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By Caroline Cheese
2229: Now, I know I said I was seeing this through, but I had temporarily forgotten about the big Costa Rica-Uruguay clash which is coming up at 0200 GMT. Lazy. Many, many thanks for your company on an incredible day of international action. I'm off to book my flight to Sudan on Wednesday...
2226: Portugal hang on to their advantage, but Bosnia aren't out of it, and all four European play-offs are quite nicely poised ahead of Wednesday's second legs, wouldn't you say?
2225: FULL-TIME Portugal 1-0 Bosnia
2223: Bosnia finding all sorts of gaps in the Portugal defence, but just as Vedad Ibisevic is about to pull the trigger, ref Martin Atkinson blows his whistle for a handball. We're deep into added time now.
2220: Bosnia hit the woodwork not once, but twice. So, so unlucky. Dzeko's header comes back off the bar and Sanel Jahic's instinctive follow-up only finds the post. How are Portugal still leading?
From Denis via text on 81111: "Bosnia getting tired and making mistakes. On the other hand, Dzeko is a handful and on rare occasions ball gets played to him he looks a threat. Dzeko just hit the side netting at keeper's near side."
BBC Sport's Stephen Fottrell in Dublin: "A disappointed crowd here. But they still believe there's a goal in this Irish team over two legs. Irish team in disbelief as they made their way round for a grateful lap of honour. Small group of French fans in the corner grateful for a precious away win. Onto Wednesday, Irish have their work cut out but still all to play for, refereeing decisions allowing."
2212: Now then, I cannot confirm this, repeat, cannot confirm this but according to
MFBorman on Twitter,
Dutch TV are reporting that Robin van Persie will be out for two to three months with torn ankle ligaments.
2208: For those of you wondering how Nani's getting on for Portugal. I haven't seen much of the game because I had all eyes on Ireland-France - but the Man United winger was substituted after 69 minutes.
2159: I'm seeing this out by the way. Still 22 minutes remaining in Portugal-Bosnia, where the hosts lead 1-0. You're not going anywhere are you?
BBC 5 live analyst Mark Lawrenson: "I don't think there's anything Trapattoni can do in terms of changing personnel for Wednesday. I think it's just a case of scoring the first goal. If the French score first it will turn into a training game. It's also important Ireland remember they created the better chances in this game - not too many, but they've proved they can do it."
From anon via text on 81111: "Life long Sunderland fan: Rep of Ireland need the new look Andy Reid. Every piece of attacking / creative play for Sunderland is created by him. He's lean, mean and incredibly skilful!!! Forgive his past sins..."
2153: All kicked off a bit at the end there, as Lassana Diarra and Keith Andrews clash in the centre circle and lots of others bundle in. Not sure what that was all about. Anyway, the upshot is: France take an away goal into Wednesday's second leg against Ireland, so Giovanni Trapattoni's side will have to score at the Stade de France.
2151: FULL-TIME Rep of Ire 0-1 France
2150: Into injury time at Croke Park, and France bring on Florent Malouda.
2145: Hugo Lloris comes to France's rescue - after a howler by Eric Abidal. The France defender gives the ball straight to Robbie Keane and the Spurs man exchanges passes with Stephen Hunt before his backheel sets up Glenn Whelan, but the France keeper is quickly off his line to save at the midfielder's feet. Agony for the home fans.
2144: Spain beat Argentina 2-1 in that friendly in Madrid thanks to a Xabi Alonso double.
2143: Six minutes remaining at Croke Park and a second goal for France looks more likely than an Irish equaliser at the moment. Hosts running out of steam.
From From Jorge and Tom, via text on 81111: "Anxiously watching the text commentary in a bar in Carnaby St. Ignoring all the hot girls. Vamos Portugal."
2139: Kevin Kilbane gifts France a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 as his attempted backpass falls dreadfully short. Nicolas Anelka nips in and his shot is parried by Shay Given, Andre-Pierre Gignac sidefooting the rebound woefully wide.
2136: The Van Persie news - or lack of it - keeps coming.
MFBorman on Twitter
reckons it's an ankle injury, not knee.
2134: Xabi Alonso scores his and Spain's second from the penalty spot to put his side 2-1 up against Argentina in the friendly in Madrid. Damien Duff is replaced by Aiden McGeady for Ireland.
From Denis via text on 81111: "Bosnia hit the crossbar few minutes before the end of the first half and had another good chance when a keeper saved a half volley to his lower left. It's certainly not over."
2131: France have the away goal against Ireland. One-touch passing sets up Nicolas Anelka and his shot takes a wicked deflection off Sean St Ledger and goes in off the post. Lucky goal, but France have been the better side in this second half.
2129: Giovanni Trapattoni makes his first change, and Kevin Doyle's hard work for the night is done. The striker is replaced by Leon Best. Twenty minutes remaining and still 0-0.
2127: Boos from the home fans at Croke Park as Patrice Evra pokes the ball forward and then looks for the challenge from Shay Given, diving dramatically over the keeper's outstretched arms. No penalty.
2122: Thanks to the wonder of video-sharing - and you lovely people - I have now seen the Robin van Persie injury. He seemed to twist his knee - or his ankle? - as he chased a ball into the box and was challenged by Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini just as he was looking to shoot. He was stretchered off - but still hard to say how serious it is.
2122: Just as France look like they're turning the screw, Ireland spring into action with a swift counter, but Hugo Lloris comes through a crowd to collect Damien Duff's cross from the right.
2118: HALF-TIME Portugal 1-0 Bosnia
Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek after the 2-1 defeat by Russia: "I'm unhappy with the result but it's better to be wounded than dead. This defeat leaves us chances to qualify for the finals. I'm confident that at home we will have luck on our side."
2114: Lassana Diarra catches one beautifully from about 30 yards out, but the ball swerves just past Shay Given's left-hand post. Still 0-0.
