Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Fab stuff from Brazil as they make Finals

A double strike by Luis Fabiano helped Brazil become the first South American team to book a berth in the 2010 World Cup Finals after a convincing 3-1 away win over arch rivals Argentina.

Unmarked Luisao opened the scoring in the 24th minute and Sevilla striker Fabiano widened the gap six minutes later, as he captured a lost ball after Argentina goalkeeper Mariano Andujar failed to save a Maicon shot.

Jesus Datolo reduced the deficit 20 minutes into the second half with a left-foot shot from distance, but Fabiano secured the victory by finishing a counter-attack two minutes later.

Brazil, who reached the 30-point mark, became the seventh team to secure a World Cup spot, alongside hosts South Africa, Holland, North Korea, South Korea, Australia and Japan.

Brazil coach Dunga said: “Argentina used their skills, their talent, but Brazil were focused and paid attention. We knew to play with speed in the right moments.”

Chile remain second in the South American qualifying standings on 27 points although only goal difference keeps them above Paraguay.

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Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has warned his side not to think the hard work in their quest to reach the World Cup finals is over, despite continuing their 100% record in Group Five.

Spain made it seven wins out of seven on the road to South Africa after thrashing Belgium 5-0 in La Coruna last night. But they are still not assured of a place in next year's finals, because second-placed Bosnia-Herzegovina are six points behind with three games remaining.

One of those matches sees Spain travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina in the final round of fixtures, and Del Bosque will be hoping his side have their World Cup ticket booked well before that game.

“It's a pity that after seven wins in seven encounters we still aren't qualified, and that's largely because of the pressure by Bosnia - who have won again,” said Del Bosque.

“We need to continue pushing on, because there are still four points needed to be mathematically sure of going through - and we cannot take anything for granted until we've achieve it.”

Two goals from Valencia duo Villa and David Silva - plus another from Gerard Pique - gave Spain the spoils and earned Del Bosque his 16th win in 17 games since he replaced Luis Aragones after Euro 2008.

Spain are next in action against Estonia in Merida on Wednesday, and could secure qualification to the World Cup finals depending on what happens in that math and how Bosnia-Herzegovina do in their tricky home fixture against Turkey.

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Manchester United defender Patrice Evra hit out at France's critics after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Romania.

The result put Les Bleus four points adrift of Serbia at the top of their World Cup qualifying group, with the sides set to meet in a potentially crunch clash on Wednesday night.

“People who say we did not play well do not know anything about football,” rapped Evra.

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