Suppose I should have started this a bit sooner, but there are a lot of interesting matches coming up over the next week. Feel free to comment on any games that interest you.
This weekend, 28-29 March 2009, we have the following games on tap:
North Korea vs United Arab Emirates in Pyongyang
Uzbekistan vs Qatar in Tashkent
Iran vs Saudi Arabia in Tehran
Japan vs Bahrain in Saitama
Asia is in their fourth and final round. The top two teams from eachof two groups of five qualify; the team with the third place team from each group playing off against each other to earn another playoff versus Oceania rep New Zealand. Australia, Japan, and the Koreas are currently in front, but Iran are just one back of North Korea going into their match in Tehran.
Final round starts with five groups of four countries. Each of the five group winners book a spot in the Finals. 2nd place gets you nothing. Group favorites are Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire, but it seems that we always get one or two upsets out of Africa. As host nation the Republic of South Africa get an automatic berth.
Rwanda vs Algeria in Kigali
Togo vs Cameroon in Accra
Kenya vs Tunisia in Nairobi
Burkina Faso vs Guinea in Ouagadougou
Morocco vs Gabon in Casablanca
Sudan vs Mali in Omdurman
Mozambique vs Nigeria in Maputo
Ghana vs Benin in Kumasi
Côte d’Ivoire vs Malawi in Abidjan
Egypt vs Zambia in Cairo
CONCACAF (North and Central America)**
El Salvador vs USA in San Salvador
Mexico vs Costa Rica in Mexico City
Trinidad and Tobago vs Honduras in Port au Spain
This is the second game of ten for each of the six teams in the Hex. The top three qualify for South Africa. The fourth place finisher plays against the fifth place team out of South America.
CONMEBOL (South America)
Uruguay vs Paraguay in Montevideo
Ecuador vs Brazil in Quito
Argentina vs Venezuela in Buenos Aires
Colombia vs Bolivia in Bogota
Peru vs Chile in Lima
Paraguya 23 points
Each team has already played 10 matches of 18. Each plays the other home and away. The South American FA hosts a really large round robin with the top four teams qualifying and a fifth in a playoff against the fourth place CONCACAF team.
Winner New Zealand awaits a playoff against the fifth place Asian country.
[Will continue with UEFA in a separate post]