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Page last updated at 22:58 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

World Cup qualifying as it happened



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Caroline Cheese

2255: I'm going now. Thanks for sticking around. Well done to France, Algeria, Slovenia and Greece. Good luck Uruguay and Costa Rica, who meet later in the second leg of their play-off. And just a quick note for video replays in football: I think I'm ready for you now.

From anon via text on 81111: "I am a lifelong Arsenal fan and huge fan of Thierry Henry, but one of his greatest assets was his personality and honesty. I feel I've lost a lot of respect for a man I adored."

2249: That last text does not reflect the majority of your missives, by the way. I'm just trying to be balanced here. Thierry Henry is taking most of the flak, followed by the officials, followed by Michel Platini.

From anon via text on 81111: "Robbed? 17 shots to Ireland's 6, club football when a team defends most of the game we say that's not football, but Ireland do it and they were robbed, it was a mistake the ref made, get over it..."

2242: I just don't know how to sum that up. I'm a neutral in this: you know, always like an underdog springing an upset, but on the other hand, want to see the big teams at the World Cup. But not like that. Never like that.

2239: The Irish players have found the energy to pick themselves up and thank their fans. How many of these players will get another chance to go to a World Cup? And they've been denied by a blatant handball.

2235: The Irish players are devastated. Devastated.

2233: Thierry Henry is wearing the widest of smiles as the final whistle goes... but now he begins to look reflective as - astonishingly - he sits down next to Irish defender Richard Dunne. Dunne - unbelievably - pats him on the knee.


2232: FULL-TIME France 1-1 Rep of Ireland (Agg 2-1) AET

2231: One minute of added time remaining and Shay Given is up for a free-kick. It's not a very good one and Hugo Lloris gets it clear. France go straight up the other end and Sidney Govou spoons a sitter over the bar.

2230: The referee spots a handball by Nicolas Anelka in the area. ABOUT 20 MINUTES TOO LATE.

2228: Two minutes left now and Hugo Lloris comes right to the edge of his area to punch clear a Shay Given punt. I feel sick. I really do.

From DeleriumDon6345 on 606: "They should not lose this tie. It's a disgrace. Replay the game in Sudan."

2224: Dave, I really don't think this is the incident that will persuade Michel Platini. France trying to squeeze the life out of this game. Sidney Govou makes tracks down the right and wins a corner. Five minutes to go.

From Dave in Hinckley, via text on 81111: "HANDBALL!! Blatant handball from Henry... If the Irish lose on that, someone show the replay to Michel Platini and ask his comments. Maybe this is what we needed for video replays to be finally introduced."

2221: You're probably right, Keith (see below). Anelka was definitely looking for the penalty - but I don't think you would have blamed the ref if he had given it it. No sign of an Irish comeback here, and they look out on their feet. I'm watching an injustice - and I don't really like it.

From Keith, Enniskillen, via text on 81111: "Daylight robbery Cheesy! And it was never a pen! Have another wee look!"

2218: I still can't believe that goal has been given. I'm waiting for the referee to realise his mistake. He will, won't he? Or maybe Thierry Henry will see the error of his ways and own up? Yeah, that will happen, won't it?

2216: We're off again. We can't have penalties now. Ireland will win it with one goal.

2213: It's half-time in extra-time. The Irish players are still surrounding referee Martin Hansson. The ref made a brave move in denying the hosts a penalty, but that is an awful decision. "It's up there with Maradona," sighs Lawro.

2211: EVEN BIGGER CONTROVERSY. This is quite unbelievable. Long ball over the top - and two French players are offside - but forget that, Thierry Henry juggles the ball CLEARLY with his hand before squaring for William Gallas to bundle in. The Republic of Ireland have been robbed here. Robbed.

2210: GOAL France 1-1 Rep of Ire (agg 2-1)

2209: Sidney Govou chests down a ball from Thierry Henry and volleys in. Massive roar from the French fans - but he's offside. Ireland starting to look very tired now.

2207: Giovanni Trapatonni is complaining to the fourth official in animated fashion. I don't know what about. He should be asking him to pass on his thanks to the ref for that brave decision.

