Wednesday 19 June 2013

Premier League stars book World Cup finals place

Mark Schwarzer, Brett Holman and Kim Bo-kyung all celebrate reaching Brazil's 2014 showpiece

  • Fulham's Mark Schwarzer celebrates after Australia's crucial 1-0 win over Iran

  • Schwarzer and Brett Holman, back row, second and third from right, line up in Sydney

  • Iran get the party started after overcoming South Korea to book their place in Brazil

  • Everton's Tim Howard kept a clean sheet in USA's narrow victory over Honduras

  • Fulham's Bryan Ruiz celebrates his opening goal for Costa Rica against Panama

  • Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel helped Nigeria overwhelm Tahiti 6-1

  • Man United's David de Gea holds the UEFA European Under-21 Championship trophy

Fulham players Mark Schwarzer and Ashkan Dejagah, Cardiff City's Kim Bo-kyung and Aston Villa winger Brett Holman can look forward to a trip to Brazil next summer after their respective national teams qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Asia

Australia needed to beat Iraq to book their place at next summer’s global showpiece and second-half substitute Joshua Kennedy’s 83rd-minute goal ensured the Socceroos progressed as Schwarzer kept a clean sheet at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Holman played 61 minutes of the 1-0 win that ensured Australia finished runners-up to Japan in Group B, while Crystal Palace midfielder Milo Jedinak was a non-playing substitute.

In Group A Degajah did not feature for Iran against South Korea through injury but his side edged a narrow away win in Ulsan that propelled them above their opponents to finish top of the section and on their way to South America next year. Kim came off the bench to appear for 16 minutes but the hosts could not prevent Iran’s single-goal victory.

Fortunately for the Cardiff City midfielder his side squeezed into the World Cup finals by virtue of a better goal difference than Uzbekistan, whose 5-1 rout of Qatar was one goal short of the required margin of victory; an agonising result considering they hit the bar three times and rained 30 shots on goal.

North, Central America and Caribbean

A United States side captained by Tottenham Hotspur forward Clint Dempsey moved a step closer to reaching the World Cup finals with a narrow triumph over Honduras that kept them two points clear at the top of their qualifying group.

Jozy Altidore’s third goal in four matches proved the difference between the sides, as did Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, who kept a clean sheet at the Rio Tinto Stadium, in Salt Lake City. Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron gave a 15-minute cameo off the bench while Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan was an unused substitute for Jurgen Klinsmann’s charges. Stoke's Wilson Palacios played the 90 minutes for Honduras, who are fourth, a point behind Mexico.

Costa Rica remain two points behind the group leaders thanks to a 2-0 defeat of Panama achieved with the help of Bryan Ruiz’s opening goal. The Fulham playmaker, who captained the hosts, broke the deadlock two minutes after the interval before Celso Borges made sure of the three points just four minutes later. Arsenal striker Joel Campbell played for all but seven minutes of Costa Rica’s third victory of the campaign that took them three points clear of Mexico.

Spain defend U21 crown

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea won his second UEFA European Under-21 Championship as Spain overcame Italy 4-2 in the final with the help of a first-half hat-trick by Thiago Alcantera and a second-half penalty by Isco.

Italy put up a good fight, Ciro Immobile equalising soon after Thiago’s fourth-minute opener, but by the time Liverpool’s Fabio Borini had scored with 12 minutes remaining the holders had scored four goals of their own.

Confederations Cup

Chelsea's John Obi Mikel and Kenneth Omeruo featured for the full 90 minutes of Nigeria’s 6-1 victory over Tahiti at the FIFA Confederations Cup on Monday. Nnamdi Oduamadi produced a hat-trick and Uwa Echiejile was on target against the Pacific Islanders who scored two own goals as well as a 54th-minute header that sparked a memorable rowing-boat celebration among the players.

More Barclays Premier League stars will be in action this evening as a Brazil side including Chelsea duo David Luiz and Oscar host Mexico, who will be spearheaded by Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez in Fortaleza.

Later in the evening in Recife, United’s Shinji Kagawa and Southampton defender Maya Yoshida are likely to be in action against an Italy side who may include former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli and ex-West Ham United forward Alessandro Diamanti.

Fixtures

Wednesday 19 June
Brazil v Mexico, 8pm*
Italy v Japan, 11pm

Thursday 20 June
Spain v Tahiti, 8pm
Nigeria v Uruguay, 11pm

*All times BST

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Key Points

  • Numerous Premier League players in FIFA World Cup qualifying action on Tuesday
  • Mark Schwarzer, Brett Holman, Ashkan Dejagah and Kim Bo-Kyung celebrate reaching World Cup finals
  • Fulham's Bryan Ruiz on target for Costa Rica while David De Gea wins second UEFA Euro Under-21 crown