartin (USA)
Two goals in less than three minutes sealed the road win for the USA, although Costa Rica rallied to pull one back in the second half. Two specatular saves by the US keeper, St. John, in the 6th and 69th minutes, helped preserve the US win.

South America, Group Stage, Match Day 1

Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru are matched in a four-team, home-and-home round robin group.

Paraguay 1 (Fabela 40) Colombia 2 (Inocencio 39, pen 77)

Cautions: Narvaez (PAR), Borromeo (PAR), Naragon (PAR), Hurtado (COL)
Began as a defensive struggle among two fairly evenly-matched teams. Great saves by Montalvo, the Colombian keeper, kept the game at 0-0 in the first half, and preserved the 2-1 win with just five minutes remaining. The winning goal came after a risky tackle of Colombia’s star player, Inocencio, just inside the box – one that the ref did not miss, and Inocencio did not miss when taking the penalty.

Chile 1 (Lebron 81) Peru 2 (Partida 43, Zendejas 58)
Caution: Bocanegra (PER)
A busted offside trap led to an open shot for Peru, which Partida duly converted to take a 1-0 half-time lead. Then Zendejas scored a second for the visitors, this time off a corner kick. Chile was able to pull one back, but it was not enough was Peru took a surprising 2-1 road win.

Next up: More European matches, and the Asian qualifiers hit Stage 2.
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Europe, Match Day 2, Groups A - C

Europe Match Day 2, Groups A – C

Bosnia 1 (Khadzhiev 28) Finland 1 (Kuitunen 90+2 pen)
Cautions: Kaitala (FIN), Kuitunen (FIN)
Bosnia looks confident on the attack, dominating most of the possession before breaking through with Khadzhiev just before the half-hour mark. Two second half saves by Ibragimov kept the Finns off the board, but a controversial late penalty (when Kuitunen was muscled off the ball just inside the box) led to the Finns escaping with a late equalizer for a point.

Ireland 2 (MacTaggart 45, Toomey 54) Croatia 0
Cautions: None.
Aaaah, the luck of the Irish … Ireland received a gift penalty call in the 7th minute, but Stackpoole sailed the PK attempt over the bar. Six minutes later, a great cross from Stackpoole is wasted as Rourke blasts the header wide. Late in the half, a counterattack emerges, but MacTaggart misses the chance. Finally, with the clock running out, MacTaggart scores just before half-time. Toomey adds an insurance goal early in the second half, and the Irish hold on for a well-earned 2-0 home win to top the group. Once again, Croatia’s star midfielder, Niksa Grubisic, was ineffective.

GROUP A STANDINGS
P W D L GF: GA PTS

Ireland 2 2 0 0 6:2 6
Bosnia 2 0 2 0 2:2 2
Finland 2 0 1 1 3:5 1
Croatia 2 0 1 1 2:4 1

Match Day 3 Fixtures: Finland – Croatia and Bosnia – Ireland.

Denmark 2 (Christensen 74 Carlsen 79 pen) Ukraine 2 (Perun 13 Stasiuk 31)
Cautions: Nissen (DEN), Demschuk (UKR)
Ukraine appeared to have a comfortable 2-0 margin at the half, with Perun scoring off a corner and Stasiuk being set up by Kovalenko. However, the Danes battle back in the second half after Demchuk is issued a yellow card. A Christensen header followed by a PK after Lassen is hauled down inside the box completes the comeback, and the Danes are happy to steal a point at home.

Austria 1 (Reinhardt 75) Poland 1 (Tomaszeski 37)
Cautions: Durr (POL), Meyer (AUT), Kacz (POL), Fischer (AUT)
Poland on attack early, both keepers make spectacular saves in the first half, then Kowalczyk picks up a knock and is substituted. Poland scores the game’s first goal on a counterattack. Reinhardt scores a late equalizer, and a draw seems the appropriate result.

GROUP B STANDINGS
P W D L GF: GA PTS

Denmark 2 1 1 0 4:3 4
Austria 2 1 1 0 3:2 4
Ukraine 2 0 1 1 3:4 1
Poland 2 0 1 1 2:3 1

Match Day 3 Fixtures: Poland – Ukraine, Austria – Denmark. Nissen (DEN) suspended (2 yellow cards).

Belgium 2
(Dionne 34 Trebesch 65) Wales 0
Cautions: Schuster (BEL), Sundy (WAL), Pembroke (WAL), Beich (BEL)
Despite losing one starter (Fasse) due to a red card suspension, Belgium had plenty of attacking power, with Schuster and Dionne doing most of the damage in the first half. Dionne finally broke through, then Trebesch added a late insurance goal to provide the Belgians with a comfortable home win.

No. Ireland 0 Serbia 1 (Zgodic 89)
Cautions: Thomson (NIR), Mann (NIR), Zagajsek (SER), Birden (NIR)
Serbia applied plenty of pressure but had nothing to show for it until a late goal from Zgodic. Northern Ireland’s best scoring chance was late in the second half, when Thomson’s shot was just barely saved by Barbarovic, the Serb keeper.

