World Cup Qualifying

Algeria advance past Egypt, Slovenia upset Russia as World Cup field set

Algeria (Reuters)


After three years of World Cup qualifying, the 32-team tournament field is set for next summer. Attention now turns to the December 4 draw in Cape Town, when the 32 nation field will learn their fate.

It was a hectic day across several continents as the final six spots were sewn up. Algeria led off the day by making their first World Cup berth since 1986, while Slovenia knocked off heavily-favored Russia, and France took advantage of a blown call to qualify. Rounding out the rest of the field were Portugal, Greece and Uruguay.

High drama unfolded in Sudan as a one-game playoff took place between Algeria and Egypt. With 15,000 guards surrounding the field and in the stands to prevent fighting between the two groups of supporters, Algeria grabbed a 1-0 lead through Antar Yahia in the 39th minute. The Algerian channeled his inner Van Basten, launching a superb volley past Egyptian keeper Essam El Hadari. Algeria managed to keep the Pharoahs at bay for the rest of the match, punching their ticket.

Joining them in extremely controversial fashion were the French. Trailing Ireland 1-0 after a Robbie Keane goal in the first half, prospects weren't looking good for Les Bleus. But Thierry Henry controlled a cross with his left hand, and found William Gallas unmarked for the deciding tally in extra time. Despite an army of protest from the Irish, the goal stood France held on for the 2-1 win.

The other concluding legs failed to bring the same controversy. Russia, favored by most to advance past Slovenia, were undone by a single Slovenia goal — just the result the hosts needed after grabbing a vital away goal in the first leg. Zlatko Dedic's 44th minute finish stood up as the difference. Russia had two men sent off in the process, as Guus Hiddink failed to lead his side to the win. Slovenia advanced on the 2-2 aggregate thanks to the goal in Moscow.

Over in Donetsk, Greece and Ukraine could only manage one goal throughout 180 minutes of play. It was a vital goal at that — Dimitris Salpigidis collecting a through ball from Giorgos Samaras, and slotting past Andrei Pyatov. The away goal gave Greece the upper hand, though Ukraine weren't without goal-scoring chances. However, the Greek defense held fast, securing the 1-0 win.

Bosnia and Herzegovina had it all to do as Portugal visited Zenica holind a 1-0 lead. Bundelisga strikers Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic couldn't dig out of the deficit, and when Raul Meireles scored for Portugal in the 55th minute, the tie was all but settled. Dzeko came close for the hosts, but at that point three goals were needed — and none came, as Portugal emerged with the 2-0 win.

In the final act of the day, Costa Rica came to Montevideo with a determination to turn around the two-legged series, down 1-0. The second leg encounter was a tense one, with plenty of action in what was a back-and-forth match. In the 70th minute, Sebastian Abreu scored what turned out to be the decisive goal — especially since Walter Centeno score for Costa Rica four minutes later. After eight minutes of stoppage time due to a sideline scrum, Uruguay was confirmed as the 32nd and final nation, 2-1 winners on the aggregate.


What did you think of the final matchday? Surprised to see some of the results? Excited that the field is set?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Jameson

    costa rica involved in some kind of scrum? no WAY! that team is pure class, we must be mistaken! ;)


  • DC Josh

    Today’s matches are the reason why I love soccer and passionately follow it. The pitch is a stage and the players are acting out their emotions.

    Counting down the days until the draw.


  • SBGarrett

    I will be rooting against France and this confirms why I’ve never cared for Henry (but never could quite explain this irrational dislike)

    Go 30 other nations when you’re not playing against the Nats!


  • Ted in MN

    As an American, I already didn’t have the greatest amount of love for France (Zinedine Zidumb) going into this (doesn’t help that they were facing Ireland who I would support anyway), but what Henry did was the soccer equivelant of knocking the golf ball out of the rough when no one is looking. Except everyone was looking, not including one idiotic Swede. Oh well thus is life. Hopefully I didn’t come off to xenophobic here.


  • westcoaster

    Slovenia, Greece, Portugal and France advance. I’m pretty sure that’s the exact opposite of what the SBI fan voting predicted would happen last week. Well, at least this game’s not predictable.


  • Tim From Texas

    lol i’ve never seen a comment removed on this website. im curious what dman said. anyone care to oomment?

    (SBI-It wasn’t anything that bad, I’m just very anti-threadjacking, and since Donovan doing the Stanky Leg a WEEK ago has ZERO to do with today’s World Cup qualifiers, I deleted the comments. Dman kept with it though, and got one past me. Hopefully he’ll get the hint next time and not thread-jack (He won’t have to in the future when SBI launches its new reader community section.)


  • dman

    odd all I said was on an unrelated note Landon Donovan did the stanky legg in the galaxy game last week….didn’t see it posted anywhere

    posted a pic, don’t know if we’re allowed links or not.


  • Erik

    Don’t worry, France will get knocked out in the group stage. Their coach is a fraud just as the French team is.


  • dman

    My apologizes Ives I just saw it this afternoon and didn’t know where else to really put it.

    Reader community section sounds cool…looking forward to it


  • roysterer

    I really really hope the US doesn’t get drawn with Greece. There is just no way in hell they can score against that defense.


  • goquakes

    I’m so sick of this crap. When will FIFA get with the 21st century and get some video replay allowed. Ireland were cheated out of at least penalty kicks with france.


  • Shapiro


    Now that we know the 32 nations going to SA, who do you think will be the seeded teams?

    My list:








    South Africa


  • Parker

    While Im not happy that france won in that manner, a goal is a goal. I know from playing soccer that when one is in the box, one is willing to do whatever it takes to score. That is why Henry is a world class striker.


  • Shapiro

    In fact,

    This is the drawing pots as I see them:









    South Africa

    Pot2 (And South Africa cannot be drawn with another African nation)




    Ivory Coast


















    New Zealand


    South Korea

    North Korea


    The 3 CONCACAF teams could be swapped with the remaining 3 CONMEBOL teams…


  • DMBsucksBalls

    I have had posts just deleted from the site, at least you got a note as to why.

    (SBI-Your posts have been deleted because your author name and your post content are and have been childish and offensive. I’ll give you one chance to change your author name. Do so and you should be fine. Don’t and I think you’ll have trouble posting going forward.)


  • William the Terror

    Those are also my 8 projected seeds. That would mean that there are going to be 5 groups with 2 UEFA teams in each group, which would leave us to get drawn into a group that looks something like this:

    Netherlands, Slovenia, USA and North Korea


    Argentina, Switzerland, USA, Japan

    Best scenario is to get drawn into the South African group.


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    “Hi, Gus Hiddink? this is Sunil Gulati”

    How long before Mssr. Gus’s phone rings?


  • Mike

    Uhhh…not until after the World Cup. Bob’s here until then. But if Hiddink is still unemployed…the phone should ring right after the final whistle blows on the US in SA.


  • Josh

    It would have been a shame had France not qualified, but now it’s even more of a shame that they did. Luckily for fans of fair play, their coach is “Crazy” Ray Domenech–and this time he doesn’t have Zidane to bail him out–so they’re headed for another first-round exit.


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