2109: John O'Shea chests the ball down, turns and shoots... very, very badly. More of a looping pass in the end. Leo Messi, already a big favourite in Madrid, has equalised from the spot for Argentina against Spain at the Vicente Calderon stadium.
From dutchfinest on 606:
"Dutch radio just reports that Van Persie will be flown to a hospital in Holland to take scans/photos, nothing known about how serious the injury is though."
2104: They're under way in the second half at Croke Park - and we have a goal at the Estadio da Luz where Bruno Alves has headed Portugal in front against Bosnia after 31 minutes.
From Rafael4Brazil on 606:
"Re 2050: it's because Advocaat wants discipline from his players. Kompany was supposed to start against Hungary but he arrived a bit too late and lost his place in the starting line-up."
BBC Sport's Stephen Fottrell in Dublin: "Croke Park crowd still optimistic, confident of another good chance or two in second half. As for France, Henry and Anelka not hooking up well, but individually threatening when they get forward. French fans drowned out but trying their best."
2054: Arsenal fans, if I find out anything more about that reported injury to Robin van Persie, you'll be the first to know. Promise.
2050: Marouane Fellaini has given Belgium a 1-0 lead in a friendly against Hungary. I only mention it because there was a report in the papers today saying the big-haired Everton midfielder's international future was in doubt after a falling-out with Dick Advocaat. Fellaini missed a World Cup qualifier to keep a dentist appointment, and wore the wrong-coloured socks to a training session, according to the report.
2047: HALF-TIME Rep of Ire 0-0 France
From OBAMATRON on Twitter:
"Maradona (Spain 1:0 Argentina) and Domenech (Ireland 0:0 France) compete in real time to see who can get the least out of most talent."
2040: Thierry Henry battles well to win the ball in the box, but pokes the shot just wide. Not many chances to speak about in this first half... haha, Yoann Gourcuff is a lavishly talented player, but you wouldn't guess it from that little episode: he's just almost tripped over while trying a backheel - which went to no-one.
2037: A great roar as Robbie Keane wins the ball in midfield and Liam Lawrence makes good progress down the right. Only Damien Duff in the box though. Disappointing.
BBC Sport's Stephen Fottrell in Dublin: "Disbelief at that missed Irish chance. Irish fans hoping that wasn't the best chance of the half gone."
2031: Wait, wait. Replays show that the defender putting Lawrence under pressure - Patrice Evra - actually deflected the shot wide. So unlucky. Keith Andrews sidefoots an effort wide after a lovely move from the hosts. Half an hour gone and still 0-0.
2028: Ireland come so, so close to taking the lead. France keeper Hugo Lloris does well to smother Robbie Keane's shot but Liam Lawrence is onto the rebound, but under pressure from the defender, he shoots wide with the goal gaping. Some of the home fans were already celebrating as the ball skimmed past the post.
2022: TEAMS Portugal v Bosnia Portugal: Eduardo, Ferreira, Alves, Carvalho, Duda, Pepe, Deco, Meireles, Simao, Nani, Liedson. Bosnia: Hasagic, Jahic, Nadarevic, Spahic, Ibricic, Muratovic, Rahimic, Misimovic, Salihovic, Ibisevic, Dzeko.
From Daniel, Sunderland fan in Durham, via text on 81111: "Can't believe all the derogatory comments aimed at Bent, the lad didn't have the best game but the ammunition for him just was not good enough. He's better than Heskey surely."
2013: A couple of you have now reported that Robin van Persie has been stretchered off for the Netherlands, who are facing Italy tonight. Bad news for Arsenal, if that's the case.
2009: Xabi Alonso has given Spain a 16th-minute lead against Maradona's Argentina. That game is being played to celebrate the centenary of the Spanish football federation - although there is some doubt about whether the federation has actually been in existence for 100 years.
2005: France's entire back four are on a yellow card, by the way, so any bookings will rule them out of the second leg.
2001: And they're off at Croke Park. Still half an hour to go until Portugal and Bosnia kick off.
1958: Didn't even need the sound on to hear the roar from Croke Park after the anthems. They are up for this in a big way. Meanwhile, Greece-Ukraine has ended 0-0. As a neutral, it's hard to get too excited about that one... Can they both lose?
BBC Sport's Stephen Fottrell in Dublin: "A sea of green in Croke Park. Noise is deafening. Expectation huge."
1953: Traps goes for the more defensive Liam Lawrence ahead of Aiden McGeady on the right of midfield in the only change from the side that faced Italy. Jeremy Toulalan isn't fit for France so his place is taken by Alou Diarra, who will form a defensive midfield partnership with Lassana Diarra. The attacking triumvirate of Thierry Henry, Andre-Pierre Gignac and Nicolas Anelka means £30m striker Karim Benzema is sur la bench, as they no doubt say in France.
1949: TEAMS Rep of Ireland v France Rep of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, St. Ledger, Dunne, Kilbane, Lawrence, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Doyle, Keane. Subs: Joe Murphy, McGeady, McShane, Kelly, Gibson, Hunt, Best. France: Lloris, Sagna, Gallas, Abidal, Evra, Lassana Diarra, Alou Diarra, Gourcuff, Anelka, Gignac, Henry. Subs: Mandanda, Escude, Govou, Benzema, Sissoko, Malouda, Squillaci.
1946: And a Ronaldo-less Portugal are at home against Bosnia-Hercegovina in the first leg of their play-off. And there are some tasty looking friendlies too, not least Spain v Argentina and Italy v Netherlands.
1944: Onwards though. Six places still remain at the 2010 World Cup, which kicks off in 208 days. Tonight, Ireland host France in the first leg of what manager Giovanni Trapattoni has described as their World Cup final. What will he say if Ireland actually reach the World Cup final?
1941: Nonetheless, incredible scenes in Cairo as Egypt score deep into Fergie... ahem, injury time to secure a play-off on Wednesday. The goal has actually now gone to Emad Moteab. I can't decide if I want to be in Cairo right now - but I know I definitely want to be in Sudan on Wednesday.