GROUP C STANDINGS
P W D L GF: GA PTS

Belgium 2 1 1 0 3:1 4
Serbia 2 1 1 0 2:1 4
Wales 2 1 0 1 2:3 3
No. Ireland 2 0 0 2 1:3 0

Match Day 3 Fixtures: Wales – Serbia, No. Ireland – Belgium.
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Asian Qualifying, Group Stage, Match Day 1
Taking a break from the European action to check in on the first set of group stage matches in Asian qualifying. The lineup of matches is:

Group 1 South Korea-Pakistan and Australia-Saudi Arabia
Group 2 Iran – North Korea and China-Japan

All the Asian group matches are to be played on neutral grounds. In game terms, when a die roll calls for the home team advantage, the decider die will be rolled to ascertain which team gets the scoring opportunity.

South Korea 0 Pakistan 3 (Rehman 32, 69 Mehmed 58)
Ejection: Noh (KOR). Cautions: Rehman (PAK), Noorzai (PAK), Jeong (KOR)
Tough break for the Koreans when one of their defenders, Noh, is red-carded just seven minutes in. A spectacular save by the Korean keeper, Ho, provides some hope, but at the half-hour mark the Korean defense breaks down, then the floodgates open in the second half, first on a header from Mehmed and then a rebound shot by Rehman to make it 3-0 for the upstart Pakistanis. Huge upset.

Australia 2 (Morey 38, Northcott 54) Saudi Arabia 1 (Assiri 43)
Cautions: Hawsawi (KSA), Colebee (AUS), Meudell (AUS), Al-Kassar (KSA), Sowden (AUS)
Both teams strike in the first half, with Morey scoring with a header for the Aussies, followed five minutes later as the Saudis convert a direct free kick opportunity. Northcott puts a rebound in to put the Aussies ahead, and they hang on for a 2-1 win with keeper Hage making a nice save from Al-Mousa in injury time to preserve the win.

Iran 1 (Qezwana 72) North Korea 2 (Suk 11 Moon 67)
Cautions: Medres (IRN)
Things start off poorly for the Iranians, who get on the bad side of the referee early, with an early yellow followed by a penalty kick that is duly converted by Suk. The North Koreans extend the lead to 2-0, then a spectacular save by Yee keeps the clean sheet. Iran’s substitute Qezwana finally breaks through with a late goal to make it a 2-1 win for the North Koreans.

China 0 Japan 0

Cautions: None
Only a couple of chances in this scoreless draw. In the 25th minute, China’s P’eng had a near-certain goal stopped by a spectacular save from Takahashi, the Japanese keeper. In the 39th minute, a header from T’ang went wide – a second missed opportunity for the Chinese. Japan had more of the play in the second half, but – apart from a couple of early misses from Kitajima and Asada – chances were few and far between. First scoreless game of the qualifying competition thus far.
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Europe, Match Day 2, Groups D - G
The action swings back to Europe, wrapping up Match Day 2 in the remaining groups.

Romania 1 (Ghezzo 6) Sweden 0
Caution: Nastase (ROM)
Lots of action in the opening minutes, as Sweden’s Holmgren put a header wide, then Romania went ahead as Ghezzo pounced on a rebound in a goal-mouth scramble. After all this early action, the game slowed to a more sedate pace until the final 10 minutes, when Romania almost scored again, with Ceaucescu missing a header off a corner after Berglund made a spectacular clearance off the line.

Greece 2 (Ioannou 72 Papageorgiou 75) Turkey 0
Ejection: Colak (TUR)
Greece dominated from the outset, both in terms of possession and scoring chances. A Metrofanis free kick in the 8th minutes just sailed wide, and the Turkish keeper Turan made a couple of spectacular saves to keep the score 0-0 at half. Greece continued to apply pressure in the second half, but it wasn’t until the sending off of Turkish defender Colak in the 64th minute that the floodgates opened, and Greece took a well-deserved 2-0 victory to move atop Group D.

GROUP D STANDINGS
P W D L GF:GA PTS
Greece ` 2 1 1 0 5:3 4
Romania 2 1 1 0 3:2 4
Sweden 2 0 1 1 3:4 1
Turkey 2 0 1 1 2:4 1

Match Day 3 Fixtures: Sweden-Turkey and Romania-Greece.
Sperco (ROM) out 3 more games with injury. Colak (TUR) miss next game, red card suspension

Czech Rep. 1
(Prochazka 24) Bulgaria 1 (Hristov 87)
Cautions: Cvetkov (BUL), Petrov (BUL)
Despite an injury to Luks in the opening minutes, the Czechs looked dangerous throughout the opening half, scoring within the half-hour and then almost making it 2-0 but Bulgaria’ keeper, Genov, came up with a big save. In the final minutes of the half, Bulgaria had its best chance as Furnadjiev’s header was just wide. Another great save from Genov early in the second half, and then Pavlicek just missed with a direct free kick. Squandered chances like these came back to haunt the Czechs when Hristov equalized with just three minutes left – good result for Bulgaria to get the split on the road after a win at home in the first game.

