Yesterday was the final day of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup in South Africa. There were six bids on the line and there were some hotly contested matches. None were more controversial than the Ireland-France game that ended in overtime after Thierry Henry’s blatant handball that led to William Gallas’ winner. In fact, it was so blatant that the Prime Minister of Ireland is demanding a replay. I think that would be the right thing to do, but it’s obviously not going to happen. France is one of soccer’s cash cows; think of them as a USC or an Ohio State in football, no matter what they do wrong, the NCAA will never punish them. Anyway, France got in by the skin of their teeth.
There was also some tension between Algeria and Egypt in during their clash in Sudan. The Algerians prevailed 1-0 to qualify for their first World Cup since 1986. I don’t know the whole story and my internet isn’t working all that well so I can’t look it up, but just know that these two countries have a severe disdain for one another.
Click the link to find out who else will be vying for the championship in the world’s biggest tournament.
Here’s the list of the qualified teams with their World Rankings in parenthesis.
- From Asia (AFC):
- Korea DPR
- Korea Republic
- From Africa (CAF):
- Ivory Coast
- South Africa
- From North America (CONCACAF):
- United States
- From South America (CONMEBOL):
- From the Pacific (OFC):
- New Zealand
From Europe (UEFA):
The Cup draw takes place on December 4th, hopefully the USA won’t land in another Group of Death like they did four years ago. They’re so hot and cold that they could make a run deep into the tournament…or they could crash out without scoring a goal. Hopefully it all goes right for them.