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Hi everyone.

I noticed this blog is still getting some hits even though it hasn’t been updated for a while. When I started it, I intended to follow the whole tournament from the start of qualifying through to the final in Brazil. Unfortunately, work commitments and being involved in other things meant I didn’t have time to update it anymore and the domain at which I was hosting the flags has since expired, leaving the posts looking a bit ugly.

Nevertheless, people are still visiting every day so I hope they’re still finding the blog useful in some way. The ranking comparisons I did a couple of years ago continue to be quite popular in terms of visitors.

So as people are still reading, I’ve kept the blog up. Who knows? I may try and start the whole process again when qualifying for Russia 2018 kicks off (probably next year).

In the meantime, enjoy the World Cup, and if you fancy something a little different from the mass-market, mega-bucks FIFA brand of football, take a look at my other site, A Northern Soul Travels, which features photos taken at non-league football grounds in the north of England.

Oceania 3rd round:

Solomon Islands 2-6 New Caledonia
Tahiti 0-2 New Zealand

 
TABLEplayed-points (goal difference)
1. New Zealand 3-9 (+9)
—————————-
2. New Caledonia 3-6 (+6)
3. Solomon Islands 3-3 (-7)
4. Tahiti 3-0 (-8)

CONCACAF 3rd round:

GpA – Antigua & Barbuda 1-2 United States
GpA – Guatemala 2-1 Jamaica
GpB – El Salvador 0-1 Costa Rica
GpB – Guyana 0-5 Mexico
GpC – Canada 3-0 Cuba
GpC – Panama 0-0 Honduras

Mexico remain the only team to have confirmed their place in CONCACAF’s final round as Friday’s games set up some thrilling midweek deciders.

The USA saw a potentially disastrous day turn into a near-perfect one after Eddie Johnson’s last-minute goal gave them victory over Antigua & Barbuda and they then saw Jamaica lose 2-1 in Guatemala. Those results mean Guatemala and the US remain tied at the top of the group with identical records and both teams will progress if their game on Tuesday ends as a draw. Jamaica must beat Antigua to stand any chance of making it through and hope there is a winner in the USA-Guatemala. If that happens, it would come down to goal difference.

El Salvador missed the chance to join Mexico in the final round, losing at home to Costa Rica. Los Ticos now have the advantage in the race for 2nd place and will qualify if they beat Guyana or if El Salvador fail to win against Mexico.

In Group C, Panama also missed the chance to seal their progress but they remain in pole position after their 0-0 draw with Honduras. Canada comfortably beat Cuba and now face Honduras in a winner-takes-all clash on Tuesday. A draw will be enough for Canada to go through, while only defeat to Cuba and a Honduras win over Canada can prevent Panama from qualifying for the final round.

 
GROUP A played-points (goal difference)
1. Guatemala 5-10 (+2)
1. USA 5-10 (+2)
—————————-
3. Jamaica 5-7 (0)
4. Antigua & Barbuda 5-1 (-6)


GROUP B
1. Mexico (Q) 5-15 (+11)
2. Costa Rica 5-7 (+2)
—————————-
3. El Salvador 5-5 (-1)
4. Guyana 5-1 (-12)


GROUP C
1. Panama 5-10 (+4)
2. Canada 5-10 (+3)
—————————-
3. Honduras 5-8 (+2)
4. Cuba 5-0 (-9)

South America:

Argentina 3-0 Uruguay
Bolivia 1-1 Peru
Colombia 2-0 Paraguay
Ecuador 3-1 Chile

The South American campaign reached its halfway stage and the table looks to be taking shape with no movement in positions after the ninth match day.

The top three have daylight over the rest after all three won on Friday.

Argentina saw off Uruguay 3-0, with Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero both on the scoresheet. Argentina remain a point clear at the top while Uruguay remain in the top 4 but they will be very worried by a run of form that has only seen them win one game in 2012.

Colombia are 2nd on goal difference after beating Paraguay, who remain rooted to the foot of the table. Falcao, who has been instrumental in Colombia’s climb up the table scored both goals.

Ecuador are 3rd after beating nine-man Chile 3-1. Chile led through an own goal but Felipe Caicedo levelled before the break. Red cards seemed to make the difference in the second half with Ecuador twice scoring just after Chile had a man sent off.

 
TABLE played-points (goal difference)
1. Argentina 8-17 (+12)
2. Colombia 8-16 (+8)
3. Ecuador 8-16 (+3)
4. Uruguay 8-12 (+1)
——————————
5. Chile 8-12 (-3)
——————————
6. Venezeula 8-11 (-1)
7. Peru 8-8 (-4)
8. Bolivia 8-5 (-5)
9. Paraguay 8-4 (-11)

Europe:

GpA –   Macedonia 1-2 Croatia
GpA – Serbia 0-3 Belgium
GpA – Wales 2-1 Scotland
GpB – Armenia 1-3 Italy
GpB – Bulgaria 1-1 Denmark
GpB – Czech Republic 3-1 Malta
GpC – Faroe Islands 1-2 Sweden
GpC – Ireland 1-6 Germany
GpC – Kazakhstan 0-0 Austria
GpD – Estonia 0-1 Hungary
GpD – Netherlands 3-0 Andorra
GpD – Turkey 0-1 Romania
GpE – Albania 1-2 Iceland
GpE – Slovenia 2-1 Cyprus
GpE – Switzerland 1-1 Norway
GpF – Luxembourg 0-6 Israel
GpF – Russia 1-0 Portugal
GpG – Greece 0-0 Bosnia-Herzegovina
GpG – Liechtenstein 0-2 Lithuania
GpG – Slovakia 2-1 Latvia
GpH – England 5-0 San Marino
GpH – Moldova 0-0 Ukraine
GpI – Belarus 0-4 Spain
GpI – Finland 1-1 Georgia

