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FIFA WORLD CUP 2002 - REVIEW OF MATCHES IN APRIL 2000
Reviewed by PETER GODFREY
Over 70 matches were played in the Preliminary Round during April with 50 of these being the first round of the African (CAF) Confederation.
The two legged first round saw the unseeded teams at home to the seeded CAF teams and six unseeded teams came away with first leg victories.
The tiny Sao Tome e Principe, ranked 190 by FIFA, caused one of the biggest surprises in their first ever World Cup when they won 20 against Sierra Leone, but a 40 defeat in the return leg saw them go out. A 21 home win by Ethiopia was not enough to see them through as they went down by 30 to Burkina Faso in Ougadougou.
In total four of the unseeded teams went through to the second round Group matches.
Libya won their first leg by 30 and a single away goal in the return 31 defeat saw them progress 4-3 on aggregate. Gabon could only manage a single goal win in the second leg so went out against Madagascar by a 21 aggregate.
After winning 10 at home, Sudan lost the return against Mozambique by 21 but went through on the away goals rule.
After losing by 20 in Malawi, crowd trouble in Nairobi, saw the match being abandoned after 88 minutes with the score 00 and Kenya being eliminated from the competition.
In Annaba 80,000 people, the largest preliminary round crowd so far, saw Algeria progress by beating visitors Cape Verde Islands by 2-0. A crowd of 70,000 in Kinshasa watched the 91 home win by Congo DR against Djibouti which was the highest ever score in a CAF World Cup preliminary round tie, beating the 7-1 victory by Egypt over Namibia in 1996 and the 6-0 win by Cote dIvoire against Botswana in 1992.
Tragedy struck in the Samuel K Doe stadium in Monrovia, when several people died after a crowd surge while watching Liberias goalless draw against Chad.
The second round draw, splitting the remaining 25 teams into 5 groups, was made on 28th April.
The second Round of the CONCACAF Confederation matches also took place in April with Haiti scoring 9 goals in the first leg against Bahamas and finally going through by an aggregate of 13-0. In the Pool 3 Final they will now meet Trinidad and Tobago who overcame Dominican Republic by a total of 4-0.
In Pool 1 a single goal home win was enough to see Cuba through while Barbados beat Aruba 31 away and 4-0 at home.
After scoring 28 goals between them in the 1st round, an aggregate score of 3-1 was enough to see St. Vincent and Grenadines progress at the expense of St. Kitts and Nevis Islands.
Following a goalless first match in Antigua, a 1-1 draw in Bermuda saw the away side go through to the Pool 2 Final on the away goals rule.
All of the Caribbean Pool Finals take place during May.
In the Central American Zone matches, Belize need a miracle to stay in the competition following their 3-1 home defeat by El Salvador and Nicaragua went out after losing at home by a single goal to Honduras.
The month finished with the second series of South American (CONMEBOL) matches taking place.
Not without good reason, Colombia complained at having to play their match at high altitude under the mid-day sun but managed to come away from Bolivia with a point. The match was halted for 10 minutes while one of the referees assistants received treatment after being struck with by an object thrown from the crowd. One player from each side was also sent off.
Uruguay also found themselves reduced to ten men in their match in Asuncion and lost by a single goal to the home side Paraguay An ill tempered match in Santiago in front of 55,000 spectators ended in a one all draw between Chile and Peru and, much to the surprise of some commentators, 22 players still on the pitch.
Ecuador gave Brazil a shock by taking the lead in Sao Paulo but eventually went down by 3-2 with two of the Brazilian goals coming from Rivaldo.
Argentina became the only side with a 100% record after recording their second 4-0 victory this time away to Venezuela who are now the only side in the Confederation without a point.
There are only 10 matches so far scheduled for May and all of those are in the CONCACAF Confederation with the Caribbean Teams playing for their Pool Finals and the final matches in the Central American Groups being played.