1939: Er... Hi. First things first: manually refresh this page to wipe out Jonathan Stevenson - as indeed that goal by Egypt appears to have already succeeded in doing.
By Jonathan Stevenson
1935: It's full-time in Cairo. It's Egypt 2-0 Algeria. There will be a play-off in Sudan on Wednesday. I think I'm about to cry. Here's Cheesy - have a brilliant night everyone.
1932: If it stays like this, there will be a play-off in Sudan between Egypt and Algeria on Wednesday, because these two teams are now level in every single way. Emad Moteab is the man who has sent a country into delirium.
1931: EGYPT HAVE SCORED IN THE FIFTH MINUTE OF INJURY TIME. IT'S 2-0. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE THINGS IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL.
1928: They are well into stoppage time, but there will be six minutes of it in Egypt. Good gracious.
1926: Into injury time in Cairo. One more goal...
From Dave in Glasgow, via text on 81111: "Cheer up Chris at 1916. It could be worse, you could be Scottish."
1922: Full-time Northern Ireland 0-1 Serbia Game over in Belfast and though it's another disappointing friendly result for the hosts, they did play pretty well and can count themselves unfortunate not to have taken something from the contest.
1921: It's all Egypt in Cairo. They keep pumping crosses into the Algeria box, but the visitors are keeping them at bay. There isn't that much longer - but one more Egypt goal would mean a one-off play-off in Sudan on Wednesday.
England manager Fabio Capello: "Tonight I think we played the best team in the world, and Dunga's first choice XI as well. They are the best team we have played under me, I think. I was happy enough with our first-half performance, but after the goal I felt we lost our shape on the pitch a bit. Still, I learned things tonight - I understand the value of some players against this sort of team better now - but I will not single out players. This Brazil team is very good, but our first choice XI will be better than tonight."
1917: So close for David Healy in Belfast, the Sunderland striker latching on to a pass from Steven Davies and curling one inches wide of the far post from the edge of the Serbia area.
1916: I love this text so much I'm giving it an actual build-up:
From Chris in Luton, via text on 81111: "No positives. No hope. Disappointed in Capello tonight. England were outthought, outclassed and outplayed. Brown, Milner, Jenas, Bent and Wright-Phillips in particular should be embarrassed at their performances. On this showing, I'd rather we pull out of the World Cup than show ourselves up on the international stage."
1913: So, Stoke's Liam Lawrence is preferred to Celtic's Aiden McGeady in the Republic side, while Jeremy Toulalan has been ruled out for France through injury. Alou Diarra is expected to be drafted into the visitors' midfield.
1912: Grant McCann curls a delicious 30-yard left-foot free-kick a couple of inches over Bojan Isailovic's crossbar at Windsor Park. Cracking effort.
1910: Republic of Ireland team to play France: Given, O'Shea, St Ledger, Dunne, Kilbane, Duff, Andrews, Whelan, Lawrence, Doyle, Keane.
England captain Wayne Rooney: "It was a difficult game for us. We created some chances but Brazil were the better team and deserved to win, that's disappointing. Brazil move the ball so well, they make you chase every yard, and that's hard over 90 minutes, but we're better than we showed tonight. We're looking to improve with every game and thankfully this is only a friendly, so we'll try to move on."
1906: Don't forget, Serbia finished top of France's group in World Cup qualifying, so Northern Ireland aren't doing badly at all. It's been fairly even at Windsor Park. Still N Ire 0-1 Serbia. Everton boss David Moyes looks on.
From manfrombelmonty on 606:
"Egypt v Algeria is still going on and is still balanced nicely at 1-0. Egyptian keeper's made a decent save to keep his team in it in the second half. Egypt press forward, Algeria sit deep and try to counter... Twenty-odd minutes of nervy footy to go."
1859: I'm staying with you until the end of Northern Ireland 0-1 Serbia and the crucial Egypt 1-0 Algeria qualifier. I'd say around 20 minutes left in both. At 1930 GMT, Cheesy will be taking over. She's readying herself as I type these very words.
1856: Full-time Brazil 1-0 England Fabio Capello suffers his fourth defeat as England boss, but despite missing most of their first XI they were by no means outplayed by the lively Brazilians. No more England action until March now.
1854: Tom Huddlestone picks out Jermain Defoe and his cross is so close to finding Peter Crouch. England have given it a bit of a go in the closing stages.
1852: Into injury time in Qatar, there will be four minutes for England to find a leveller. Northern Ireland bring on David Healy in Belfast.
BBC Sport's Stephen Fottrell in Dublin: "Electric atmosphere around Croke Park in the build up to what feels like Ireland's biggest match for years. It has the feel of one of the Jack Charlton era about it. Huge optimism, the Irish fans believe Trap's men can get a result tonight to carry into Wednesday in Paris."
1848: Ashley Young comes on for the last couple of minutes in place of James Milner, who has put in another decent shift tonight. Better work on those corners though, James.
Serbia goal: Lovely move from the Serbs down the left and it's finished off beautifully by captain Danko Lazovic 15 yards out, side-footing low into the bottom corner.
1845: GOAL Northern Ireland 0-1 Serbia
1844: England bring Peter Crouch and Tom Huddlestone on for the last few minutes in Doha.
1842: It's still Egypt 1-0 Algeria. Repeat, it's still Egypt 1-0 Algeria. And we all know what that means. Julio Baptista and Carlos Eduardo come on for Kaka and Nilmar.
1841: International Macca: "A bright start to the second half for Northern Ireland, who are so close to opening the scoring as Chris Brunt sends in a stonker of a cross that looks perfect for Kyle Lafferty, but the striker is a touch too casual and cannot apply the finish. Oh and moments later Brunt has an even better chance at the back post but he directs a right-foot effort the wrong side of the upright."
1840: Brazil's right-footed central defender Lucio hits a left-foot screamer from 25 yards that beats Ben Foster and crashes against the keeper's left-hand post. Most Brazilian thing ever? Moments later, Wayne Rooney's 20-yard daisycutter is gathered in by Julio Cesar.
