Posted: 10/15/2013


      In Sarjevo as elsewhere, they were dancing in the streets of this once war torn capital as Bosnia-Herzogovenia won away in Kaunas, Lithuania to make it to their very first FIFA World Cup finals with a goal by Vedad Ibisevic after 68 minutes.

      I was glued to the TV set and quite relaxed, well for the final 2 minutes anyway, as Captain Fantastic Steven Gerrard made it 2-0 at Wembley in front of 85,500 fans. 18,000 Poles packed one end and a few thousand more were scattered around the stadium, some behaving badly and lighting red flares.

      It was stupid to allow so many opposition fans inside. They should have been issued tickets for Scotland v Croatia in the half empty spaces of Hampden Park and given the web site of I think the Americans have the right idea. In order to discourage Mexican and other Latino fans the chance to make a USA home match an away one, no longer are matches scheduled in Florida, Texas, California, but in such places as Columbus, OH, Salt Lake City UT, Kansas City, MO and Seattle WA.  There was one infamous 'home' match in the 70's at The Los Angeles Coliseum when Mexico was given the more spacious 'home' dressing room.

     To hell with ticket sales and large attendances. TV revenue makes up for that and qualifying for the finals is worth much, much more, MILIONS MORE.

     Perhaps lost in all the results yesterday was the first leg of the African play-offs. The enchanting Ghana whipped visitors Egypt 6-1 in the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, home of the African club of the 20th Century,  Asante Kotoka, The Porcupines. They must be favourites to advance.

     Only 300 fans showed up at the Neo GSP Stadium in Nicosia for Cyprus v Albania. What on earth is Cyprus doing with a FIFA ExCo member Marios Leftaritis?  1,268 in Serraville for San Marino v Ukraine and 3,000 in  Torshavn for Faroe Islands v Austria.

     In Central America with Panama leading a reserve USA squad 2-1, it looked as if the Canaleros would finish fourth in the Hexagonal to face New Zealand, and eliminate Mexico who managed to lose 2-1 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Two added time goals for the Yanks gave El Tri another chance. Honduras tied 2-2 with Jamaica in Kingston to get the third automatic spot.

     With Argentina already qualified, they lost 3-2 to the Celeste at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay, site of the very first World Cup Final in 1930. Colombia, Chile and Ecuador went through, while Uruguay will have to play home and away to Jordan next month to make it to the final 32.