Wednesday 12 June 2013

World Cup qualifiers: Sergio Aguero on song for Argentina

There were 21 Premier League players in FIFA World Cup qualifying action on Wednesday

  • Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (left) was Argentina's goalscorer against Ecuador

  • Southampton's Gaston Ramirez (left) helped Uruguay to a 1-0 win over Venezuela

  • Juan Mata (left) celebrates his goal for Spain with Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (centre)

  • Former West Ham defender Lucas Neill celebrates Australia's 4-0 triumph over Jordan

There were 21 players from the Barclays Premier League involved in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, which is due to start a year today, with several more in international action in New York.

Asia

Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer kept a clean sheet and Aston Villa's Brett Holman started as Australia beat Jordan 4-0 in Melbourne to boost their chances of finishing in the second automatic qualifying spot in Group B. The Socceroos are a point ahead of Oman and need only to beat Iraq at home in the final match on 18 June to secure second place. Crystal Palace's Mile Jedinak was an unused substitute for Australia.

In Doha, Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa played the 90 minutes as Group B winners Japan edged past Iraq with the only goal coming in the 89th minute. Southampton defender Maya Yoshida remained on the bench for Japan.

Cardiff City's Kim Bo-kyung watched from the bench as his South Korea team-mates beat Uzbekistan 1-0 to make their chances of winning Group A and qualifying for an eighth successive World Cup finals almost certain. South Korea top the group and need only to avoid defeat by Iran at home a week on Wednesday to top the group. Iran's 4-0 victory over Lebanon took them over Uzbekistan into second.

Europe

Fulham winger Alex Kacaniklic played for Sweden as two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic took Erik Hamren's side past the Faroe Islands in Stockholm. The win meant Sweden joined the Republic of Ireland and Austria on 11 points in Group C, five behind leaders Germany. Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson also played for 64 minutes, while West Bromwich Albion defender Jonas Olsson was an 83rd-minute substitute. In the other FIFA World Cup qualifiers involving European teams, Denmark were humbled 4-0 at home by Armenia, who moved level with the Danes on six points in Group B, while Belarus were held to a 1-1 draw by Finland.

South America

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City gave his side a fourth-minute lead from the penalty spot but Argentina were pegged back by Ecuador, who salvaged a 1-1 draw in Quito. Manchester United full-back Antonio Valencia featured for the home side, who lie third, five points behind Wednesday night's opponents, who had former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano sent off and Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini in the squad as an unused substitute.

Argentina's lead in the qualifying group is down to three points after second-placed Colombia sealed a 2-0 success against Peru, while Chile moved level on 21 points with Ecuador thanks to a 3-1 defeat of Bolivia. Uruguay are up to fifth, five points further back, after a 1-0 success against Venezuela achieved with the help of Southampton forward Gaston Ramirez and an Edinson Cavani strike. Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates was an unused substitute for Uruguay.

North, Central America and Caribbean

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard kept a clean sheet as the United States moved two points clear at the top of their qualifying section with a 2-0 success over Panama. Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron and Tottenham Hotspur forward Clint Dempsey, who captained the side, played the full 90 minutes, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan warmed the bench, as the US triumphed thanks to goals by Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson.

Fulham playmaker Bryan Ruiz wore the captain's armband for Costa Rica against a Mexico side whose attack was spearheaded by Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez as a goalless draw kept both sides two points behind Jurgen Klinsmann's United States squad. That draw enabled Honduras to move to within a point of them following their 2-0 victory over Jamaica.

Mata on the mark

Chelsea's Juan Mata was on target for Spain as the world and European champions completed a 2-0 triumph over the Republic of Ireland in a friendly match at New York's Yankee Stadium. Mata's 88th-minute strike complemented Roberto Soldado's opener as Vicente del Bosque's side, which included Manchester City's David Silva in the starting line-up, ran out comfortable winners against a side for whom Everton full-back Seamus Coleman and Hull City defender Paul McShane appeared from the start.

Chelsea pair Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta and Arsenal duo Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal were among the substitutes for a Spain squad warming up for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup tournament, which gets under way this weekend, as were Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina and Manchester City's new signing Jesus Navas. For the Republic, Crystal Palace defender Damien Delaney and Hull City duo Stephen Quinn and David Meyler featured among the reserves.

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Key Points

  • 21 Premier League players in FIFA World Cup qualifying action on Wednesday
  • Sergio Aguero scores for Argentina, while Shinji Kagawa, Gaston Ramirez and Clint Dempesy on winning sides
  • Chelsea's Juan Mata on target for Spain against Republic of Ireland in New York friendly