Andorra – England preview: South Africa 2010 qualifying

Andorra will receive England at Olympic Stadium, Barcelona. Prediction: England will win by three goals or more.

By the way, England Manager Fabio Capello has confirmed that Rio Ferdinand will miss the Three Lions first World Cup Qualifier against Andorra on Saturday.

Speaking on Friday afternoon ahead of the match, Capello said a back injury would prevent the Manchester United defender from taking part in Barcelona, but he is hopeful that Ferdinand will be available for the second Qualifier against Croatia on Wednesday.

Head to Head

Barcelona 28/03/2007 AND 0:3 (0:0) ENG
Manchester 02/09/2006 ENG 5:0 (3:0) AND

Henrik Larsson goes for 100th: Albania - Sweden preview

Henrik Larsson will earn his 100th cap when he plays in the World Cup Qualifying match against Albania in Tirana. If he plays he will become the fifth Swedish player with 100 or more caps.

Thomas Ravelli has earned the most caps for Sweden: 143. According to Infostrada, The USA has the most players with 100 or more international matches under their belt: 11.

Countries with most players with 100+ caps
# Country Record caps holder

11 USA Cobi Jones (164)
6 Egypt Hossam Hassan (169)
6 Estonia Martin Reim (156)
6 Germany Lothar Matthäus (150)
6 Saudi Arabia Mohamed Al-Deayea (181)
6 South Korea Hong Myung-Bo (136)
6 France Lilian Thuram (142)
5 Mexico Claudio Suárez (178)
5 Denmark Peter Schmeichel (129)
5 England Peter Shilton (125)
4* Sweden Thomas Ravelli (143)

* If Larsson plays, he will be the fifth Swedish player with 100+ caps.
* Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Malta and Romania also have four players with 100 or more caps.

European Champions unbeaten in World Cup qualification: Spain - Bosnia Herzegovina preview

Spain can equal West Germany’s record non-losing streak in World Cup qualification matches for European countries when they host Bosnia-Herzegovina in Murcia, tomorrow.

Spain has not lost in 35 World Cup qualification matches. (West) Germany’s record streak of 36 ended on 16 October 1985 with a 0-1 loss to Portugal, according to Infostrada.

Spain’s last defeat in a World Cup qualification match dates back to 31 March 1993: Denmark – Spain 1-0.

Portugal is on a current streak of 30 World Cup qualification matches without a loss.

Longest undefeated streak in World Cup qualification – European countries
# Country Start date W D Match that ended streak

36 (West) Germany 11 Mar 1934 32 4 West Germany - Portugal (16 Oct 1985) 0-1
35 Spain 28 Apr 1993 25 10 Still running
30 Portugal 09 Oct 1996 21 9 Still running
23 Germany 17 Nov 1985 14 9 Germany - England (01 Sep 2001) 1-5
23 Italy 22 Sep 1993 17 6 Slovenia - Italy (09 Oct 2004) 1-0
21 Croatia 11 Oct 1997 14 7 Still running
21 England 18 Nov 1981 11 10 Norway - England (02 Jun 1993) 2-0
18 Yugoslavia 03 Apr 1938 13 5 Norway - Yugoslavia (16 Jun 1965) 3-0
17 Republic of Ireland 02 Sep 2000 10 7 Republic of Ireland - France (07 Sep 2005) 0-1
16 Serbia and Montenegro 02 Jun 2001 10 6 Still running

Cristiano Ronaldo know it: Germany is Germany and they are ready to score eight times at Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein National Team

At Vaduz, Liechtenstein will receive Germany searching a place in WC2010. Liechtestein is 130th in FIFA Ranking and had lost against teams like Malta this year.

Germany, you know, is Germany… They are not playing well but they win when they need it. Cristiano Ronaldo know it.

Also, this match is good chance to see a good performance of Marko Marin in an international field.

Prediction: Germany will score at least six goals. Nobody could avoid this.

