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Another loss for Maradona's Argentina
by Paul Kennedy, June 11th, 2009 7AM

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[WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING] Argentina doesn't like to play at altitude. After falling to Bolivia, 6-1, at 12,000 feet above sea level in La Paz in April, it traveled to Quito and lost to Ecuador, 2-0, at 9,300 feet above sea level. Coach Diego Maradona remained confident Argentina would qualify for the 2010 World Cup, but its lead over Ecuador for the fourth and final automatic berth in the World Cup 2010 finals was reduced to two points with four games to play.

Argentina blew a chance to take the lead in Quito when Carlos Tevez missed a penalty kick in the 29th minute. The miss proved costly as Walter Ayovi and Pablo Palacios scored for Ecuador late in the second half.

"Looking at the effort that this group put out today, we're going to qualify for South Africa," Maradona said. "But in soccer, when you don't score you pay for it. I have no criticism of my players. They did all I asked."

Brazil took over first place in South America when it rallied to beat Paraguay, 2-1, in Recife.

In Europe, former U.S. U-17 international Neven Subotic scored an insurance goal for Group 7 leader Serbia in the its 2-0 win at the Faeroe Islands.

England and the Netherlands both won their seventh straight games, though only the Dutch are mathematically sure of playing in South Africa 2010.

In Asia, Saudi Arabia's 0-0 tie at South Korea earned it a valuable point and put it in the best shape to earn the sole automatic berth in Asia that remains up for grabs and will be decided next Wednesday. The Saudis, who are tied with North Korea with 11 points, will advance if they beat North Korea. Iran, a point behind Saudi Arabia and North Korea, must travel to South Korea.

Of note: Iran's Iranian-American coach Afshin Qotbi spent eight years coaching in South Korea.

SOUTH AMERICA
Brazil 2 (Robinho 41, Nilmar 50) Paraguay 1 (Cabanas 26).
Chile 4 (Beausejour 43, Estrada 73, Sanchez 77, 88) Bolivia 0.
Ecuador 2 (Ayovi 72 Palacios 84) Argentina 0.
Venezuela 2 (Maldonado 9, Rey 75) Uruguay 2 (Suarez 60, Forlan 73).
Colombia 1 (Garcia 25) Peru 0.
Standings
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Brazil 14 7 6 1 25 6 27
Chile 14 8 2 4 23 14 26
Paraguay 14 7 3 4 20 13 24
Argentina 14 6 4 4 19 15 22
Ecuador 14 5 5 4 18 20 20
Uruguay 14 4 6 4 23 16 18
Colombia 14 4 5 5 7 11 17
Venezuela 14 5 2 7 17 24 17
Bolivia 14 3 3 8 19 30 12
Peru 14 1 4 9 7 29 7

EUROPE
Group 1
Sweden 4 (Kallstrom 22, Majstorovic 52, Ibrahimovic 56, Berg 58) Malta 0.
Standings: Denmark 16 points; Hungary 13; Portugal, Sweden 9; Albania 6; Malta 1.
Group 4
Finland 0 Russia 3 (Kerzhakov 26, 53, Zyryanov 71)
Standings: Germany 16 points; Russia 15; Finland 10; Wales 9; Azerbaijan, Liechtenstein 1.
Group 6
England 6 (Rooney 4, 39, Lampard 29, Defoe 73, 76, Crouch 81) Andorra 0
Ukraine 2 (Nazarenko 33, 47) Kazakhstan 1 (Nuserbaev 18)
Standings: England 21 points; Croatia, Ukraine 11; Belarus 9; Kazakhstan 3; Andorra 0.
Group 7
Faroe Islands 0 Serbia 2 (Jovanovic 43, Subotic 62)
Standings: Serbia 18 points; France 10; Lithuania 9; Austria, Romania 7; Faroe Islands 1.
Group 9
Netherlands 2 (Ooijer 33, Robben 51) Norway 0
Macedonia 2 (Aco Stojkov 9, Ivanovski 85) Iceland 0
Standings: Netherlands 21 points; Scotland, Macedonia 7; Iceland 4; Norway 3.

ASIA
Group A
Australia 2 (Sterjovski 55, Carney 88) Bahrain 0
Japan 1 (own goal 2) Qatar 1 (Yahya Afif 53-pen)
Standings
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
Australia 7 5 2 0 10 0 17
Japan 7 4 3 0 10 4 15
Bahrain 7 2 1 4 5 8 7
Qatar 8 1 3 4 5 14 6
Uzbekistan 7 1 1 5 5 9 4
Group B
South Korea 0 Saudi Arabia 0
Iran 1 (Karimi 53) UAE 0
Standings
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
South Korea 7 4 3 0 11 3 15
North Korea 7 3 2 2 7 5 11
Saudi Arabia 7 3 2 2 8 8 11
Iran 7 2 4 1 7 6 10
UAE 8 0 1 7 6 17 1

 



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