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First four teams qualify for finals
by Paul Kennedy, June 8th, 2009 7AM

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[WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING] The Netherlands, Australia, Japan and South Korea became the first teams to join host South Africa at next year's World Cup finals when they clinched berths on Saturday. South Korea returns to the seventh straight time, the Netherlands qualified for the finals for the sixth straight time, and Japan made it four in a row. Australia was playing in Asian qualifying for the first time. For a look at all the qualifying action in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa ...

EUROPE. It took the Netherlands only six games to become the first European team to clinch a berth in the World Cup finals when it beat Iceland, 2-1, in Reykjavik.

Goals from midfielders Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel in the first 15 minutes put the Oranje in command, sending them to the World Cup for the sixth straight time.

England also earned its sixth win in six games with a 4-0 win at Kazakhstan. David Beckham came on as a substitute for England.

Group leaders Denmark and Serbia both earned key wins. In Group 1, Denmark all but eliminated Sweden with a 1-0 win in Stockholm -- its first win over the Swedes in 13 years. Serbia opened up a five-point lead (with one more game played) in Group 7 thanks to its 1-0 victory over Austria.

In Group 3, Slovakia took over first place ahead of idle Northern Ireland thanks to its 7-0 victory over San Marino.

Group 1
Sweden 0 Denmark 1 (Kahlenberg 22).
Albania 1 (Bogdani 29) Portugal 2 (Hugo Almeida 27, Bruno Alves 90+3).
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Denmark 6 5 1 0 13 2 16
Hungary 6 4 1 1 8 2 13
Portugal 6 2 3 1 8 4 9
Sweden 5 1 3 1 2 2 6
Albania 8 1 3 4 4 8 6
Malta 7 0 1 6 0 17 1

Group 3
Slovakia 7 (Cech 3, 32, Pekarik 12, Stoch 35, Kozak 42, Jakubko 63, Hanzel 68) San Marino 0
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Slovakia 6 5 0 1 17 6 15
Northern Ireland 7 4 1 2 12 6 13
Poland 6 3 1 2 18 7 10
Czech Republic 6 2 2 2 6 4 8
Slovenia 6 2 2 2 5 4 8
San Marino 7 0 0 7 1 32 0

Group 4
Azerbaijan 0 Wales 1 (Edwards 42)
Finland 2 (Forssell 33, J. Johansson 71) Liechtenstein 1 (Frick 13)
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Germany 6 5 1 0 18 4 16
Russia 5 4 0 1 9 3 12
Finland 5 3 1 1 8 7 10
Wales 7 3 0 4 5 7 9
Azerbaijan 5 0 1 4 0 5 1
Liechtenstein 6 0 1 5 1 15 1

Group 6
Kazakhstan 0 England 4 (Barry 40, Heskey 45+1, Rooney 72, Lampard 77-pen)
Belarus 5 (Blizniuk 2, 75, Kalachou 44, Kornilenko 50, 65) Andorra 1 (Lima 90+3-pen)
Croatia 2 (Petric 2, Modric 68) Ukraine 2 (Shevchenko 13, Gai 54)
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
England 6 6 0 0 20 4 18
Croatia 6 3 2 1 12 6 11
Belarus 5 3 0 2 14 7 9
Ukraine 5 2 2 1 7 5 8
Kazakhstan 6 1 0 5 6 20 3
Andorra 6 0 0 6 2 19 0

Group 7
Lithuania 0 Romania 1 (Marica 38)
Serbia 1 (Milijac 7-pen) Austria 0
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Serbia 6 5 0 1 13 5 15
France 5 3 1 1 7 6 10
Lithuania 7 3 0 4 6 6 9
Austria 6 2 1 3 7 9 7
Romania 6 2 1 3 7 10 7
Faroe Islands 4 0 1 3 1 5 1

Group 8
Cyprus 2 (Konstantinou 13, Michael 45-pen) Montenegro 2 (Damjanovic 65, 77)
Bulgaria 1 (Telkiyski 29) Ireland 1 (Dunne 24)
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Italy 6 4 2 0 9 3 14
Ireland 7 3 4 0 8 5 13
Bulgaria 6 1 5 0 6 4 8
Cyprus 6 1 2 3 6 9 5
Montenegro 6 0 4 2 5 8 4
Georgia 7 0 3 4 4 9 3

Group 9
Macedonia 0 Norway 0
Iceland 1 (K. Sigurdsson 88) Netherlands 2 (De Jong 9, Van Bommel 16)
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Netherlands 6 6 0 0 14 2 18
Scotland 5 2 1 2 4 6 7
Iceland 6 1 1 4 6 10 4
Macedonia 5 1 1 3 2 7 4
Norway 4 0 3 1 2 3 3

ASIA. Australia, Japan and South Korea will all be returning to the World Cup finals after clinching berths at South Africa 2010 on Saturday.