Head to Head:

Friendly: Freiburg 07/06/2000 GER 8:2 (2:1) LIE
Friendly: Mannheim 04/06/1996 GER 9:1 (4:0) LIE

Armenia – Turkey preview: what a football game in the road to South Africa 2010

While many worry Turkey and Armenia's troubled relationship may ruin the World Cup qualification match, Turkish team boss Fatih Terim said that Saturday's game was “only a football game.”

Ahead of the game, which will be the first-ever football game between two national teams, Turkish national team coach Terim played down the tension in a poetic way while speaking at a press conference in Istanbul yesterday, according to Turkish Daily News.

The game at Yerevan's Hrazdan Stadium will be Turkey's first trip to Armenia for a high-profile sporting event and has already become more than a simple football match, turning into a diplomatic issue. It took weeks and various heated debates in the country before Turkish President Abdullah Gül responded to Armenian President Serge Sarkisian's invitation to watch the game together.

“This is the first game between the two countries, and that is important. Plus, it is important because it is the first game in the Group Five,” said Terim. “It is clear that our opponents will take the game with a different motivation. But for us, this is only a football game, not war.”

Austria – France preview: Road to South Africa 2010

Interesting match. What is the idea? Improve! Improve their performances during EURO 2008.

In the rich head to head France won 11 matches and Austria won 8; but the french team won 5 of 6 official matches.

Here we have this official matches:

Vienna 27/03/1993 AUT 0:1 (0:0) FRA WC Q
Paris 14/10/1992 FRA 2:0 (1:0) AUT QC Q
Madrid 28/06/1982 AUT 0:1 (0:1) FRA WC Second round
Vienna 27/03/1960 AUT 2:4 (0:0) FRA Euro Q Quarter-finals
Paris 13/12/1959 FRA 5:2 (0:0) AUT Euro Q Quarter-finals
Turin 27/05/1934 AUT 3:2 a.e.t. (1:1, 1:1) FRA WC Preliminary round


Cyprus – Italy want three points: WC 2010 Qualifying

At Larnaca, Cyprus National Team will be receiving Italy with the idea to disturb two or three points Road to South Africa 2010, On Saturday.

It seems that Italy can’t have any problem to defeat Cyprus. But, as it happened with Malta – Portugal, they have a draw in their head to head history. Also, Italy won only two times with a quiet difference.

Can Cyprus repeat a draw? Can Cyprus make history as in UEFA Champions League?

Foggia 21/12/1991 ITA 2:0 (1:0) CYP Euro Group matches
Limassol 22/12/1990 CYP 0:4 (0:3) ITA Euro Group matches
Perugia 22/12/1983 ITA 3:1 (0:0) CYP Euro Preliminary round
Limassol 12/02/1983 CYP 1:1 (0:0) ITA Euro Preliminary round
Cosenza 01/11/1967 ITA 5:0 (2:0) CYP Euro Preliminary round
Nicosia 22/03/1967 CYP 0:2 (0:0) ITA Euro Preliminary round

Malta – Portugal: it is not so easy match for the Lusitans road to South Africa 2010

At Ta' Qali, Malta and Portugal will be playing the first match-day for the WC2010 Qualifying.

Knowing Malta, it seems that Portugal will win very easy. But be careful: although Portugal always won there, they never enjoy an easy game. Is possible a surprise? Why not. On 1987 they drew but Portugal (that included uncapped Yannick Djaló) seems to be powerful these days.

Here we have Portugal – Malta history:

Porto 19/06/1993 POR 4:0 (3:0) MLT WC First stage
Ta' Qali 24/01/1993 MLT 0:1 (0:0) POR WC First stage
Porto 20/02/1991 POR 5:0 (3:0) MLT EURO Group matches
Ta' Qali 09/02/1991 MLT 0:1 (0:1) POR EURO Group matches
Ta' Qali 20/12/1987 MLT 0:1 (0:0) POR EURO Group matches
Funchal 29/03/1987 POR 2:2 (1:1) MLT EURO Group matches
Lisbon 12/10/1985 POR 3:2 (1:0) MLT WC First stage
Ta' Qali 10/02/1985 MLT 1:3 (0:2) POR WC First stage