Category: Archive

World Cup Roundup: Kerr’s Germany quest down but not out

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

In Belfast, Northern Ireland shocked the football world by beating star-studded England 1-0 in Group 6 before 14,000 passionate fans. It was the North’s first home win over the English since 1927.
Although now fourth in their group after the 1-0 loss to France in Dublin, the Republic could receive a major assist from the reinvigorated French in Les Bleus’ top-of-the-table clash with Switzerland next month.
The Swiss (4-0-4, 16) remained in first place on goal difference after defeating Cyprus 3-1 in Nicosia.
Alexander Frei (15th), Senderos (69th) and Daniel Gygax (84th) secured the points. Georgios Aloneftis (35th) connected for the Cypriots, a team Ireland must beat in the Mediterranean on Oct. 8 to stay alive.
The combination of an Irish victory in Cyprus and a French win in Berne on the same day will put the Republic firmly back on track for Germany ’06, albeit via the playoff route.
That’s because France wind up their qualifiers at home to Cyprus on Oct. 12, a fixture infinitely easier than the challenge Brian Kerr’s men will face in Dublin against a Swiss side that beat them 2-1 there during the Euro ’04 qualifiers two years ago.
Elsewhere in Group 4, Israel blanked the Faroe Islands 2-0 in Torshavn on goals by Avi Nimni (55th) and Yaniv Katan (80th) to stay in contention for Germany ’06 with one match remaining.
Last seen at the World Cup finals in 1970, the Israelis can complete their schedule with 18 points (and not 19 as erroneously reported in this column last week) with another win over the Islanders in Tel Aviv on Oct. 8.
That would be good enough to earn them a playoff spot if France beats the Swiss and the Alpine nation then draws with Ireland on Oct. 12.

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