The impossible shock didn’t happen in the end as Argentina won 1-0 in Montevideo to bag the last South American place in South Africa and send Uruguay into a two-legged play-off with Costa Rica.
Chile’s 1-0 win over Ecuador meant neither of tonight’s teams in the Centenario would go home empty-handed. A nervous tussle went star-studded Argentina’s way seven minutes from time when Uruguay’s Martin Caceres was sent off and Argentine substitute Mario Bolatti side-footed home from the resulting free-kick’s melee for the game’s only goal.
Diego Maradona, predictably ecstatic at the end as a tearful Carlos Bilardo hugged him, lives to fight another day. Had Argentina gone out tonight, would that have been the last the soccer world had seen of its arguably greatest player?
Argentina join Brazil, Chile and Paraguay as the CONMEBOL automatic qualifiers for 2010.
Argentina’s win was also belated revenge for the first World Cup final played between the two nations at that stadium in 1930:
World Cup 2010 Qualifiers – October 14
In another tense evening of World Cup qualifiers across the globe, Switzerland and Slovakia qualified from the European zone for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Switzerland played out a nervous 0-0 home draw with 10-man Israel and Slovakia held on for a 1-0 win in Poland.
Portugal, Greece, Slovenia and Ukraine took the remaining play off spots.
England won 3-0 in their last qualifying match against Belarus in Group 6 with Peter Crouch scoring two.
Elsewhere in the the European qualifying Togel Online zone Italy beat Cyprus 3-2, the Republic of Ireland drew 0-0 with Montenegro at Croke Park. France beat Austria 3-1, Germany drew 1-1 with Finland and Sweden beat Albania 4-1, but miss out on the finals in South Africa.
In South America, it’s 0-0 in the first half in the crucial game between Uruguay and Argentina in Montevideo.
World Cup 2010 Qualifiers – October 10
In an exciting day and evening of World Cup qualifiers across the globe, Côte d’Ivoire, Mexico, Paraguay, Serbia, Denmark, Germany and Italy qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
In Europe, England lost their 100% record in Group 6 after goalkeeper Robert Green was dismissed early in the first half and Nazarenko’s deflected goal was enough for the hosts in a match marred by flares thrown from the crowd.
Elsewhere in the the European qualifying zone Italy grabbed a late 2-2 draw with the Republic of Ireland at Croke Park in Dublin to qualify. Fellow European powerhouse Germany also made it to South Africa with a 1-0 win in Moscow to condemn the Russians to the play-offs.
Switzerland, Serbia and Denmark also gained automatic qualification with Denmark’s 1-0 defeat of local Scandinavian rivals Sweden opening the door for Portugal to advance to the play-offs, where they will probably join France and the Republic of Ireland.
In South America, Paraguay qualified with a 2-1 win over Venezuela while a dramatic match in the rain in Buenos Aires, saw Argentina scrape a last-gasp win thanks to an injury-time goal from Martin Palermo to leave Diego Maradona’s team needing to avoid defeat in Uruguay in their last match to go through.
Another recalled veteran, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, inspired Mexico to a 4-1 win over El Salvador to progress to the finals in South America from the CONCACAF qualifying zone. The USA can join them with a win in Honduras.
In Africa, Côte d’Ivoire joined Ghana and the hosts South Africa in the finals as Chelsea striker Didier Drogba’s late goal gave the Elephants a 1-1 draw in Malawi and top position in Group E.