Source Pravda.Ru

Five teams qualify for World Cup finals

Spain and the Czech Republic advanced to the World Cup finals Wednesday, while Switzerland, Australia, and Trinidad and Tobago also made it to next year's tournament.

Already leading 5-1 from the home leg in Madrid, Spain tied 1-1 at Slovakia to advance 6-2 on aggregate. The Czechs followed their first-leg victory in Oslo by beating Norway 1-0 for an overall 2-0 win.

The Swiss, leading 2-0 from the first leg in Berne, had a scare in Istanbul, where Turkey won 4-2. Tuncay Sanli scored a hat trick and the teams tied 4-4 overall, but Switzerland advanced to the tournament in Germany having scored more away goals.

Trinidad and Tobago won 1-0 at Bahrain to advance 2-1 on aggregate, and Australia downed Uruguay 4-2 in a penalty shootout to earn its second appearance.

All 32 entrants in the Dec. 9 tournament draw in Leipzig, Germany, have now been decided. Spain wasn't troubled in Bratislava until Filip Holoski put Slovakia ahead seven minutes into the second half. However, David Villa extinguished the possibility of a comeback by equalizing with 20 minutes to go.

Tomas Rosicky put the Czech Republic ahead in Prague after 35 minutes, hitting Norway's chances of reversing Saturday's home defeat.

In Istanbul, forward Alex Frei gave Switzerland the lead with a first-minute penalty, but Tuncay hit back with two goals and Necati Ates scored a penalty to make it 3-1. Marco Streller scored what turned out to be the deciding goal in the 84th minute, making it 3-2 and meaning Turkey, which reached the last World Cup semifinals three years ago, had to score two more goals. Tuncay completed his hat trick, but the Swiss advanced.

Trinidad, which had been held to a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg, got its winning goal from 1.98-meter (6-foot-6) defender Dennis Lawrence, who plays for Wrexham in English soccer's fourth tier. Lawrence headed in a corner from Dwight Yorke for the only goal in Manama. The result gave the island team a 2-1 aggregate triumph and made it a good day for veteran Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker, who has also coached Real Madrid and Ajax.

Earlier, fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink coached Australia to a 1-0 win over Uruguay before 82,698 fans in Sydney, tying the two-leg series 1-1. Uruguay, which finished in fifth place in South American qualifying, had a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Montevideo. That was canceled out by Marco Bresciano's 34th-minute strike.

Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer saved shootout kicks from Dario Rodriguez and Marcelo Zalayeta to help his team reach the finals for the first time since 1974. Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill, Tony Vidmar and John Aloisi all scored for Australia, which became the first team to qualify on penalties.

Three months ago, Australia was in a slump after three losses at the Confederations Cup. Hiddink now has to decide whether to stay on for the World Cup Australia's participation at next year's final tournament in Germany is the latest achievement for Hiddink, who led South Korea to the 2002 semifinals. The PSV Eindhoven coach, who took over in July from Frank Farina on a short-term contract, also led the Netherlands to the World Cup semifinals in 1998.

The other 27 teams already qualified for the World Cup were: Croatia, France, England, Germany (host), Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia-Montenegro, Sweden, Ukraine from Europe; Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay from South America; Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Tunisia from Africa; Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea from Asia; and Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States from CONCACAF, AP reports.

А. А.

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