Spain stunned, Argentina close in on qualification for Brazil
Published: 26.03.13 / Written by: David Gold
After the latest weekend of World Cup qualifiers, the big shock result from the world of football was the World and European champions Spain being held 1-1 by Finland.
That result meant that Spain fell two points behind France in their qualifying group. Spain have already been held at home by the French, and they face each other again in Paris on Tuesday, with the Spanish needing to win to keep alive hopes of automatic qualification and avoid the play offs.
France beat Georgia for their part, 3-1, to take another step towards Brazil. Elsewhere in the European qualifiers, England thrashed San Marino 8-2 and Montenegro beat Moldova 1-0. England meet group leaders Montenegro in Podgorica on Tuesday night in another huge qualifier. Ukraine won 3-1 at Poland to keep their hopes alive.
In Group A Belgium beat Macedonia 2-0 to stay top with Croatia, who won by the same score against Serbia. Netherlands beat Estonia 3-0 to stay clear of Hungary and Romania, who drew 2-2. Turkey beat Andorra 2-0 to close in. Germany beat Kazakhstan 3-0, with Sweden and the Republic of Ireland drawing 0-0, and Austria beating Faroe Islands 6-0 in their group. In Italyís section, Bulgaria won 6-0 against Malta and Denmark won 3-0 at Czech Republic.
Norway lost 1-0 at home to Albania to dent their hopes of qualification, as Switzerland drew 0-0 at Cyprus in the same group. Slovenia were beaten 2-1 by Iceland. Israel and Portugal drew 3-3 in a huge game, with a last minute equaliser denying the Israelis a vital win.
In South America Argentina beat Venezuela 3-0 to take another big step towards qualifying for Brazil 2014. They visit La Paz in Bolivia next. Colombia are also striding towards Brazil as they beat Bolivia 5-0 at home. Uruguay and Paraguay drew 1-1, whilst Peru defeated Chile 1-0.
African qualifiers saw Cameroon beat Togo 2-1 in a big qualifier, whilst Nigeriaís blushes were spared by a late equaliser against Kenya. Ivory Coast beat Gambia 3-0, Burkina Faso beat Niger 4-2, Tunisia beat Sierra Leone 2-1, South Africa won 2-0 against Central African Republic and Tanzania stunned Morocco 3-1. Zambia were held 1-1 by Lesotho. Mali beat Rwanda 2-1, Ghana crushed Sudan 4-0 and Ethiopia beat Botswana 1-0. Equatorial Guinea beat Cape Verde 4-3.
In North America, Mexico were held 2-2 by Honduras as the United States boosted their hopes with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica. Jamaica and Panama drew 1-1. Over in Oceania New Zealandís 2-1 win over New Caledonia edges them closer to qualification for the World Cup.