2206: MASSIVE CONTROVERSY. Nicolas Anelka skips into the area, pokes the ball past Shay Given and goes over the keeper's arm. The home fans are screaming for a penalty - but referee Martin Hansson says no. He doesn't book Anelka either. And Anelka doesn't really complain. Strange. Very strange.

2204: Now. You may be trying to wind me up. Or maybe not. But just to be clear: France have one away goal, Ireland have one away goal. If no-one scores any more goals, we'll have a penalty shoot-out.

2201: Nicolas Anelka shuffles the ball onto his right foot and whips a daisycutter narrowly wide of Shay Given's right-hand post.

2158: France kick off the first period of extra time. The hosts have used all their subs, while Giovanni Trapattoni has one throw of the dice left. What a job the Italian has done with his team tonight.

From Mike via text on 81111: "France are not focused and Ireland will be unlucky to lose this game. Watching the game on French TV and the commentators are going mental because Benzema did not get on."

2155: Tension unbearable. Ireland fully deserved that result - and maybe more. John O'Shea, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane all had chances to score a second in the second half - but extra time it is. Have Ireland got the legs?

2153: FULL-TIME France 0-1 Ireland (agg 1-1) EXTRA TIME

2152: Above the grumbling and whistling of the France fans, you can hear the Ireland fans singing their hearts out in their corner of the Stade de France. Shay Given pushes a cross from Thierry Henry into a dangerous area but a defender is onto it first and Ireland survive...

From TaiSx on Twitter: "Wow! Domenech doesn't put on Benzema! Just hoping Ireland don't rue those missed chances."

Other international football and FA Cup first-round replay Danny: "Let's wrap some other stuff up. David Villa netted two as Spain beat Austria 5-1 in Vienna. Lukas Podolski scored two - including a last-minute leveller as Germany drew 2-2 with Ivory Coast. Italy beat Sweden 1-0, the Netherlands and Paraguay drew 0-0. And Brighton beat Wycombe 2-0 to reach the FA Cup second round."

2150: Lassana Diarra gives the ball straight to Robbie Keane but the striker shoots over from the edge of the box. Horrible mistake by the France midfielder.

2148: "Hiddink for Scotland," texts an optimistic Scot. Er... Maybe Hiddink for France? The Republic of Ireland are one minute plus the extras away from forcing extra-time against France.

2146: More boos and whistles from the home fans as Raymond Domenech leaves his two defensive midfielders on and replaces Yoann Gourcuff with Florent Malouda.

2144: Just two places still up for grabs in South Africa then. Six minutes of the 90 remaining in Paris. If it stays like this, it'll be extra time and possibly penalties.


2143: FULL-TIME Bosnia 0-1 Portugal (agg 0-2)

2141: Is it too soon to say: Hiddink back to Chelsea? Some sort of director of football role? Anyway, very well done Slovenia. That late goal in Russia proved crucial. Hiddink's side pay the price for switching off in the first leg after dominating for 80 minutes. Andrey Arshavin will not be able to light up the World Cup as he did Euro 2008.


2140: FULL-TIME Slovenia 1-0 Russia (agg 2-2)

2137: Another red card for Russia as Chelsea's Yuri Zhirkov gets a second yellow. They're down to nine.

From CovFan on Twitter: "This match has the makings of last minute heartbreak for Ireland. I hope not."

2134: Only stoppage time remaining in Slovenia and Bosnia. Russia are going out unless they can conjure up something in the next four minutes.

Other international football and FA Cup first-round replay Danny: "Russia are moments away from crashing out of the World Cup. And it's the same for Wycombe, who are moments away from crashing out of the FA Cup as they trail Brighton 2-0. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast are 2-1 up in Gelsenkirchen against Germany, Seydoe Doumbia with a late goal."

2131: William Gallas misses his tackle on Robbie Keane and the captain is clean through... he takes it past the keeper but he's overhit it and the ball goes out of play. Agony for Ireland. Seventeen minutes remaining.

2128: Paul McShane throws himself in front of Yoann Gourcuff's shot. France building a bit of pressure here - and the home fans are responding.

2127: Bosnia are down to 10 men after Sejad Salihovic's sending-off. They are 2-0 down against Portugal, and need three goals in the remaining 10 minutes to go through.

2125: Shortly after Darron Gibson replaced Glenn Whelan, Giovanni Trapattoni has to make a second change as John O'Shea hobbles off and Paul McShane comes on. Blow for the Irish.

