UEFA President Michel Platini has made some changes to the 2010 World Cup qualification process for European nations.
Instead of groups of seven and eight teams, European nations will be in one of eight groups of six teams and one of five. The nine group winners will qualify and the best-performing eight second place teams go into play-offs for the additional four places on offer.
Records against the bottom-placed teams in each Judi Online group will not be taken into account.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter showered more praise on South Africa on his most recent visit to the World Cup hosts last week, again insisting that preparations are on schedule.
“From what I have seen here today and from what I have heard I can say generally we are on track,” he told reporters. “You may be assured that nothing, nothing can now be against the World Cup here in South Africa.”
Despite the latest charm offensive, Blatter did concede that South Africa’s transport infrstructure needs some investment in the next three years.
“There will be a lot of visitors and there is a great need from companies to help with extra capacity for airplanes, buses and local transport,” he said.
US downs Mexico to win Gold Cup
The USA retained its crown as the top nation in North & Central America by defeating traditional rivals Mexico 2-1 in the final of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Chicago.
Neither nation had impressed in squeezing past their semi-final opponents; the US beat Canada 2-1 and Mexico edged Guadeloupe 1-0, but the big two of this FIFA region served up a rip-roaring climax to the tournament.
The 50,760 in attendance at Soldier Field in Chicago were largely Mexican expats, who saw El Tricolor snatch a precious lead a minute before the interval through Atlas’ starlet Andres Guardado.
20 year-old Guardado, whom Real Madrid made an offer for last summer and who is a reported target of a host of big European clubs, lashed into an open net as the US was caught on a pincer movement.
Recently-installed US coach Bob Bradley kept faith with his troops after the break and was rewarded when Houston Dynamo’s Brian Ching was hauled down in the area in the 62nd and LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan dispatched a cool spot kick to level the scores.
A spectacular long-range effort from Hamburg’s Benny Feilhaber gave America the lead 11 minutes later. Ching and DaMarcus Beasley both then hit the woodwork for the US, who had to withstand an Alamo-style siege as the Mexicans pressed in the closing stages.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard pulled off a number of vital saves to keep the trophy north of the Rio Grande, hand Bradley his first piece of silverware as his team enters the 2007 Copa America, and grant the US passage to the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.