Norway 0 Russia 1 (Matveyev 2)
Cautions: Alexeieva (RUS), Haugan (NOR), Glaskov (RUS), Tommervik (NOR)
Russia grabs an early lead on a Matveyev goal and looks much the stronger side through the rest of the first half and for most of the second. Norway’s Djupvik misses a header in the first half, but for the rest of the way it is Russia threatening to score a second. In the end, the score remains 1-0, in favor of the visitors.

GROUP E STANDINGS
P W D L GF: GA PTS
Russia 2 2 0 0 2:0 6
Bulgaria 2 1 1 0 4:3 4
Czech Rep. 2 0 1 1 1:2 1
Norway 2 0 0 2 2:4 0

Match Day 3 Fixtures: Norway-Czech Rep and Bulgaria-Russia

Portugal 1 (Ruelles 63) Hungary 1 (Keleman 44)
Cautions: Mascarenhas (POR), Jenci (HUN), Lazaro (POR), Rokus (HUN), Szescz (HUN)
Portugal seemed to have the better of the play, but it was Hungary who took the lead when Kelemen scored just before half-time. Fonseca would have scored the equalizer, were it not for a spectacular save by the Hungarian keeper, Vazsony. A few minutes later, Ruelles puts one in the back of the net to make the score 1-1. An injury to Portugese sub Quadros in the 80th minute (after all three substitutes had been introduced) left Portugal a man down, blunting their attack. A late save by Trigueros, the Portugese keeper, was needed to preserve the 1-1 tie.

GROUP F STANDINGS
P W D L GF:GA PTS
Scotland 1 1 0 0 1:0 4
Portugal 1 0 1 0 1:1 1
Hungary 2 0 1 1 1:2 1

Match Day 3 Fixture: Scotland – Portugal. Quadros (POR) will miss next four games due to injury.

Switzerland 2
(Blickensderfer 82 pen, 87) Holland 1 (Van Hamond 12)
Caution: Baren (HOL)
Holland appeared to be comfortably winning this one, with an early goal off a corner kick from Van Hamond, and a couple of good scoring chances stopped only by the acrobatics of the Swiss keeper, Kaegi. But, the Swiss did well to keep possession, coming close with a Blickensderfer free kick that was just wide. Then, with less than 10 minutes remaining, Switzerland came back to tie with a penalty after Blickensderfer was taken down inside the box. Holland let down its guard and allowed Blickensderfer to score the winner while Holland was focused on attacking to regain the lead in the waning minutes.

GROUP G STANDINGS
P W D L GF:GA PTS
Switzerland 2 2 0 0 3:1 6
Holland 1 0 0 1 1:2 0
Iceland 1 0 0 1 0:1 0

Match Day 3 Fixture: Holland – Iceland.

Will take a bit of a hiatus (focusing more on the EPL set and other gaming activities) but except to see some more results later this fall.

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Africa Qualifying, First Round, Second Legs

AFRICA QUALIFYING, FIRST ROUND, SECOND LEGS

Ghana 1
(Aidoo 14) Algeria 0
Cautions: Kwane (GHA), Lumba (GHA), Selasi (GHA)
Ghana, needing to score at least twice to force extra time, had the most of the play in the first half, and they were rewarded when Kwane broke through to score. Then, and throughout the second half, the Algerian defense stiffened, aided by a spectacular save from their keeper, Hamoudi, in the 28th minute. Aidoo had an excellent chance in the 70th minute that was also stopped. Algeria advance by 2-1 on aggregate.

Morocco 0 Cameroon 1 (Okeke 64)
Caution: Sesay (CMR)
Not much of a contest in this one, as the two teams played to a lackluster scoreless first half. Morocco never seriously threatened, and a second half goal cemented a 4-0 win on aggregate for Cameroon, who advance.

Eritrea 1(Yonas 90+2 pen) Ivory Coast 0
Cautions: Nkatha (IVC), Mhlanga (IVC), Dabengwa (IVC)
After a first-minute shot from Yonas that was saved by the Ivory Coast keeper, there was not much action for the rest of the opening half and, all the way through the second half and into injury time, Ivory Coast kept a clean sheet. Then a late penalty kick resulted in a a goal for Eritrea, but it was too little, too late, as Ivory Coast, having taken care of business at home, advance by 2-1 on aggregate.

Senegal 3 (Mukamba 8 Nyandoro 49 Matomwo 90+2) Nigeria 1 (Ndukaku 3 pen)
Ejection: Olewechi (NGR) Cautions: Nyandoro (SEN)
This game started out as an exciting contest, with Nigeria’s Ndukaku taken down inside the box in the game’s second minute, then converting a penalty to even up the aggregate count at two goals apiece. Senegal responded quickly, with Mukamba striking back. The game was essentially decided in the 17th minute with a sending off of Nigerian defender Olewechi. After going a man down, Senegal was able to dominate the rest of the way, scoring twice to take the tie by 5-2 on aggregate.

Pairings for the semifinal matchups (winners qualify directly, losers to playoff):
Senegal-Algeria
Cameroon-Ivory Coast

Next report will focus on the second game of the group stages in the Americas.
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