2123: In the interests of fairness, I should point out that a few of you think the Russia sending-off was harsh (see 2112). The ball briefly came loose from the keeper's grasp and Kerzhakov kicked out. I guess the ref saw it as dangerous play, which is pretty much how I saw it.

2120: Aaaaaaaaargh. Two big chances at both ends. Damien Duff is clean through but under pressure from the defender, he scuffs the shot and Hugo Lloris makes a great block with his legs. France break and Richard Dunne loses Thierry Henry, but his hooked shot is saved by Shay Given.

2117: Kevin Kilbane - winning his 102nd cap tonight - picks up a yellow card for hauling back Yoann Gourcuff on the right. Free-kick for France, but Thierry Henry's effort is headed away by Richard Dunne.

2116: Andre-Pierre Gignac - top scorer in Ligue Un last season - is finally out of the action. Lyon's Sidney Govou replaces him.

From anon via text on 81111: "Watching Ireland on a French channel in India, can't understand a word of the commentary apart from 'non non non'. Hilarious."

2114: Now if Russia were to miss out, Guus Hiddink would probably become available for work. In the Premier League, for example.

2112: Russia, who need a goal against Slovenia, are down to 10 men as substitute Alexander Kerzhakov gets a red card for kicking out wildly at Slovenia keeper Samir Handanovic.

2109: Shouts for a penalty from the visiting fans as Kevin Doyle goes down under a challenge from William Gallas. France break quickly - but that man Andre-Pierre Gignac skews a shot miles wide.

Other international football and FA Cup first-round replay Danny: "Spain. They're quite good aren't they? Two quick goals have put them 5-1 up in Austria, who are down to 10 men. Speaking of quickfire, three in eight minutes have made it Denmark 3-1 USA (the Americans were 1-0 up), and Emmanuel Eboue has levelled for Ivory Coast in Germany. It's 1-1."

2108: Doesn't look like it'll be the underdogs' day in Zenica as Raul Meireles puts Portugal 2-0 up on aggregate, and leaves Bosnia needing to score three to go through.

2106: GOAL Bosnia 0-1 Portugal (agg 0-2)

2106: John O'Shea is in acres of space at the far post, chests down the ball and volleys wildly over the bar. "They might not get a better chance in this half," says a downbeat Lawro.

2104: And the game in Paris is back under way.

2103: Karim Benzema is still wrapped up in his puffa coat as the players re-emerge after the interval. Raymond Domenech strolls out with his hands in his pockets, as if his side are about 5-0 up. What a 45 minutes coming up...

From anon via text on 81111: "Can't understand it Cheesy - my Australian girlfriend, in Australia, is cross with me cos I'm watching the Ireland game rather than talking to her on the phone! No contest!"

2058: Not had much of a chance to watch the Bosnia-Portugal game - but I can tell you Nani has just been denied by a great save from Kenan Hasagic. Portugal still leading 1-0 on aggregate.

2055: The games in Slovenia and Bosnia are back under way in the second half.

2050: Boos and whistles from the home fans as the half-time whistle goes. I'm sure Domenech will kick them into shape at half-time... actually...

2048: HALF-TIME France 0-1 Rep of Ire (agg 1-1)

2048: Into added time at the Stade de France and Glenn Whelan's well-hit free-kick goes behind off Patrice Evra's head.

BBC Sport's Sean Chaney on holiday in New Zealand: "Cheesy I cant find anywhere in New Zealand to watch the game... Absolute disaster:( Don't care now though. Just surprised several Kiwis by screaming in celebration in an internet cafe in Paihia at 9.30am. Come on you boys in green..."

2044: Half-time in Maribor and Zenica. Slovenia are 1-0 up against Russia, and leading on away goals. Bosnia and Portugal are goalless, with the visitors still hanging on to that 1-0 aggregate lead.

2042: Andre-Pierre Gignac completely miscontrols as the ball comes out to him on the edge of the box. That's the second time he's done that tonight. I've not been that impressed by the Toulouse man over these two games. He'll probably score a wonder goal now.

2040: Nicolas Anelka breaks into the box and his shot is deflected - wide - to the relief of the visiting fans. Six minutes until half-time.

