[WORLD CUP 2014 QUALIFYING: Tuesday] The USA and Costa Rica were among five teams to clinch berths in the World Cup finals. Italy and the Netherlands became the first teams to clinch from Europe, while Argentina won, 5-2, at Paraguay to return to the finals.
World Cup 2014 Finalists:
South Korea (Asia)
Costa Rica (Concacaf)
Argentina (South America)
ITALY. The Azzurri secured qualification to the World Cup finals for the 14th straight time when they came from behind to beat the Czech Republic, 2-1.
It didn't look like it was going to be Italy's day when Libor Kozak put the Czechs ahead and Mario Balotelli hit the crossbar. But defender Giorgio Chiellini equalized seven minutes after the break and Balotelli won the game from the penalty spot.
NETHERLANDS.It took more than a half but the Dutch finally broke through against tiny Andorra with a curling shot from Robin van Persie, and the Manchester United star added a second goal for a 2-0 win on Tuesday. The win along with Turkey's 2-0 win over Romania in Bucharest sent the Oranje pack to the finals for the sixth time in a row.
Other key European results ...
-- After losing to Slovakia at home for its first defeat in qualifying, Bosnia-Herzegovina turned around and beat Slovakia, 2-1, in Zilina on late goals from Ermin Bicakcic and Izet Hajrovic to stay even with Greece on points but in first place in Group G with a far superior goal difference.
-- France broke its scoring drought, twice coming from behind against Belarus before winning, 4-2. Franck Ribery scored twice to pull the Bleus even, and substitute Samir Nasriand Paul Pogba scored three minutes apart for the win.
-- England's 0-0 tie at Ukraine moved it into first place in Group H, one points ahead of Montenegro and Ukraine with home games against Montenegro and Poland remaining.
-- Switzerland took control in Group E with a 2-0 win at Norway on a pair of goals by Fabian Schaer, both headers off Gokhan Inler free kicks.
-- Russia's 3-1 win over Israel moved it back into first place in Group F, one point ahead of Portugal, which lost to Brazil, 3-1, in a friendly played before 62,310 fans at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
ARGENTINA.Under-strength Argentina clinched its ticket to Brazil with a 5-2 win at Paraguay, getting two penalty kicks from Lionel Messi. Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Maxi Rodriguezalso scored for Argentina.
Colombia missed its chance to clinch when it fell to Uruguay, 2-0, on late goals by Edinson Cavaniand Cristian Stuaniin Montevideo.
The win was the third in a row for the Celeste, which pulled even with fourth-place Ecuador, which tied Bolivia, 1-1, in La Paz. Uruguay and Ecuador are two points behind third-place and three ahead of sixth-place Venezuela.
The top four teams qualify automatically, while the fifth-place team will face Jordan, which is one step away from reaching the World Cup for the first time thanks to a 9-8 shootout over Uzbekistan, 9-8. Both legs of their Asian playoff series ended 1-1.
South America standings
Egypt update ...
Bob Bradley's Egypt beat Guinea, 4-2, to remain the only unbeaten and untied team in World, Cup qualifying. The Pharaohs will learn whom they'll face in the final round of qualifying when the 10 African finalists will be paired in a draw on Monday. Egypt came back from a goal down after four minutes to win. Mohamed Aboutrika celebrated his 100th appearance for Egypt with a goal.