The four play-off games in the European qualification zone were all tight affairs with all left to play for in the second legs. France edged Ireland 1-0 at Croke Park in Dublin with a second half Nicolas Anelka goal.

 

In Lisbon, a Bruno Alves strike gives the Portuguese a slight advantage ahead of the return leg in Sarajevo.

 

There were no goals in Athens as Greece and Ukraine played out a cagey draw. One goal will be enough for either team in Kyev. Look for this one to go to penalties.

 

Russia should have enough quality to avoid defeat Slovenia in Maribor after the hosts won 2-1 on artificial turf in Moscow. Captain Andrey Arshavin pulled the strings for the Russians and a brace by Everton winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov either side of the Judi Online Qq break looked to have secured Guus Hiddink’s team’s passage. A late goal from substitute Nejc Pecnik gives the Slovenians hope of reaching their second World Cup finals after an appearance at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan.

 

In the African zone, Cameroon have qualified for South Africa after an impressive 2-0 win away to Morocco in Fez. Goals from Achille Webo and Inter’s Samuel Eto’o mean Paul Le Guen’s team now have a record six World Cup appearances – the highest by any African team.

 

The Indomitable Lions will be joined by rivals Nigeria, who will be making their fourth appearance in the finals. Nigeria held on for a 3-2 win in Nairobi. A brace from ex-Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins and a strike from Everton’s Yakubu Aiyegbeni were enough to defeat the Kenyans, who had taken the lead with a goal by Dennis Oliech and equalized through Allan Wetende.

 

This result added to Tunisia’s 1-0 loss to Mozambique in Maputo means the Super Eagles progress.

 

In an extraordinary game in Cairo, an injury time goal by substitute Emad Moteab means the two North African rivals finished level on points and goal difference in Group C and must play off in Khartoum in Sudan on Wednesday. The build up to the match was marred by an attack on the Algerian team bus by Eqyptian hooligans.

 

In a busy night of international friendlies, England lost 1-0 to Brazil in Doha, Spain beat Argentina 2-1 in a game of seven yellow cards, six of them for Argentina and Italy and the Netherlands drew 0-0 in Pescara.

 

New Zealand Qualify for WC2010

 

Before the largest crowd in New Zealand football history, New Zealand beat Bahrain 1-0 to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, Over 35,000 fans packed into Wellington’s Westpac Stadium to see the All Whites reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982. Plymouth Argyle striker Rory Fallon headed the decisive goal just before half time and Wellington Phoenix keeper Mark Paston saved a second half penalty five minutes after the restart from Sayed Mohamed Adnan.

 

New Zealand skipper, Blackburn’s Ryan Nelson praised the atmosphere created in the stadium by the fans, who roared their team to victory.

 

 

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