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Qatar eliminated from 2014 World Cup qualifying
Iran’s 4-0 win at home over Lebanon ensured that Qatar can finish no higher than fourth place in the final round of Asia qualifying. The top two nations in each of the two groups advance to next year’s 32-nation field in Brazil, and the third-place teams meet in a playoff for Asia’s final berth.
Denmark won the 1992 European Championship and has qualified for three of the last four World Cups. The nine European group winners qualify, and eight of the nine second-place teams advance to playoffs.
With the start of the World Cup a year and a day away, South American leader Argentina (7-1-5) was held to its third straight draw, 1-1 at third-place Ecuador (6-3-3). Sergio Aguero’s fourth-minute penalty kick was offset by Segundo Castillo’s 17th-minute goal off a corner kick. Argentina’s Javier Mascherano was given a red card in the 88th minute after he kicked at an attendant carting him off following a challenge, starting a sideline scuffle.
Second-place Colombia (7-3-2) beat visiting Peru 2-0 on Radamel Falcao’s penalty kick in the 12th minute and Teofilo Gutierrez’s goal in the 45th. Fourth-place Chile (7-6) won 3-1 at home over Bolivia on goals by Eduardo Vargas, Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, with Marcelo Martins scoring for the visitors. Uruguay (4-4-4) moved into fifth with a 1-0 win at Venezuela on Edinson Cavani’s 28th- minute goal. The top four nations qualify, and the fifth-place team faces as Asian country in a playoff.
In North and Central America and the Caribbean, Jozy Altidore scored in the 36th minute and Eddie Johnson in the 53rd to send the United States (3-1-1) to a 2-0 win over Panama. The Americans are two points ahead of Costa Rica (2-1-2) and Mexico (0-5-1), who played a 0-0 tie in Mexico City. Fourth-place Honduras (2-2-1) is another point back after beating visiting Jamaica 2-0 on goals by Oscar Boniek Garcia in the 10th minute and Roger Rojas in the 88th. The top three teams qualify and the fourth-place nation goes to a playoff against New Zealand.
In exhibitions, Italy was held to a 2-2 tie by Haiti at Rio de Janeiro ahead of the Confederations Cup, with goals by Emanuele Giaccherini in the first minute and Claudio Marchisio in the 73rd building a lead before Olrish Saurel’s 85th-minute penalty kick and Jean Phillipe Peguero’s goal in the second-minute of stoppage time. The Netherlands won 2-0 at China on Robin Van Persie’s 12th-minute penalty kick and Wesley Sneijder’s 66th-minute goal, and world and European champion Spain defeated Ireland 2-0 at New York’s Yankee Stadium on second-half goals by Roberto Soldado and Juan Mata.
In European qualifying, Sweden won 2-0 at home over the Faeroe Islands as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in the 35th minute and converted a penalty kick in the 82nd, giving him 41 goals in 90 international appearances. Germany (5-0-1) leads Group C with 16 points, five points ahead of Austria, Sweden and Ireland (all 3-1-2).
Australia improved its chances of qualifying for a third consecutive World Cup with a 4-0 win over Jordan, and South Korea moved within a point of reach soccer’s showcase for the eighth straight time by beating Uzbekistan 1-0.
Robbie Kruse scored and set up two goals for Australia (2-1-4), which moved into second place in Group B with 10 points with one game left, one point ahead of Oman (2-2-3) and three in front of Jordan (2-4-1). The top two teams in each group advance.
First-place Japan (4-1-2), which last week became the first team to clinch a berth, won 1-0 against last-place Iraq (1-4-2) at Doha, Qatar, on Shinji Okazaki’s 89th-minute goal. Australia closes at home against Iraq on June 18, when Oman is at Jordan.
Goals by Mark Bresciano in the 15th minute and the New York Red Bulls’ Tim Cahill in the 61st, both off Kruse passes, built Australia’s lead at Melbourne. Kruse scored in the 76th, and Lucas Neill added his first international in the 84th.
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
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