The only automatic berth still up for grabs is the second spot in Group B, where North Korea blew a chance to distance itself from Saudi Arabia and Iran when it tied Iran, 0-0, at home.

The game was the first qualifier for longtime U.S. resident Afshin Qotbi, who was recalled to coach Iran. He insisted the Iranians will qualify for the World Cup even though they are four points behind North Korea and three behind Saudi Arabia.

Group A
Qatar 0 Australia 0
Uzbekistan 0 Japan 1 (Okazaki 9)
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Japan 6 4 2 0 9 3 14
Australia 6 4 2 0 8 0 14
Bahrain 6 2 1 3 5 6 7
Qatar 7 1 2 4 4 13 5
Uzbekistan 7 1 1 5 5 8 4

Group B
North Korea 0 Iran 0
United Arab Emirates 0 South Korea 2 (Park Chu-Young 5, Ki Sung-Yeung 37)
Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
South Korea 6 4 2 0 11 3 14
North Korea 7 3 2 2 7 5 11
Saudi Arabia 6 3 1 2 8 8 10
Iran 6 1 4 1 6 6 7
UAE 7 0 1 6 6 16 1

SOUTH AMERICA. Brazil, the USA's second opponent at the Confederations Cup, moved into a tie for first place with Paraguay in the South American qualifying competition thanks to its 4-0 win at Uruguay and Paraguay's 2-0 loss to visiting Chile.

Argentina escaped with a narrow 1-0 victory over Colombia that moved it five points ahead of fifth-place Uruguay.

The top four teams in the South American competition earn berths at the 2010 World Cup. The fifth-place team faces Concacaf's fourth-place team in a playoff.

South America
Argentina 1 (Diaz 55) Colombia 0.
Bolivia 0 Venezuela 1 (Rivero 32).
Paraguay 0 Chile 2 (Fernandez 12, Suazo 50).
Uruguay 0 Brazil 4 (Alves 11, Juan 35, Fabiano 52, Kaka 74-pen)
Peru 1 (Vargas 53) Ecuador 2 (Montero 37, Tenorio 58).

Standings:
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Brazil 13 6 6 1 23 5 24
Paraguay 13 7 3 3 19 11 24
Chile 13 7 2 4 19 14 23
Argentina 13 6 4 3 19 13 22
Uruguay 13 4 5 4 21 14 17
Venezuela 13 5 1 7 15 22 16
Ecuador 12 3 5 4 14 19 14
Colombia 13 3 5 5 6 11 14
Bolivia 13 3 3 7 19 26 12
Peru 12 1 4 7 6 26 7

AFRICA. Egypt, which will face the USA at the Confederations Cup, suffered a 3-1 loss to Algeria on Day 2 of African qualifying.

Gabon, Tunisia and Ghana opened up leads with their second straight wins, while Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso are tied for first place in Group E with six points.

Chicago Fire defender Bakary Soumare started for Mali in its 2-0 loss to Ghana.

Group A
Gabon 3 (Bruno Ecuele 11, Roguy Meye 67, Moise Brou 81) Togo 0
Cameroon 0 Morocco 0.
Standings: Gabon 6 points; Togo 3; Morocco 1, Cameroon 1.

Group B

Tunisia 2 (Yahia 21-pen, Darragi 90+1) Mozambique 0
Nigeria 3 (Uche 2, Nsofor 72-pen, 76) Kenya 0
Standings: Tunisia 6 points; Nigeria 4; Mozambique 1; Kenya 0.

Group C
Zambia 1 (Kalaba 79) Rwanda 0
Algeria 3 (Matmour 60, Ghezzal 64, Rafik Djebbour 77) Egypt 1 (Aboutraika 87)
Standings: Zambia, Algeria 4 points; Egypt, Rwanda 1.

Group D

Benin 1 (Omotoyossi 19) Sudan 0.
Mali 0 Ghana 2 (K.Asamoah 67, Amoah 77).
Standings: Ghana 6 points; Mali, Sudan 1; Benin 0.

Group E

Malawi 0 Burkina Faso 1 (Dagano 70)
Guinea 1 (Bangoura 65) Ivory Coast 2 (B.Kone 45, Romaric 72).
Standings: Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso 6 points; Guinea, Malawi 0.

 



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