The story appears on

Page A13

October 16, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Switzerland, Slovakia secure World Cup berths

SWITZERLAND and Slovakia clinched Europe's last two automatic spots at next year's World Cup on Wednesday, while Portugal got the win it needed to keep alive its hopes of reaching the competition in South Africa.

Switzerland's 0-0 draw with 10-man Israel was enough to earn top spot in Group 2 and push former European champion Greece into second place and the playoffs for the continent's other four tournament berths.

With first place in Europe's other seven groups already settled, Slovakia won 1-0 at Poland to edge out Slovenia and qualify for the first time since gaining independence in 1993.

Portugal followed Greece and Slovenia into the playoffs after a comfortable 4-0 win over lowly Malta assuaged fears that Sweden could edge it to second place in Group 1, while Ukraine was the other team to get another shot at qualification.

Those group runners-up join Ireland, France, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Russia in Monday's draw for the two-legged playoffs that will decide the identity of the final European entrants to the 32-nation showpiece.

The playoffs start on November 14, with the return matches four days later.

Switzerland reached the World Cup for just the third time since 1966.

On a tense night in Basel, the Swiss, who were missing key players, did just enough against an Israel team reduced to 10 men in the 59th minute by Avihay Yadin's second yellow card.

Unbeaten run

Switzerland had looked unlikely to advance after losing its second match at home to lowly Luxembourg, but went on an eight-match unbeaten run to qualify with Denmark, Germany, Spain, England, Serbia, Italy and the Netherlands.

Vassilis Torosidis and Fanis Gekas scored for Greece, which finished one point behind Switzerland and three ahead of Latvia, which beat Moldova 3-2 to finish third.

But the Slovaks qualified ahead of the Czech Republic after beating Poland 1-0 through a third-minute own goal by defender Seweryn Gancarczyk. Gancarczyk.

The Czech Republic finished six points off the lead and needs a new coach after Ivan Hasek resigned following a 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland.

Manchester United winger Nani scored one goal and set up another to help Portugal beat Malta and finish one point ahead of Sweden. Simao Sabrosa, Miguel Veloso and Edinho got the other goals for Portugal, which unexpectedly struggled in qualifying with just five wins in 10 games.

Denmark finished top despite its 0-1 loss to visiting Hungary, while defender Olof Mellberg scored two first-half goals to help Sweden beat Albania 4-1.

Croatia long looked set to finish runner-up to England in Group 6 but was edged to a place in the playoffs after Ukraine eased to a 6-0 win at Andorra. Croatia won 2-1 at Kazakhstan despite the absence of three strikers and playmaker Luka Modric because of injury, but Ukraine's win, which included Andriy Shevchenko's sixth goal in qualifying, earned the Baltic nation a one-point advantage.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend