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FIFA WORLD CUP 2002 - REVIEW OF MATCHES IN JULY 2000
Reviewed by PETER GODFREY
The month of July started with the farce in Zurich where, after two years representation by the interested countries, one mans alleged decision to disobey his Confederation and abstain in the voting saw the 2006 World Cup awarded to Germany ahead of the favourites South Africa.
Lets hope that FIFA have learnt from this ridiculous circus and that the decision on the venue for the 2010 World Cup will be made in a far more sensible and less expensive way.
For the second time in the CAF Preliminary Round matches, tragedy has struck. After several people died in Monrovia in April, after a crowd surge while watching Liberia's goalless draw against Chad, 13 people were killed in Harare when, after bottles were thrown onto the pitch following South Africa's second goal, police caused a stampede of spectators after they fired tear gas into the crowd. Surely this lack of crowd control and heavy handed response by the authorities brings into question the ability of the African continent to hold the Finals.
The match was subsequently abandoned with South Africa leading Zimbabwe by two goals to nil. FIFA have decided that no further matches can be played in Harare but no decision has yet been taken with regard to the match itself.
In the remaining 9 matches played in the CAF Confederation this month Liberia pulled of something of a surprise by beating Nigeria 2 - 1 and Senegal did well to hold Egypt to a goalless draw. Guinea scored the only away win beating Burkina Faso by the odd goal in five, while Ghana put five past visitors Sierra Leone.
In the Congo DR v Congo match, the home side came away with a two goals to nil win as did Zambia at home to Togo. Tunisia won by a single goal against Madagascar while Morocco beat Algeria by three goals to one. In the remaining match Cameroon safely overcame Angola by three goals to nil.
With four matches having been played in each of the five groups except Group E, Cameroon have 6 points from 2 matches in Group A, Morocco and Tunisia lead groups C and D with 4 points from 2 matches and Guinea lead Group E with 6 points from 2 matches. Group B is the closest Group with four countries each having 3 points.
There are now no more matches in this Confederation until January 2001.
The first two matches in each of the three CONCACAF Confederation groups were played this month and it did not prove to be a good month for two out of the three seeded teams or the Confederation cup holders Canada.
In the opening round of matches Canada lost at home by two goals against Trinidad and Tobago and then went to Panama where they were held to a goalless draw. Mexico, having won with the only goal in Panama, were then beaten by the same score in Trinidad and Tobago. The United States suffered the ignominy of only getting a draw in Guatemala and then going down by two goals to one in Costa Rica.
The only seeded side to show their form were Jamaica who won away in St. Vincent and then at home against Honduras.
It was a strange month for El Salvador when after suffering a 5 - 2 home defeat against Honduras they beat group minnows St. Vincent by 7 - 1.
In the remaining ties, Barbados pulled of a surprise by winning at home to Costa Rica by the odd goal in three, but then went down 2 - 0 in Guatemala.
After the first month of Semi-Final matches, Trinidad and Tobago head Group C with 6 points from 2 matches, Jamaica head Group D with 4 points from 2 matches, and Guatemala head Group E with same total. United States languish as the bottom of Group E with a single point as do Canada in Group C. With the top two in each group progressing to the Final Group, there is still plenty left for all teams to play for.
The CONMEBOL Confederation threw up a few surprises during the month. especially the defeat of Brazil in Paraguay by the odd goal in three. After much had been written predicting the downfall of the mighty Brazil, they then played Argentina at home and ended the visitors 100% record in the tournament, they had beaten Ecuador earlier in the month, by winning 3 - 1.
Paraguay followed up there win over Brazil with a goalless draw in Bolivia. Bolivia themselves recorded their first win in the competition winning by a single goal at home to Chile, who then went to Venezuela and won by 2 - 0.
It was a poor month for Venezuela as they failed to secure any points in Uruguay, who were then held to a goalless draw by Peru later in the month. Peru also suffered a home defeat by a single goal against Colombia, who added an additional point by drawing in Ecuador.
All of these results leave Argentina heading the table with fifteen points, four points ahead of Brazil and Uruguay with Paraguay a further point behind. Colombia have nine points and just four points cover the remaining five countries.
August sees only 12 matches being played, 5 in the South American Confederation and 6 in the CONCACAF Confederation.
The remaining match is in the UEFA Confederation when Andorra visit Estonia, but this match is merely a prelude to a busy September when 23 matches are played in this Confederation.