1838: James Milner's corner doesn't beat the first man - totally unforgiveable - and Brazil counter with stunning speed. Maicon eventually clips over a fine cross for Nilmar at the back post and his goalbound header is blocked by Wes Brown.
1837: There are 15 minutes left plus stoppages in Doha, and it's Brazil 1-0 England.
1835: International Macca update: "The players have kicked off the second half at Windsor Park and a bit of injury news for Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson. It's not Nemanja Vidic but Jonny Evans, who has picked up a calf injury and has been replaced by Grant McCann. The Serbs have thrown on three subs. I'm afraid I've not got enough consonants on my keyboard to tell you about all of them."
From The-Kop-Prophet on 606:
"See - Defoe just as anonymous as Bent. It's all about the service. Please let's look at Huddlestone and Warnock."
1831: Closest England have come. Shaun Wright-Phillips sweeps over a cross from the right and James Milner meets it at the far post, side-footing a volley a foot over the bar from eight yards. Unlucky.
1829: Luis Fabiano's evening ends in something of a daze, so Hulk comes on in his place for his Brazil debut. A proud moment for the big man.
From vic7000 on Twitter:
"Jenas off please. Awful player. Don't care who replaces him. Cahill if necessary - would be an improvement."
1826: Dani Alves comes on for Elano as Dunga makes Brazil's first change.
1824: So, at half-time in the Cairo International Stadium, it's Egypt 1-0 Algeria. As it stands, the Algerians will be going to the World Cup.
Their bus was stoned on arrival -
imagine what might happen if they take a place at South Africa 2010 back home with them.
1822: International Macca: "Romania beat Poland 1-0 in a game between two sides who failed to make it to the World Cup. Up later, Spain face Argentina and the Dutch are playing Italy. It's almost like it's the World Cup semis already."
1821: England are getting tired and picked off a bit now, and Elano slices horribly wide after Luis Fabiano's clever back-heel.
1820: Half-time Northern Ireland 0-0 Serbia The half-time whistle has gone at Windsor Park, bringing an end to a decent 45 minutes with chances at both ends. Just before the interval Sdravko Kuzmanovic had the best opportunity of the game after Serbia carved open the Northern Ireland defence, but he fired over.
1818: Sorry, it was a penalty to Brazil - Wes Brown gets it hopelessly wrong, trying to chest a long ball back to Ben Foster and leaving his keeper hopelessly exposed. Luis Fabiano gets there first and clips it past Foster, who brings him down. Foster is booked - because it's only a friendly - and Luis Fabiano blazes the spot-kick miles over the bar.
1817: MISSED PENALTY
1817: PENALTY TO BRAZIL
1816: Elano fires in a cross from the right and it looks like it might just be creeping in at the near post before Ben Foster flaps it clear. Darren Bent's miserable evening comes to an end as Jermain Defoe comes on for the Sunderland striker, who may have only touched the ball 11 times.
1812: Shaun Wright-Phillips is fouled by Michel Bastos down the England right and from the free-kick, the little winger's goalbound volley from 20 yards is blocked.
1810: International Macca: "A good chance for Northern Ireland as Chris Baird gets free of his marker to glance a near-post header just past the far stick. The Serbs look pretty handy when they get on the ball though. I'd be surprised if this one ends goalless."
Brazil goal: Magical stuff. Elano floats a gorgeous pass from 40 yards on to the head of Nilmar, who has crept in-between Wes Brown and Matty Upson and plants a superb header past Ben Foster into the far corner.
1808: GOAL Brazil 1-0 England
1807: Back under way in Doha, no changes at the break. The England fans bash out the national anthem.
From Nick, Newbury, via text on 81111: "Nilmar looked a big threat to England in the first half, but he's a living jigsaw - falls to pieces in the box."
1759: Cheesy update: "All over in Moscow and Russia take a 2-1 lead over Slovenia into Wednesday's second leg in Maribor. Russia boss Guus Hiddink will be fuming at the way his side switched off after dominating for 85 minutes. It could have been worse too: Igor Akinfeyev made a brilliant reaction save in injury time to keep his side ahead. Greece and Ukraine are moments away from kick-off in today's second European qualifying play-off first leg tie."
1754: Friendly update: Slovakia beat USA 1-0 in Bratislava, thanks to a Marek Hamsik penalty.
1751: Half-time Brazil 0-0 England I think Don Fabio would have taken that, had the Italian master tactician been offered it before kick-off. Expect a raft of changes and hopefully a couple of goals after the break.
1750: My word this is a big update from Cheesy. The words 'melting pot' spring to mind: "Two minutes remaining in Moscow and Slovenia conjure up their first effort on target through Rob Koren. It's an absolutely cracking drive which Igor Akinfeyev can only parry, and Nejc Pencnik heads in the rebound for what could be a crucial away goal. Unbelievably, it's Russia 2-1 Slovenia."
1745: Northern Ireland have started pretty brightly at Windsor Park, but they have keeper Maik Taylor to thank for it still being 0-0. He pulls off a flying save to keep out a right-foot curler from the edge of the area by the Swiss-born Stuttgart midfielder Sdravko Kuzmanovic.
1743: Russia have hauled Spurs striker Roman Pavlyucheko off in Moscow, only a few minutes left as they lead Slovenia 2-0 in their World Cup play-off first leg. He's had a decent evening,
the wantaway striker.
1742: You know, it's not a bad game at all, this friendly in Doha. Of course while it's 0-0, it'll probably get panned. But both teams are looking threatening going forward, and there's some decent defending on show too.
1739: Thiago Silva bundles Wayne Rooney over on the edge of the box and the ref plays advantage, Darren Bent's shot eventually being deflected wide. Rooney is furious - the armband hasn't calmed him down.
1738: Wayne Rooney cuts in from the left and lashes a wild shot miles over Julio Cesar's bar from 30 yards.
