Monday, November 14, 2005

WCQ - The Final Five - Review of Game 1

The first leg of the playoffs if over and done with, so who stands were?

Uruguay 1-0 Australia
It seems everyone is writing about the bad shape Australia now find themselves in, but all and all, I think they should be happy. They are going home only needing to win by 2. Yes, that is a lot, but it is very doable. They were able to shut Uruguay down on the road. They almost tied it in the 47th. Their team looked strong. Four years ago the lost the road match 3-0 after winning at home 1-0. In that 3-0 outing, they were dominated, but not this time. They do have their collective back against the wall, but it is something they can over come. Uruguay, for their part, will need to figure out how to breakdown the Aussie's midfield. They will also need to figure out how to win without lead scorer Diego Forlan who left early due to an injury acting up.

Trinidad and Tobago 1-1 Bahrain
Bahrain have got to be heading home feeling good about their situation. They were outplayed by T&T, but are still walking out with a good chance at their first ever finals. For T&T, they need to figure out how to get the ball into the box. Bahrain was able to interrupt the T&T flow in the midfield enough to prevent them from having more serious chances. However, when Bahrain went up in the 72nd, T&T were able to rally back to get the tie. This is going to be a wild finally.

Spain 5-1 Slovakia
It looks like Spain will be making their eighth straight World Cup appearance, unless they just collapse on Wednesday night. Even a full on collapse would more then likely end up with them heading to Germany, so they don't have much to worry about. Spain's Luis Garcia came to life in this on by getting a hat trick. The most exciting moment for Slovakia came in the 18th when their coach Dusan Galis got a red card for arguing over Spain's second goal.

Norway 0-1 Czech Republic
The Czech's are in good shape after taking the road leg, but due to suspension, they will have to play on Wednesday without captain Tomas Galasek. Norway can still pull out a surprise here, but they will need to step up the ball handling and attacking.

Switzerland 2-0 Turkey
The sad times continue for Turkey as they surrender two on the road and never really mount a continuous attack. Switzerland now has Turkey feeling insecure as the series heads back to Istanbul. Turkey will need to find some way of breaking apart the Swiss defense if they are to have any hope of winning. It was a very deflated team that left the pitch for Turkey on Saturday, so the Swiss have got to be happy.


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