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FIFA WORLD CUP 2002 - REVIEW OF MATCHES IN SEPTEMBER 2000
Reviewed by PETER GODFREY
September started off with a bang with matches being played in three different Confederations over the opening week-end of the month.
26,000 fans were on hand in Port of Spain to see Trinidad & Tobago progress into the final stages of the CONCACAF Confederation competition with a 4 - 0 win over Canada. Fellow Group C members Mexico also progressed following their 7 - 1 drubbing of visitors Panama.
In Group D, Jamaica maintained their 100% record and moved into the final stages with a 2 - 0 win over St. Vincent & Grenadines. Honduras need only one more point from their remaining two matches to go through following their 5 - 0 win against El Salvador.
Group E is not so clear cut as the other groups. The United States seem to have pulled themselves together and a single goal victory at home to Guatemala put them just two points behind group leaders Costa Rica who won at home to Barbados 3 - 0.
The bulk of the September matches were in the European Confederation where 23 matches were played and there were several surprise results.
In Group One, EURO 2000 finalists Slovenia had a nasty shock when they visited the Faroe Islands and, after being two goals up with four minutes left, let in two goals to give the home side a memorable draw. The remaining two matches in this group both ended in predictable away wins with Russia scoring the only goal in Switzerland and Yugoslavia winning by two goals to nil in Luxembourg.
After going into a two goal lead in their Group Two match, the Irish Republic let the home side back into the game and two second half goals meant that instead of a famous victory they had to settle for a single point in their match against the Netherlands. Portugal had an easy 3 - 1 win in Estonia while Cyprus, after being 2 - 1 down at the start of the second half, fought back to win by the odd goal in five in Andorra thanks to a goal in the final minute.
Denmark won by the odd goal in three in Iceland while a single goal from the penalty spot in Bulgaria was enough to give Czech Republic the points in Group Three. The only home win in this group came in Northern Ireland where the visitors Malta did well to hold the home side to just a single goal.
In Group Four Sweden travelled to Azerbaijan and won with the only goal of the match while Slovakia and Turkey both recorded 2 - 0 home wins against Macedonia FYR and Moldova respectively.
Wales visit to Belarus did not go the way they had hoped as they went down 2 - 1 and had a player sent off. Poland top Group Five following their 3 - 1 victory in Ukraine. Norway continued to disappoint their fans when they were held to a goalless draw at home to Armenia.
A single goal victory thanks to an 89th minute strike in Latvia sees Scotland top of Group Six. Croatia came away from their visit to Belgium with a point as neither side were able to crack the oppositions defences.
Following their 2 - 0 home win against Liechtenstein, Israel find themselves top of Group Seven on goal difference ahead of Spain who won 2 - 1 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Hungary and Italy shared the points in Budapest with both sides scoring two goals so Romania's single goal victory at home to Lithuania sees them top of Group Eight.
It took an own goal to give the scoreline some semblance of respectability for Germany's as they won 2 - 0 in Greece and went top of Group Seven ahead of Finland who won 2 - 1 at home to Albania.
In South America Brazil at last hit form knocking five goals in at home to Bolivia. Colombia had a good result in Chile where a single goal gave them victory.
Argentina continued their relentless journey into the Finals in Korea/Japan with a victory by the odd goal in three in Peru. The remaining two matches saw a total of seven goals. Paraguay won at home to Venezuela 3 - 0 and Uruguay score four goals against Ecuador.
Despite these results the league table stayed exactly the same as it was at the end of August.
October sees another large number of matches being played. Over the first weekend there will be 23 European, 5 South American and 6 CONCACAF matches being played. There will also be a further 21 European matches being played mid-week on the 11th October.