From acmilandrew on Twitter: "Domenech looks to the stars... as usual!"

Other international football and FA Cup first-round replay Danny: "Who wants a cheeky run-down of some half-times then? Good. Italy are 1-0 up against Sweden, as are Brighton against Wycombe (not sure the last time those four teams were in the same update). Spain are 3-1 up in Austria, David Villa with two, and Germany lead Ivory Coast 1-0."

2034: Stunning goal by the Irish. Kevin Kilbane releases Damien Duff with a lovely first-time pass and the winger cuts a perfect ball back for Robbie Keane to finish right-footed into the corner. The French fans fall dramatically silent as the visiting supporters go absolutely berserk. Amazing.

2033: GOAL France 0-1 Rep of Ire (agg 1-1)

2031: Well, well, well, well, well. Valter Birsa crosses, Zlatko Dedic provides the deft touch to direct it past Igor Akinfeev. More importantly: Slovenia now lead Russia on away goals.

2030: GOAL Slovenia 1-0 Russia (agg 2-2)

2027: Kevin Doyle should score. He climbs highest to meet a cross from the right but heads wide from six yards. I would not rule out Ireland scoring here. That's all I'm saying.

2024: Even more encouraging for the visitors. Robbie Keane escapes down the left - but there's no support in the box. Ireland keep the ball though and eventually the cross comes in. Keane is attacking - but Hugo Lloris dives bravely in front of him to prevent the skipper slotting in.

Other international football and FA Cup first-round replay Danny: "Elsewhere in the world of football tonight, Serbia and South Korea played at Craven Cottage. Both have reached the finals, and Serbia came out 1-0 winners. Bulgaria beat Malta 4-1, Poland beat Canada 1-0 and Montenegro beat Belarus 1-0. Spain now lead 2-1 in Austria thanks to David Villa, Italy lead Sweden 1-0 and the USA are 1-0 up in Denmark."

BBC 5 live analyst Mark Lawrenson: "Squillaci doesn't look like he's particularly quick. He looks like he's running in sand."

2019: Patrice Evra wins a vital header to avoid a cross reaching Liam Lawrence, before Thierry Henry mops up the rest. Bit of encouragement for the visitors there though.

2018: Arsenal fans, look away now... Bacary Sagna is off the pitch and awaiting treatment. The defender appears to have taken a thump on the lip. He should be OK.

2015: They may have been forced into that early change, but France are having much the better of the opening stages in Paris. A free-kick is deflected into Andre-Pierre Gignac's path and in turn, his effort is blocked and goes behind for a corner. The French crowd are right behind their team at the moment.

2014: ANOTHER chance for Slovenia. Milivoje Novakovic is in space right in front of goal - but seems to want about an hour to line up the shot, and eventually scuffs it straight at the keeper. Russia still lead 2-1.

2009: Bad start for France. Julien Escude - who came in for the injured Eric Abidal - has a bloody nose after an accidental (obviously) clash with team-mate Patrice Evra. He's carried away on a stretcher, as Sebastien Squillaci comes on to take his place in defence.

Other international football and FA Cup first-round replay Danny: "Emotional scenes in Gelsenkirchen tonight where Germany are playing Ivory Coast in their first match since the suicide of goalkeeper Robert Enke. The team wrote an open letter to Enke saying they were playing the match for their country, for the fans 'but above all for you'. Lukas Podolski has put the Germans 1-0 up early on from the penalty spot."

BBC Sport's Alex Trickett: "Gridlock on Edgware Road (London) as hundreds of hooting cars draped in Algerian flags celebrate World Cup qualification. What would this place be like if Algeria won the World Cup?"

2006: Danny has taken on several roles tonight as you may be able to tell by his new title... Other international football and FA Cup first-round replay Danny: "Don't forget there's loads of other footy tonight. Not least the FA Cup replay between Brighton and Wycombe - the first game finished 4-4 goal-fest fans. It's 0-0 right now. Elsewhere, Austria just took the lead against Spain thanks to Jakob Jantscher - but Cesc Fabregas levelled for the World Cup favourites just two minutes later."

From Duffy at Finsbury Park via text on 81111: "Nearly overcome with emotion walking past the Algerians down Blackstock Rd! C'mon the Irish!!!"