From Logos on 606:
"Wright-Phillips is rubbish, he has no quality on the ball and can't pass. The Bent-Rooney partnership isn't really working either, they need to get the ball to Bent a bit more. England have defended quite well though."
1735: Kaka's curler from the left-hand side of the penalty area is caught by a diving Ben Foster. Brazil have moved up a cheeky gear.
1733: A corner from the Brazil right is cleared to Felipe Melo on the edge of the box and his attempted curler is straight into the arms of Ben Foster.
1732: They are under way between Northern Ireland and Serbia in Belfast.
1731: Remember: If Egypt win 1-0, Algeria qualify. If Egypt win 3-0, they qualify. If Egypt win 2-0, the two teams would be level in every way - points, goal difference, goals scored and head-to-head record. In that instance, they would meet again on Wednesday in a one-off play-off in Sudan.
1730: International Macca: "So Cameroon join hosts South Africa plus Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria as qualifiers for when the World Cup finals take place in Africa for the first time next year. There's one more African place up for grabs and Egypt and Algeria are about to kick off for that final spot, in an absolute belter in Cairo."
1728: Fine cross from the right from James Milner and Darren Bent gets up well but it's a fraction too high and he can only direct the ball wide.
1727: I had to blink twice there, just to check it wasn't Roberto Carlos - Michael Bastos bombs forward from left-back and rifles a sizzling shot just past the far post.
1726: CAMEROON QUALIFY FOR THE 2010 WORLD CUP
1724: Kaka plays a brilliant one-two with the in-form Luis Fabiano, but Matty Upson makes a perfect last-ditch tackle to deny the Real Madrid star a shooting chance. Like Bobby Moore in his pomp, that one.
1723: Twice Shaun Wright-Phillips kicks the ball out of play for a goalkick down the England right after mis-hitting passes to Jermaine Jenas and Wes Brown. Oh goody, the Mexican Wave's started already in Doha. For crying out loud.
1720: Matthew Upson does better in his second tussle with Nilmar, preventing the striker going through on goal, but it's Ben Foster's go to have a lucky escape as his scuffed clearance nearly falls for Kaka in a shooting position.
From Dave, via text on 81111: "Stevo, see 1650, if Burley does go surely they can't look much further than Billy Davies to replace him? And I'm a Derby fan! Any thoughts?" Hmm... maybe Burley isn't doing such a bad job after all?
1715: It's double your roubles time in Moscow. Cheesy latest: "Slovenia's defence goes missing again and Russia are in charge at 2-0. Roman Pavlyuchenko, who set up the first goal, plays a lovely pass for Andrey Arshavin, but he looks to have made a mess of it when he gives Diniyar Bilyaletdinov a difficult cut-back. The ball comes off the Everton winger, but fortuitously ricochets back to him off Konstantin Zyryanov, and Billy slots it low into the corner."
1714: Matthew Upson is mugged in the right-back position by Nilmar - the Hammers defender is very lucky that Joleon Lescott cuts out the striker's cross from the left, could've been a costly error that.
1712: Northern Ireland have dropped record scorer David Healy, who is on the bench, with Warren Feeney partnering Kyle Lafferty up front. Jonny Evans, George McCartney and Chris Brunt also earn starts after missing the 0-0 draw in the Czech Republic. Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic was included in the Serbia side after a three-week absence because of a calf injury.
1710: Felipe Melo ploughs forward before hitting a wild shot high and wide from 30 yards. It's a typical start for a friendly in Doha.
1706: Great start from Shaun Wright-Phillips down the right - he races past debutant Michel Bastos and fires over a great-looking cross that just evades Wayne Rooney at the far post.
1706: And a League Two finish from Sammy: "A rare goal for Mark Arber is enough to see off Accrington Stanley and send Dagenham and Redbridge top of League Two, then, with Bournemouth held away at Bradford. Just behind those two in the table, Chesterfield draw level on points with third-placed Rochdale thanks to David Perkins's second-half winner at Spotland, while Nicky Law strikes in injury time to see Rotherham snatch victory away to Port Vale. The other big result of the day sees rock-bottom Darlington secure only their second league win of the season with a shock victory over Burton Albion, while Bury's topsy-turvy encounter with Notts County ends all square thanks to Matt Richie's 77th-minute leveller and Morecambe hold on for the three points against Crewe. Honours even elsewhere on a day of shared points in England's fourth tier."
1705: Wrap up from League One Dawkesy: "Charlton have sent out a resounding warning to their League One title rivals with a 5-1 demolition of fellow challengers MK Dons. Norwich stay in the hunt courtesy of a 2-0 win over Tranmere, but Colchester were held 2-2 by struggling Exeter. Chris Lines' last-minute winner gave Bristol Rovers a 3-2 win over Carlisle, drawing them level on points with seventh-placed Millwall, who drew 2-2 at Brentford. There were 1-0 wins for Gillingham, Hartlepool and Yeovil, whilst Walsall beat Stockport 2-0. Huddersfield smashed six past Wycombe in the early kick-off and that is very much that."
From Murtini on 606:
"Nilmar is a class player, he's going to rip us to shreds. Got him on first goalscorer."
1658: Brazil have got Dani Alves on the bench. This could be a long evening for England in Doha.
1657: There might be a few players missing, but the Qataris don't care. They roll out the red carpet and a great fanfare greets the teams as they emerge at the Khalifa International Stadium.
1654: Brazil v England line-ups: Brazil: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Thiago Silva, Michel Bastos, Felipe Melo, Silva, Elano, Kaka, Nilmar, Luis Fabiano. Subs: Doni, Dani Alves, Luisao, Juan, Aurelio, Josue, Lucas, Alex, Julio Baptista, Robinho, Carlos Eduardo, Hulk. England: Foster, Brown, Upson, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Jenas, Milner, Rooney, Bent. Subs: Green, Cahill, Warnock, Huddlestone, Crouch, Defoe, Young, Hart.
