A World Cup finals without the defending champions would be a severely diminished competition however that is becoming an increasing possibility after Spain were stunned at home by Finland.
Teemu Pukki’s late equalizer cancelling out a Sergio Ramos strike has put the defending and two-time European champions in a decidedly awkward situation. They now trail long time rivals France by two points and have to visit Paris on Tuesday. The knowledge that anything but a win will probably see them finish second in Group I, makes this match the most pressurized situation they’ve experienced since the final of Euro 2012.
Spain coach, Vicente del Bosque cannot be relishing the prospect of a two-legged shoot out in November to qualify for Brazil 2014.
Can you imagine that, the best national team we’ve ever been privileged to watch in that kind of lottery. The list of dangerous, exceptional and talented countries who may finish second in their respective UEFA qualifying groups is a murderers row.
Croatia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, Portugal, Greece and England could all be potential opponents to the World Champions should the unthinkable happen.
FIFA made a bold statement in 2002 when they decided that the champion should have to participate in the qualification process instead of automatically moving to the finals as had been the case since the inception of the tournament back in 1930 however I don;t think in the corridors of FIFA HQ in Zurich they ever imagined Spain not playing next summer.
Geiger, Marrufo, Villarreal picked as Gold Cup referees
Twenty-one year-old Cameroon midfielder Zambo Anguissa scored a deft late first half goal, but Video Assistant Referee helped Australia to a match-tying penalty kick as both sides stayed alive in the Confederations Cup after a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Australia captain Mark Milligan scored for Australia in the second group stage match for both teams at the Confederations Cup in Russia on Thursday.
Both teams lost opening matches, and victorious Chile and Germany square off at 2 p.m. ET
Australia struggled to put any semblance of threat together, and wasted its prime chance just after halftime when Mathew Leckie cued up Tomi Juric only to see the Luzern striker waffle before mailing a harmless chance wide and high.
The Socceroos came close again in the 55th minute, as a Leckie shot was blocked wide of goal. Their forward-thinking allowed some chances for Cameroon, too, as Aboubakar missed wide himself in the 58th minute.
Referee Milorad Mazic used Video Assistant Referee to change a corner kick to a penalty kick in the 60th minute, and Australia captain Milligan buried the spot kick to make it 1-1.Cameroon defender Ernest Mabouka chopped down Alex Gersbach in the box.
Aboubakar had a near post offering blocked wide by Milos Degenek, and the corner came to nothing. Australia had survived.