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Three more teams qualify for World Cup, 12 teams vie for final six spots

NigeriaWins (Getty Images) 

Nigeria, Cameroon and New Zealand all qualified for the 2010 World Cup last weekend with key victories, leaving just six spots remaining as we head into the last day of qualifying for next summer's World Cup.

Here are the 26 teams that have already qualified for the 2010 World Cup:

Brazil, Spain, England, Argentina, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Cote d’Ivoire, USA, Mexico, Denmark, Paraguay, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Ghana,  Chile, Serbia, Switzerland, Honduras, Slovakia and North Korea, South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon and New Zealand

There are 12 teams vying for the remaining six spots. Here is a rundown of the six remaining match-ups, which will all be decided on Wednesday:

PORTUGAL vs. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Portugal won the first leg at home, 1-0, and will have a decided edge in the second leg knowing that a goal scorered on the road would make things decidedly tougher for the Bosnians. The series isn't over though, not with the firepower Bosnia boasts in attack.

FRANCE vs. IRELAND

Who knew there could be so much bad blood between the Irish and French? France's 1-0 win in Ireland in the first leg of their playoff series was a major blow to Ireland, but Giovanni Trappatoni's men just might be motivated enough to pull the road upset after French midfielder Lassana Diarra told Irish players the series was already over.

RUSSIA vs. SLOVENIA

Guus Hiddink's men wee supposed to steam-roll Slovenia, but a late away goal in Russia during a 2-1 first-leg loss has Slovenia thinking upset. It will be difficult to bet against Hiddink though. With Andrei Arshavin and Yuri Zhirkov playing at such a high level, look for the Russians to close this one out.

UKRAINE vs. GREECE

The Greeks held serve at home in a scoreless first-leg draw, but holding off the Ukrainians on the road will be a much tougher task. Can Andriy Shevchenko summon some more magic to earn one final trip to the World Cup?

EGYPT vs. ALGERIA

After finishing tied in their African World Cup qualifying group, Egypt and Algeria will face off in a one-game playoff in Sudan on Wednesday. The Egyptians will enter the match with some momentum after its 2-0 victory against Algeria on Saturday, but the well-publicized attack of the Algerian team bus before that match could provide even more motivation for the underdog Algerians.

URUGUAY vs. COSTA RICA

The Uruguayans went to Estadio Saprissa and did what only Mexico has been able to do in years, win a game as visitor. Now the South Americans are in complete control heading back to Montevideo. Costa Rica has been awful in road qualifiers this cycle and will be hard-pressed to muster the type of performance it will need to overtime the 1-0 first-leg defeat.

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What did you think of Cameroon, Nigeria and New Zealand qualifying? Who do you see winning Wednesday's decisive matches? Think Ireland can pull the upset? Rooting for Costa Rica to turn it around? Can you see either Russia or Portugal being knocked off?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Why the surprise?

    The differences between the 5th in South America and the 4th in CONCACAF are very clear. Even playing with 4 or 5 subs.

    Colombia, Ecuador, and possibly Venezuela would’ve won in Saprissa.

    Reply
  2. Because Cote d’Ivoire has specifically said they want their name to be that even in English (I recently did a paper about this country). It’s like how Ireland is Eire in Irish Gaelic but the government has stated it is proper to call it Ireland in English. Just some weird technicality. I’ve always wondered why the name Germany came to be in English, so I’m no help there

    Reply
  3. Are you joking? Just because your team can’t take care of business at home don’t go bashing other teams… Ukraine beat a red-hot England and finished ahead of Croatia in the group, your team finished ahead of Bulgaria and Cyprus, congratulations… now go cry in your Guinness

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  4. lol, yes, they do. When you boast a strike squad of Chris Killen, Shane Smeltz, Chris Wood and Rory Fallon, the team would have no problem scoring goals. Actually their probably taylor made to be a good MLS with their style of play.

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  5. Why is it the we call the Ivory Coast Cote d’Ivoire, but we don’t call Spain Espana or Germany Deutschland?

    (SBI-Lou, that wasn’t my idea, that’s the list FIFA put out. I agree with you in wondering the same thing.)

    Reply
  6. Ireland, Ukraine, Bosnia, Slovenia, Uruguay.

    No matter who we are drawn in the world cup, we have to play our hardest and see what happens. The US typically plays up or down to the level of their competition. I’d rather see them play three better teams than three worst teams and have false hope. I have faith in them to get out of their group no matter who they are drawn.

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  7. you both missed my point completely so I will explain. This particular article has nothing to do with team USA. But most of the comments here are about team USA. Its typical of this site.

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  8. Does anyone remeber antonio de nigris? Apparently he passed away of a heart attack in greece. He was the long haired mexican forward who played int the 2007 friendly against US which ended up 2 -2

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  9. Yep, and I’ve been saying this all along. But props for the specific numbers.

    This US team has faced most of the best teams in the world already, including 3 matches against Brazil and 2 against Spain. The US could be going into the World Cup as one of the most battle-tested teams in the world, despite playing in the 4th best confederation.

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  10. It’s sad to think that either Greece or Ukraine will make it to the World Cup. Neither one of them deserves to be there in my opinion. Ireland should have played one of those teams. Also, I can’t believe how bad Tunisia choked to blow their World Cup qualification…

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  11. We’ve played (counting future netherlands and denmark F) 21 games against 13 of the qualified teams already. We also played Nigeria, Netherlands, and Japan in the U-23 Olympics. Possibly two more if Costa Rica and Egypt gain entrance.

    We have played the most euro group winners (ENG, SWI, ITA, NET, SPA, DEN, SLO)

    2 gold cups, 1 copa america, 1 confederations cup, 1 olympic… I’d say this might be the most prepared squad ever.

    Reply
  12. Uruguay is a great team, hard to expect CR to beat them, even at home, they were minutes from knocking Argentina to the playoff, people were saying before it was better for the US group position for CR to lose, US soccer fans have an inferiority complex and always find the bad in everything, if our boys show up to play and we get some luck we can get out of any group (see Confed Cup)

    Reply
  13. exactly. If CR loses, it doesn’t bode well for CONCACAF but it may also affect how FIFA decides the pots for the draw. It may put the US in a tougher group as a result.

    Reply
  14. If New Zealand were in the MLS. They would not make the playoffs.

    Not meaning to knock NZ, I just think the gap in class in the WC is noteworthy.

    Reply

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