1650: Full-time Wales 3-0 Scotland That was a drubbing, make no mistake about it. If George Burley keeps his job, he's a very lucky manager indeed.
1648: More from International Macca: "Cameroon have taken another step towards a place in SA 2010 as Samuel Eto'o makes it 2-0 seven minutes after the break. The Lions Indomitables look like they are roaring on to their sixth World Cup finals."
1646: Oh my word, Scotland have only gone and scored four times... in their Under-21 game against Azerbaijan. You didn't think..? Oh come on. In Cardiff, Alan Hutton cynically scythes down David Cotterill - so because it's a friendly, you can't get sent off? More lame refereeing.
1644: Cheesy latest: "Russia take the lead against Slovenia through a fabulous goal from Everton winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov - only his third international goal. Billy picks up Roman Pavlyuchenko's pass and beats two defenders with a sensational turn before smashing the shot right-footed into the top corner.
1642: Scotland's best two chances of the half, firstly Barry Robson forcing a fine save from Wayne Hennessey and then the Wolves keeper pulling off a fabulous save to tip over Kevin Kyle's header.
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds: "The disappointing thing for me is the lack of reaction from the Scotland players after going 3-0 down. There's no energy."
1637: Leicester's Andy King on for Joe Ledley for Wales. Boy did this game die a long time ago.
1637: League One Dawkesy: "It's hardly been a goal-tastic second half in League One but significant results appear to be taking shape. Charlton look set to keep hold of second place, leading as they do now 3-1 against MK Dons. Norwich have broken the resilience of struggling Tranmere, thanks to Wes Hoolahan's penalty, whilst Gillingham have dispatched spot-kick of their own - Curtis Weston giving them the lead at home to Oldham. Meanwhile, Walsall have doubled their lead over Stockport and Carlisle are back ahead at Bristol Rovers. Still enough time for things to change though."
1636: Derek Riordan comes on for Don Cowie for Scotland. Dear me.
1635: Latest from International Macca: "So 15 minutes or so to go in Cardiff but we already have a couple of international results so far. World Cup hosts South Africa had to settle for a 0-0 draw in Port Elizabeth against Japan, who were the first team to qualify for the Finals back in June, despite the return of coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and striker Benni McCarthy. Meanwhile Macedonia have beaten Canada 3-0 in Skopje - all three goals coming in the second half."
1634: Ashley Williams plays a nice one-two with Robert Earnshaw but fires his shot miles off target from the edge of the Scotland box. It's a walk in the park for the Welsh.
1630: Robert Earnshaw fancies his chances of scoring this afternoon, but his first touch is a bit heavy and the Scots clear the danger on that occasion. Just don't get injured again, Earnie, OK?
1628: Barry Robson replaces Graham Dorrans for Scotland. It's like a roll-call of mediocrity.
1627: I don't want to make anyone feel worse, but Scotland have been abject. If this performance doesn't get George Burley the sack, I'll be astonished. They can barely string one pass together.
1625: League Two Sammy: "Keith Hill must have kept some fireworks to one side this month because his Rochdale side have come out for the second half like a rocket, banging in two quick goals to draw themselves level against Chesterfield, while Bury also emerged with fire in their belly to regain the lead against Notts County. Dagenham and Redbridge continue to lead against Accrington Stanley and remain top of the pops as it stands, while at the other end of the table Darlington continue to lead Burton as they target only their second league win this season. Morecambe, meanwhile, lead Crewe by a goal and it is all square in the other games, so plenty of scope for change in the closing 20-odd minutes."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds: "This is the time for Scotland players to show they are right behind George Burley. They must show more character."
From supafunkyalex on Twitter:
"Please explain to me why the brilliant Ashley Young never gets a chance for England! Just what England need down the left." Um, dunno. Needs to be a bit more consistent, maybe.
1621: Scotland also bring Ross McCormack on at his home stadium, the Cardiff striker replacing Steven Naismith.
1620: James McFadden is replaced by Kevin Kyle as George Burley makes another change. He needs a miracle, not another substitution.
1619: Anyone want to hear from Cheesy? From Russia with love: "Entertaining encounter at the Luzhniki Stadium, where Yuri Zhirkov, Andrey Arshavin, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Roman Pavlyuchenko all start for Russia against underdogs Slovenia. The visitors look pretty handy on the break, and have had a Valter Birsa shot deflected wide, but their defence has just allowed Zhirkov to skip through about four challenges before keeper Samir Handanovic came to the rescue by saving with his leg."
1618: Wales send on Danny Gabbidon for Lewin Nyatanga. About half an hour left in the usually rainy Welsh capital (I can say that, I lived there for three years). The Tartan Army are furious - and they are letting George Burley know.
From Jonah, a weary Wales fan from Lyneham, via text on 81111: "The worst thing is, if Wales do win this match it means Toshack will have strengthened his position. This is a bad, bad thing. Come on Scotland." Wow. Time to fill up that half-empty pint isn't it, Jonah?
1614: Take a bow, son, as a famous pundit might say. Aaron Ramsey gets a standing ovation as he is taken off and young Joe Allen comes on for the Welsh.
1612: Scotland haul off debutant Danny Fox for Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller for Steven Fletcher at the Cardiff City Stadium.
1610: About 10 minutes gone in the first Euro World Cup play-off match, as Russia take on Slovenia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
From SimpreZola on 606:
"Capello has made a masterstroke in my opinion. He's got players (most of them) playing for their international futures and I think they are going to perform very well. Should be an exciting match."
1605: Cyrill Zimmermann, hang your head in shame. It might be a friendly, but I didn't realise we were playing by different rules. Ched Evans bursts through and clips it over David Marshall, who has raced outside his area to deal with the danger, but he handles to prevent Evans scoring. It has to be a red card, but the Swiss ref gives a yellow. Gareth Bale's free-kick is deflected wide.
1603: Back under way in Cardiff. Wales have brought on strikers Robert Earnshaw and Sam Vokes for the second half.
