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2006 World Cup lineup complete

November 17, 2005 10:59 IST

Australia, Trinidad & Tobago, Switzerland, Spain and the Czech Republic completed the 32-team lineup for the World Cup finals after a day of unrelenting drama and tension brought qualifying to a close on Wednesday.

The action began in Sydney where Australia reached the World Cup for the first time in 32 years and became the first team to do so through a shootout after beating Uruguay 4-2 from the spot after a 1-0 extra time win saw the playoff end 1-1 on aggregate.

Trinidad & Tobago survived a barrage of missiles from angry Bahrain fans after their match as they pulled off a spectacular comeback in the qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win in Manama for a 2-1 aggregate victory and a first appearance in the finals.

Switzerland ended a 12-year absence from the finals despite losing 4-2 in Istanbul to Turkey.

Their 2-0 win in the first leg in Bern saw them through on away goals as the tie ended 4-4 on aggregate, the Swiss having lost a 3-0 aggregate lead after scoring a first minute penalty.

Spain reached their eighth successive World Cup since 1978 with a 1-1 draw in Slovakia for a 6-2 aggregate win, while the Czech Republic qualified for the first time as an independent nation. They last appeared as Czechoslovakia at Italia' 90.

The Czechs saw off Norway 1-0 in Prague after a 1-0 win in Oslo and, with their match finishing a few minutes after Spain's, became the 32nd and last team to qualify for Germany.

All 32 qualifiers are now known for next summer's extravaganza, which begins on June 9 in Munich and ends on July 9 in Berlin. The draw takes place in Leipzig on December 9.


There was high drama in Istanbul where Switzerland scored a second minute penalty through Alexander Frei to go 3-0 up on aggregate but then endured 90 minutes of a white-knuckle roller-coaster ride as Turkey clawed the aggregate score back to 3-3 with two goals from Tuncay Sanli and a Necati Ates penalty.

Switzerland still led at that stage on away goals but after wasting four clear second-half chances they scored again through Marco Streller after 84 minutes to go 4-3 up on aggregate.

Turkey came fighting back with Tuncay heading home in the 89th minute to complete his hat-trick and take the score to 4-2 on the night and 4-4 on aggregate but it was not enough.


There was even more tension on the other side of the world earlier on Wednesday when Australia became the first team to qualify for a World Cup on penalties.

John Aloisi converted the decisive spot kick after Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer pulled off two brilliant saves to send the capacity crowd of 83,000 wild.

Australia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink had seen his team square the tie at 1-1 on aggregate with a first half goal from Marco Bresciano.

Hiddink will be one of four Dutch coaches at the World Cup, presuming none of them lose their jobs by then, being joined by compatriots Marco Van Basten (Netherlands), Dick Advocaat (South Korea) and Leo Beenhakker (Trinidad & Tobago).


Beenhakker, who turned Trinidad & Tobago's campaign around after taking over last March, saw his side become the seventh debutant at next year's finals with their 1-0 win in Bahrain giving them the tie 2-1 on aggregate.

Dennis Lawrence headed the only goal after 50 minutes but defeat was too much for the Bahrainis who lost their composure at the end when defender Hussain Ali Hasan was sent off.

The crowd threw seat covers and other missiles onto the pitch but could not diminish the joy of the winners who became only the fourth Caribbean side to reach the finals following Cuba in 1938, Haiti (1974) and Jamaica (1998).

Trinidad, with a population of only 1.1 million will be the smallest nation in the competition.

There was relatively less passion and tension in Bratislava and Prague where the two halves of the old Czechoslovakia experienced different, but expected outcomes.

Slovakia, 5-1 down from the first leg, regained some pride with a 1-1 draw but went out 6-2 on aggregate as Spain stretched their unbeaten run to 18 matches since they lost at Euro 2004. The Czechs beat Norway 1-0 to sail through 2-0 on aggregate.


Mike Collett
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