Another round of World Cup Qualifying has come and gone around the globe and this cycle in particular has yielded a couple of births to the big show with 3 teams from Europe and 1 from South America getting the automatic nod.
Belgium were the first of the 4 teams to secure their passage to Brazil by way of their 2-1 road win in Zagreb, which simultaneously eliminated Croatia from WC contention although, in truth, their hopes were truly dashed when they lost at home to Scotland a couple rounds ago. Both Belgian goals were scored by Romelu Lukaku, who just scores at will now and his brace provided enough cushion for Belgium to sit back a bit despite the absence of Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany due to injury.
The Germans had a much easier time marking their entry to Brazil 2014 with a calm, cool, and collected 3-0 rout of Ireland in the land of Oktoberfest, with goals from Sami Khedira, Andre Schurrle, and Mesut Ozil sinking the Irish and sending the Germans to the World Cup. Similarly to the Croats, Ireland are also all but out of the running now for a spot in Brazil come next July.
Bankers and watchmakers are rejoicing in the streets of Bern and Basel today as the Swiss secured their spot in the World Cup courtesy of a 2-1 win in Albania on Friday night. Goals by Xherdan Shaqiri and Michael Lang did the job for the men in white on the night with Switzerland hoping to make a bigger impact in this coming World Cup than the last one, in which their only claim to fame was a shock 1-0 win over Spain.
Out of all the qualifiers on theday, the award for Most Dramatic Game goes to Colombia vs. Chile, as the Colombians only needed a draw at home to punch their pass to Brazil. The task appeared far beyond them by halftime though as Chile had amounted a 3-0 lead through first half goals from Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, the home side mounted a massive comeback in the final 21 minutes with a key moment being the sending off of Chile’s Carlos Carmona in the 66th. Colombia scored on the ensuing free kick to nab a goal back before 2 penalties from Monaco’s Radamel Falcao sealed the wil comeback and with it, Colombia’s spot in the upcoming World Cup.
Elsewhere, England grabbed a vital 4-1 home win against Montenegro that gives them a win and in scenario for their final match at Poland. Spain’s beat kept rolling on as they sneaked past a very game Belarus side 2-1, and Mexico got a last gasp bicycle kick winner from Raul Jimenez as they saw off Panama 2-1 at the Azteca Stadium to put them in the same scenario as England, only that it would be to put them into a playoff with New Zealand for the final CONCACAF/Oceania spot.