Former Scotland manager Craig Brown: "The worrying thing for me is that this is far from Wales' strongest side."
1559: League One Dawkesy: "At half-time, Charlton's 2-1 lead means they are still winning the battle with MK Dons to narrow the league-lead of Leeds United (whose game with Swindon was postponed due to international call-ups) to four points. Colchester were level with Exeter for roughly three minutes before City re-established their one-goal advantage on the stroke of the break. Bristol Rovers and Carlisle are drawing 1-1 whilst Walsall lead 1-0 at home to Stockport. Barring Huddersfield's 6-0 demolition of Wycombe in the early kick-off it's a goal-free zone. Although, Yeovil's chances of breaking down Southend's resistance should be helped by the visitors being a man light due to Sean Morrison's sending off."
1557: League Two Sammy: "Lee Hughes has grabbed a second to level things up for Notts County at Bury, while Jack Lester has echoed those scoring feats to hand Chesterfield a valuable two-goal lead over promotion rivals Rochdale. Leaders Dagenham and Redbridge, meanwhile, lead Accrington Stanley thanks to Mark Arber's goal - and that would be enough to see them top the table this evening with Bournemouth being held by Bradford. A real nip and tuck afternoon in this division, then, keep your eyes peeled during the second half now won't you"
John from Aberdeen, via text on 81111: "GET BURLEY OUT!"
1546: Half-time Wales 3-0 Scotland
1545: Into the final moments of the first half in Cardiff. "What a load of rubbish," shout the Tartan Army. By George they're right.
1544: By the way, Brazil v England in Doha of all places kicks off at 1700 GMT. This is what we believe: Fabio Capello said his midfield would be Carrick, Barry, Milner and Wright-Phillips. He said he is more likely to pick Darren Bent alongside Wayne Rooney because he knows enough about Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe, and he hinted that Wayne Bridge would get the nod over Stephen Warnock. So the likely line-up is: Green, Brown, Upson, Lescott/Cahill (or Terry if fit), Bridge, Carrick, Barry, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Rooney, Bent.
From green_pegasus on 606:
"Fair play to Wales they are hammering us, it's embarrassing at the moment being a Scottish footie fan."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds: "I'm just gobsmacked. Defensively, Scotland are all over the place. We certainly don't want to lose a fourth goal..."
1538: How did Wales not just win a penalty? After Ched Evans' shot is saved Simon Church is shoved to the ground inside the Scotland box by Graham Dorrans, but for some reason referee Cyrill Zimmermann waves play on. Rubbish decision. Wales are rampant.
Wales goal: That boy Aaron Ramsey - he's got some talent, hasn't he? Scotland lose possession in their own half and the Arsenal teenager makes them pay, skipping past Gary Caldwell as if he wasn't there and then bundling his way past Darren Fletcher before slotting past David Marshall. Wow.
Wales goal: Another fine move and Wales have only gone and doubled their lead. Aaron Ramsey slips Ched Evans in down the left and his low cross is turned into the net by Simon Church - his first goal for his country.
1532: GOAL Wales 2-0 Scotland
1531: League One Dawkesy: "In the day's big encounter at The Valley it is currently 2-1 to Charlton against MK Dons, the visitors having taken the lead through Aaron Wilbraham before David Mooney equalised three minutes later and Nicky Bailey put the home side ahead. A possible shock on the cards as Exeter lead 1-0 at fourth-place Colchester courtesy of a Stuart Fleetwood goal. Millwall trail 2-1 at Brentford (courtesy of two John Bostock goals), whilst Carlisle lead 1-0 at Bristol Rovers."
1529: League Two latest from Sammy: "Not a huge amount to crow about in League Two just yet, though Curtis Main's strike has given rock-bottom Darlington a sniff of a shock win over promotion chasers Burton Albion. Elsewhere, Daniel Nardiello and Andy Morrell have given Bury the advantage over promotion rivals Notts County, despite Lee Hughes's reply, while Morecambe and Cheltenham lead Crewe and Lincoln City respectively away from home. Apart from that, goals are thinner on the ground than talent in a Big Brother house. So far."
1527: Talking of brilliant crosses, there's one from Danny Fox down the Scotland left that just evades Steven Naismith in the centre.
1525: Gareth Bale's got a lovely cross on him, hasn't he? The Spurs full-back sends over a delightful ball from the left that just evades the head of Ched Evans in the middle. Bale was linked with a move to Forest this week - damn it, I'd walk to Cardiff and carry him to Nottingham if that would seal the deal.
From delixu on Twitter:
"Brazil to win 3-1? Have you watched Dunga's men play lately Stevo?" Yep. Good, aren't they?
1522: Scotland will wonder how they are losing after bossing the early stages. But goals win games, that's a fact. By the way, the Wales goal was scored by David Edwards. I'm having a howler.
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds: "It's unbelievable after we've been talking about the great start Scotland have made! Steven Naismith lost his man, but it's a great finish. The Scots look stunned."
Wales goal: You will not see a better goal today. The brilliant Aaron Ramsey plays a lovely one-two down the Welsh right with Sam Ricketts and then picks out David Edwards with his inch-perfect cross, the midfielder acrobatically volleying past David Marshall from 12 yards. Fabulous stuff.
1517: GOAL Wales 1-0 Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds: "George Burley will be delighted with the start Scotland have made. The Scots have had so much possession."
1513: Wales come back into it a little bit more, until Joe Ledley swings his left boot at the ball 25 yards out and slices it well wide. There's been some decent stuff so far.
1510: Scotland are playing some nice stuff - until Graham Dorrans boots a cross over the bar and behind for a goalkick. Better start from the visitors by miles.
From Eugene, Crawley, via text on 81111: "Stevo, fair play for the prediction mate, but if that's the final score in Portugal tonight, I'll let you pick my forfeit."
1505: Good move from the Scots as Danny Fox swings over a cross from the left and James McFadden's shot is saved by the legs of Wayne Hennessey. Moments later, Kenny Miller fires wide from 16 yards.
