Several City stars will be casting their minds forward to next summer's World Cup after the final round of qualifying games on Wednesday night.
Shaun Wright-Phillips bagged his fifth goal for his country as England eased to a 3-0 win over Belarus at Wembley. He gave a good account of himself despite playing on the left flank, and he was joined in the starting line-up by Wayne Bridgeand Gareth Barry, who helped set up Peter Crouch’s fourth-minute opener.
Vladimir Weiss helped Slovakia book their automatic progress to South Africa when they beat Poland 1-0 in Chorsaw. City’s young winger was booked in the 58th minute, but Slovakia’s win saw them top the group despite the close attentions of Slovenia. In the same group there was disappointment for Ryan McGivern and Northern Ireland, whose goalless draw with the Czech Republic, combined with results elsewhere, meant that there was no chance for them to slip into the play-off places.
Shay Given celebrated his 100th cap for the Republic of Ireland with a clean sheet against Montenegro at Croke Park. The Irish must now wait for Friday’s draw to find out which seeded team they will face in next month’s two-legged play-off for a place in South Africa next year. Elsewhere in Ireland’s group, Martin Petrov scored twice in Bulgaria’s 6-2 win over Cyprus in Sofia, but the win came too late to affect the top end of the group table.
Last night saw the conclusion of the group stages of qualification for the 2010 World Cup, with just the playoffs remaining to conclude the countries who will participate.
The full list of countries who have qualified (plus the playoff participants) is as follows:
Europe (Uefa): Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland.
Play-offs: Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, Russia, Bosni-Hercegovina, Ukraine, France, Ireland.
North America (Concacaf): Mexico, United States, Honduras.
Play-offs: Costa Rica.
South America (Conmebol): Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina.
Africa (CAF): Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa (hosts). And... three from Cameroon/Gabon, Tunisia/Nigeria, Algeria/Egypt.
Asia (AFC): Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea.
Asia/Oceania (OFC): one from New Zealand v Bahrain play-off - first leg (Bahrain) 0-0, second leg on 14/11/09/With the squad we now possess it could be a busy summer ahead for our squad, and plenty of interest in watching the tournament with the following players possibly in action:
England: Barry, Bridge, Lescott and Wright-Phillips. Note that Micah Richards is getting nowhere near this squad.
Holland: Nigel de Jong.
Slovakia: Vladimir Weiss.
Ireland: Shay Given.
Brazil: Robinho, Jo.
Paraguay: Roque Santa Cruz
Argentina: Carlos Tevez, Pablo Zabaleta.
Ivory Coast: Kolo Toure.