World Cup Wanderings
As Lloyd mentioned in his recent post, a host of Championship performers are plying their trade across Europe this week in a bid to get to the South African jamboree next June and July, but such is the influence of the division, a smattering of second tier stars could be found further afield still. Today will witness the completion of another round of fixtures and by midnight, we’ll be closer to knowing who is likely to be entertaining us in Durban and Bloemfontein come the summer. Who will be the 2010 Chris Birchall?
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are making heavy weather of a group containing minnows Gabon, stewarded by ex-French midfield genius Alain Giresse, and 2006 sensations, Togo. Despite their travails, experience shone through on Saturday as they came away with a 2-0 win across the border in Libreville. Geremi, a bit part performer for Newcastle this season, anchored the midfield in his usual leisurely, but occasionally effective style, and a home win in the return fixture tonight will put Cameroon back on pole. Elsewhere, Middlesbrough’s Mohamed Shawky picked up a yellow card as two time African Champions Egypt staved off elimination by winning 1-0 in Rwanda, but they still trail Algeria by three points.
Across the Atlantic, Jay DeMerit missed America’s narrow 2-1 triumph over El Salvador, a match played in the exceptionally obscure backwater of Sandy, Utah. The US are nonetheless well placed, although in a four horse race with Honduras, a resurgent, Eriksson-less Mexico and the Ticos of Costa Rica, they could still come a cropper. Sadly, however, the darlings of Germany 2006, Trinidad and Tobago, aren’t going to make it this time, the Soca Warriors ending up crushed by a Honduran juggernaut in Tegucigalpa; new Ipswich signing Carlos Edwards on the beaten side.