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Last 6 qualifiers secure places for World Cup 2010

By Julian Worker     Nov 19, 2009 in Sports
The last six FIFA World Cup qualifiers were decided on a big day of soccer.
Four qualifiers came via the play-offs from the European Qualifying section of the World Cup.
Algeria qualified after beating Egypt and Uruguay defeated Costa Rica.
November 18th, 2009 saw the final four European places filled for the FIFA World Cup tournament to be held in South Africa in 2010.
The European qualifying groups comprised eight groups of six countries and one group of five countries. After the European Qualifying groups had finished the top team in each of the qualifying groups qualified for South Africa.
The second placed teams in each of the groups containing six teams were then split into two categories. There were four seeded teams Greece, France, Portugal, and Russia and four unseeded teams Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Slovenia.
A draw was made and each seeded team was drawn against an unseeded team. The games were Greece v Ukraine, Russia v Slovenia, Republic of Ireland v France, and Bosnia Herzegovina v Portugal. Each team played the other home and away in a two-legged play-off.
The second legs of the playoffs were held on November 18th and the results more or less went according to plan, but there was one surprise and a lot of controversy in another game.
Greece were the first country to qualify, beating Ukraine 1-0 in the Ukraine after the first leg in Greece finished 0-0. Although Greece were the seeded team in this fixture, after the first leg Ukraine were the slight favourites for the World Cup place as in qualifying they hadn't lost at home and indeed inflicted England's only defeat in the qualifying group in their match in Kiev.
Portugal defeated Bosnia Herzegovina 1-0 in each leg, comfortably qualifying for the World Cup 2010.
There was a big surprise in Maribor, where Slovenia beat the seeded Russians 1-0 to go through on the away goals rule, having lost 2-1 on Saturday in Russia, where the Slovenian goal was scored in the last minute. Russia finished the second leg with nine men and their indiscipline cost them dear.
The big controversy was in Paris where the Republic of Ireland were seeking to resurrect their chances after losing 1-0 to a Nicolas Anelka goal in Dublin. Robbie Keane brought the aggregate scores level when he scored in the 33rd minute. No more goals were scored during normal time, so the game went into extra time. In the 104th minute William Gallas the Arsenal defender scored to put France ahead, but Ireland's players were incensed because Thierry Henry handled the ball not once but twice in the build-up to the goal. The officials missed this blatant cheating and the Republic of Ireland were out.
Algeria played Egypt in the Sudan to decide who would be Africa's last representative in South Africa. The teams were inseparable after the end of qualifying, so this one-off match was played at a neutral venue. These two countries are bitter rivals and Sudan deployed 15,000 police for the occasion. Inside the stadium. The two teams only played on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt winning 2-0. However, on this occasion a single goal volleyed home five minutes before half-time by centre-half Antar Yahia secured the victory for Algeria.
The 32nd and final qualifying spot was secured by Uruguay who drew with Costa Rica 1-1 in Montevideo to secure a 2-1 victory over the two legs.
More about Fifa world cup, World cup qualifiers, France, Portugal, Greece
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