2002: Ireland (who have already given the ball away twice in Paris) have not an away game against a team ranked higher than them since 1987 - and that was against Scotland. France, though, have conceded at home against Serbia, Romania and Austria in qualification.

2001: There's even an Algerian flag being waved at the Stade de France - and now Zinedine Zidane is taking his seat. We're under way in Paris.

From anon via text on 81111: "My dad is Algerian, just called me up crying and screaming. Never seen him cry in my 24 years on Earth."

From GreyMag on 606: "Congratulations Greece... and Algeria too. Hopefully Ireland will pull it off tonight and join them."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1956: Woodwork time now in Maribor. Andraz Kirm swings over a cross from the left for Slovenia and Russia defender Sergei Ignashevich chests it onto his own post.


1954: FULL-TIME Ukraine 0-1 Greece

1952: And we have kick-off at the Bilino Polje Stadium in Zenica, the venue for Bosnia's big shot at World Cup qualification. They trail hosts Portugal by one measly goal after the first leg.

1950: Big chance for Slovenia already. Milivoje Novakovic beats the offside trap but shoots weakly at Russia keeper Igor Akinfeyev. I don't think he could believe his luck at being given so much space.

1946: Slovenia get us under way in Maribor. Should they beat Russia 1-0 tonight, they'd be through. Sounds easy enough.

1943: Eight minutes remaining at the Donbass Arena and Ukraine still trail Greece 1-0. Greece haven't qualified for the World Cup since their debut in 1994.

1941: TEAMS Bosnia-Herzegovina v Portugal
Bosnia-Herzegovina: Hasagic, Jahic, Nadarevic, Pandza, Ibricic, Salihovic, Bajramovic, Pjanic, Haris, Ibisevic, Dzeko. Subs: Begovic, Berberovic, Mirvic, Damjanovic, Muslimovic, Mravac, Milenkovic.
Portugal: Eduardo, Carvalho, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Ferreira, Duda, Tiago, Raul Meireles, Nani, Simao, Liedson. Subs: Hilario, Rolando, Veloso, Deco, Miguel, Edinho, Hugo Almeida.

From Gavin in London, via text on 81111: "I live where there are a lot of Algerian people and all I can hear are fireworks, drums and shouting, they are very happy round here I can tell you!"

1939: TEAMS France v Rep of Ireland
France: Lloris, Sagna, Gallas, Escude, Evra, Lassana Diarra, Alou Diarra, Gourcuff, Anelka, Gignac, Henry. Subs: Mandanda, Remy, Sissoko, Benzema, Govou, Malouda, Squillaci.
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.

James Copnall at the El Merreikh stadium in Sudan: "There's a giant Algerian banner being unfurled, flares are going off in the stands. They're going to celebrate for a very long time to come."

1935: Some team news from Paris for you: Julien Escude replaces the injured Eric Abidal in France's defence. The Republic of Ireland, as expected, are unchanged.

1933: A quick manual refresh if you don't mind. Unless you can't bear to let go of Stevo... I'd understand. Anyway, as I type, Ukraine are throwing the kitchen sink at Greece - but they still trail 1-0 and need two goals to go through.

By Jonathan Stevenson

1930: That's me done. Well done Algeria, fully deserved. Have fun with Cheesy, won't you?

1929: Slovenia v Russia line-ups:
Samir Handanovic, Brecko, Cesar, Suler, Jokic, Koren, Radosavljevic, Kirm, Birsa, Dedic, Novakovic.
Subs: Jasmin Handanovic, Mavric, Ilic, Pecnik, Ljubijankic, Krhin, Stevanovic.
Russia: Akinfeev, Zhirkov, Yanbaev, Aniukov, Ignashevich, Vasili Berezutsky, Bilyaletdinov, Denisov, Zyryanov, Pavlyuchenko, Arshavin.
Subs: Gabulov, Kolodin, Semshov, Semak, Pogrebniak, Dzagoev, Kerzhakov.
Referee: Terje Hauge (Norway)

1927: One of the most stunning roars you will ever hear from a football stadium as the Algerians go properly nutbag. Keeper Faouzi Chaouchi wastes no time in clambering up on to the crossbar and takes his shirt off - the crowd aren't going anywhere for a long, long time.