1503: Of course I meant Scotland keeper David Marshall. Refresh if that's gonna bug you all afternoon.
1502: Early test for Scotland keeper David Marshall in the swirling wind in Cardiff as Sam Ricketts' inswinging cross threatens to dip under the bar, but the Cardiff keeper backpedals in time to tip it away from danger.
From darkanddom on 606:
"Unbelievable. Who would have thought Tunisia could not put away Mozambique? Nigeria... here's to you. You did it! Congrats. Now Cameroon's turn."
1501: Under way in Cardiff.
1459: Heartbreak for the Tunisians - after a monumental few minutes, Nigeria seal their place at the greatest show on earth. That was proper mental - and we've still got Egypt v Algeria to come. Phew.
1457: NIGERIA QUALIFY FOR THE 2010 WORLD CUP
1454: The Wales and Scotland teams are out in Cardiff. They're in the death throes of Group B in Africa. It's nail-biting.
Scotland manager George Burley on the far from ideal weather conditions in Cardiff: "Coming from Ayrshire, this is just a wee breeze!"
1449: Wales v Scotland line-ups: Wales: Hennessey, Ricketts, Nyatanga, Williams, Morgan, Bale, Ledley, Ramsey, Edwards, Evans, Church. Subs: Brown, Vokes, Easter, Dorman, Gabbidon, Cotterill, Earnshaw, Matthews, Blake, King, Allen. Scotland: Marshall, Hutton, McManus, Gary Caldwell, Fox, Dorrans, Darren Fletcher, Cowie, Miller, Naismith, McFadden. Subs: Langfield, Gallacher, Wallace, Berra, Steven Caldwell, Steven Fletcher, McCormack, Robson, Kyle, Riordan, Adam. Referee: Cyrill Zimmermann (Switzerland).
1446: This is incredible. Kenya have just made it 2-2 so now as it stands, Tunisia will go to the World Cup - even though they now trail to Mozambique. I wonder if news has filtered through to the fans in Maputo yet?
From HarveyMayne on Twitter:
"Not quite a full League One programme. The mighty Whites' game postponed due to international call-ups. Who would have thought?"
1442: Twenty years ago, Egypt beat Algeria 1-0 to qualify for the 1990 World Cup (where they lost 1-0 to England). But their 1-0 win in Cairo led to rioting and at a post-game reception, the Egyptian team doctor lost an eye after being hit by a broken bottle. The 80,000 inside the Cairo Stadium today will be baying for blood.
They don't like each other - here's Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan:
"Algeria once said that their trip to Egypt will be joyful and full of entertainment, but I assure them that it won't." Watch this space.
1437: Back to Africa.
In Group C, anything could happen.
Check this out, fans of awesome things: If Egypt beat Algeria 3-0, the Egyptians qualify. If they win 1-0, Algeria qualify. If they win 2-0, the two teams will be level in every single way - points, goal difference, goals scored and head-to-head record. If that happens, they would have to meet again on Wednesday in a one-off play-off in Sudan. They've got previous, too...
1434: Hold that thought. Firstly, former England Under-21 left-back Danny Fox makes his debut for Scotland today. David Marshall is in goal with Alan Hutton, Gary Caldwell and Stephen McManus completing the defence. Don Cowie, Darren Fletcher, Graham Dorrans and Steven Naismith are in midfield with Kenny Miller and James McFadden up front.
1432:The African qualifiers have reached fever pitch.
Ghana and Ivory Coast are already there and today there will be two or three more. From Group A, it's either Gabon or Cameroon - with the Cameroonians in the box seat. With only a few minutes left in Group B, Tunisia are about to pip Nigeria to a place at South Africa 2010. Wait, there's more...
1430: Stevo's Predos: Wales 1-1 Scotland Russia 2-1 Slovenia Brazil 3-1 England Northern Ireland 1-3 Serbia Egypt 2-0 Algeria Greece 1-1 Ukraine Rep of Ireland 1-0 France Portugal 0-1 Bosnia-Hercegovina
Welsh Footballer of the Year Ashley Williams
will be Wales' new captain in their friendly with Scotland at the Cardiff City Stadium. The Swansea City defender will be the 11th skipper used by John Toshack but the Wales manager could play Williams as a makeshift holding midfielder.
1421:Wales v Scotland
first - it's a friendly all right, but there should be some lively tackles flying around nevertheless. It's the first ever international at the Cardiff City Stadium and it's the 104th meeting between the two countries.
1417: If that's not enough for you, there are three more Euro play-offs, a few more crucial African qualifiers and some other tasty-looking friendlies, including Spain v Argentina and Italy v Netherlands. Oh, did I mention
in the house from 1930 GMT onwards?
1414: So here's what's what and when. Forgive me if I don't include everything, but these are the games we'll be concentrating on:
Wales v Scotland 1500 GMT Brazil v England 1700 GMT Northern Ireland v Serbia 1730 GMT Egypt v Algeria 1730 GMT Republic of Ireland v France 2000 GMT
1410: Wales team: Wayne Hennessey, Sam Ricketts, Gareth Bale, Ashley Williams, Craig Morgan, Lewin Nyatanga, David Edwards, Ched Evans, Simon Church, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Ledley.
1408: I won't lie to you: there is a lot going on today. Four World Cup play-off games, some crucial African qualifiers, a ream of international friendlies and a full League One and League Two programme. I'd be touched if you'd drop us a line:
I'm on Twitter,I pick up texts on 81111 and
you can join the debate on 606
as well. I'm drooling in anticipation...
1404: Yep, it's play-off time - in Europe, there are only four places at the World Cup finals left to play for, and the first legs take place today. Shortly, I'll give you a run down of what stuff's happening when. But firstly, can we agree that
Fifa's very late decision to seed the play-off teams
was a depressing statement of intent from the guardians of our sport? Rant over. Now, on to the football...
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