Belgium’s team of talented young stars notched up an impressive 3-0 win in Serbia to stay top of Group A. Christian Benteke gave them the lead on 34 minutes, with second half goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Kevin Mirallas completing the victory.  Croatia remain level on points with Belgium after edging out Macedonia, while Gareth Bale’s late double saw Wales come from behind to beat Scotland and earn their first win under manager Chris Coleman.

In Group B, Italy did enough to see off Armenia and remain top. Bulgaria stay 2nd after drawing with Denmark, while the Czech Republic picked up their first win of the campaign by beating Malta.

Group C saw Germany sweep Ireland aside in Dublin, running out 6-1 winners. Two goals from Marco Reus put Germany 2-0 up at the break but it was three goals in a six-minute spell in the second half that crushed Irish hopes. Sweden made it two wins out of two but they had to come from behind to beat the Faroe Islands. Ireland stay 3rd after Austria could only draw 0-0 in Kazakhstan.

In Group D, the Netherlands and Romania both still have 100% records after three games. The Dutch strolled to a 3-0 win over Andorra, while Romania picked up a valuable three points, winning 1-0 in Turkey. Hungary kept the pressure on by beating Estonia 1-0.

Group E looks like being the most wide open of all the European groups, with just four points separating the six teams, everyone having won at least one game and only leaders Switzerland unbeaten. The Swiss lost their 100% record after Norway’s Brede Hangeland cancelled out Mario Gavranovic’s goal two minutes earlier. Iceland are 2nd after a hard-fought win in Albania and Slovenia picked up their first points by beating Cyprus, but remain bottom of the group.

The most eagerly-anticipated game of the day was arguably Russia versus Portugal in Group F, as the Euro 2012 semi-finalists travelled to Moscow to face Fabio Capello’s side. And it was the Russians who took the points, thanks to Alexander Kherzakov’s early strike. Russia keep their 100% record and take an early advantage in the group over Portugal, who tend to be slow starters in qualifying campaigns. Also in Group F, Israel earned their first win of the competition, putting six past Luxembourg.

Group G looks like a three-horse race between Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovakia. Greece and Bosnia shared a goalless draw in Piraeus, which allowed Slovakia to move level on points with them after beating Latvia.

In Group H, England enjoyed an easy 5-0 victory over San Marino but the most significant result came in Chisinau, where Moldova held Ukraine to a 0-0 draw.

World champions Spain strolled to a 4-0 victory in Belarus ahead of Tuesday’s massive clash with arch-rivals France.

 
GROUP A played-points (goal difference)
1. Belgium 3-7 (+6)
2. Croatia 3-7 (+2)
3. Serbia 3-4 (+2)
4. Wales 3-3 (-6)
5. Scotland 3-2 (-1)
6. Macedonia 3-1 (-2)


GROUP B
1. Italy 3-7 (+4)
2. Bulgaria 3-5 (+1)
3. Czech Republic 2-4 (+2)
4. Armenia 3-3 (-2)
5. Denmark 2-2 (0)
6. Malta 3-0 (-5)


GROUP C
1. Germany 3-9 (+9)
2. Sweden 2-6 (+3)
3. Ireland 2-3 (-4)
4. Austria 2-1 (-1)
5. Kazakhstan 3-1 (-3)
6. Faroe Islands 2-0 (-4)


GROUP D
1. Netherlands 3-9 (+8)
2. Romania 3-9 (+7)
3. Hungary 3-6 (+3)
4. Turkey 3-3 (0)
5. Estonia 3-0 (-6)
6. Andorra 3-0 (-12)


GROUP E
1. Switzerland 3-7 (+4)
2. Iceland 3-6 (+2)
3. Norway 3-4 (-1)
4. Albania 3-3 (-1)
5. Cyprus 3-3 (-2)
6. Slovenia 3-3 (-2)


GROUP F
1. Russia 3-9 (+7)
2. Portugal 3-6 (+3)
3. Israel 3-4 (+2)
4. Northern Ireland 2-1 (-2)
5. Azerbaijan 2-1 (-3)
6. Luxembourg 3-1 (-7)


GROUP G
1. Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-7 (+10)
2. Slovakia 3-7 (+3)
3. Greece 3-7 (+3)
4. Lithuania 3-4 (0)
5. Latvia 3-0 (-5)
6. Liechtenstein 3-0 (-11)


GROUP H
1. England 3-7 (+10)
2. Montenegro 2-4 (+6)
3. Poland 2-4 (+2)
4. Ukraine 2-2 (0)
5. Moldova 3-1 (-7)
5. San Marino 2-0 (-11)


GROUP I
1. Spain 2-6 (+5)
2. France 2-6 (+3)
3. Georgia 3-4 (0)
4. Finland 2-1 (-1)
5. Belarus 3-0 (-7)

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