1925: One minute left as the flag goes up for an Egyptian offside.

1923: Get the keeper up - it's the World Cup, for heaven's sake. Egypt throw a couple of balls into the Algerian box, but nothing comes of it. They are going down without much of a fight in Sudan.

1922: Half of the Algerians in the crowd are celebrating and half look like their world is any minute now about to come crashing down upon them. We are into injury time and there will be four minutes of it.

1920: You might have expected Egypt to be hammering on the Algerian door for the entire second half, but they haven't. In fact, they're still struggling to create anything.

1918: Four minutes plus stoppages remaining in Sudan. In Donetsk, Ukraine are having most of the chances, but the Greeks are holding on at 1-0.

1916: Mohamed Zidan goes down under a "challenge" from Rafik Halliche, but it was a desperate attempt to win a penalty and the referee waves him away. The ensuing corner is wasted - as has every single one by the Egyptians today.

1915: Seven minutes remaining in Khartoum. Egypt's attack looks incredibly blunt - even Mohamed Zidan cannot get them going.

From Fergie's gum supplier on 606: "Algeria must have read the time-wasting handout extensively."

1910: Another injury, another stoppage, another few minutes added on to the end. No wonder they scored in the 96th minute on Saturday; they'll have about 10 minutes at this rate.

1908: Egypt are pumping the ball into the Algeria box, and they are defending manfully. Have Egypt got a Plan B? Or are they just leaving it ludicrously late to add to the drama?

From huzi_pandor on Twitter: "I guess Egypt will score another late, late goal..."

1903: How did Egypt not score? Faouzi Chaouchi makes a brilliant last-ditch save from Abdelzaher El Saqqa as it seems certain we're going to be 1-1, and then the follow-up shot is brilliantly blocked by an Algerian defender. It's brutally tense now.

1902: Twenty minutes left in the Sudan capital and Egypt need a goal to keep their World Cup dream alive. Otherwise, for the first time since Mexico 86 - the first World Cup I can remember - Algeria will be at the biggest sporting event on earth.

1859: Algerian goalscorer Antar Yahia is replaced by Samir Zaouri.

From Jonnie in London, via text on 81111: "I've never been to Egypt and don't know where Algeria is, but I'm so, so tense."

1857: Cross from the Egyptian right and Mohamed Aboutrika gets his header all wrong from 12 yards, blazing it miles over.

1854: Egypt are seeing a lot of the ball and are cranking up the pressure now. We've had 62 minutes of scarcely believable scenes and sounds in Khartoum and it's still Egypt 0-1 Algeria.

1853: Mohamed Zidan dances his way into the Algeria box and Emad Motaeb fires in the shot that somehow Faouzi Chaouchi gets down well to save.

1851: Had to score. Hassan Yeba whips over a cross from the right and Rafik Saifi gets up to head goalwards - either side of Essam El Hadari and it's in, but it's straight at the keeper.

1850: Half-time Ukraine 0-1 Greece

1847: I forgot to mention that in the 42,000 capacity El Merreikh Stadium, there are apparently 50,000 people watching this time. Heaven knows how. They've had to lock another 5,000 outside, too. Wonder what that lot are up to...

1845: Another booking, this time for Rafik Halliche - looked a bit like a dive, in all fairness. It's just unbearably tense - on the stands, on the touchline, on the pitch. I worry for the health of these people.

1843: Mohamed Zidan fastens on to a loose clearance from the Algerians but he tries to dribble through the defence instead of shooting from 20 yards and Madjid Bougherra makes a brilliant last-ditch tackle.

1840: Karim Ziani is booked even though Madjid Bougherra actually just committed the foul for Algeria. No way will this end 11 v 11.

Greece goal: Massive strike - now the hosts need two to go through. Giorgios Samaras feeds Dimitrios Salpingidis, who springs the offside trap and slots home. Priceless.

1838: GOAL Ukraine 0-1 Greece

James Copnall at the El Merreikh stadium: "The Egyptian coach Hassan Shehata has spent a lot of the game so far patrolling his technical box, gesturing frantically to his players. The Algerian fans went ballistic when Antar Yahia scored, setting off flares and competing with one another for who could wave the national flag the hardest. The Egyptian end, by contrast, went very, very quiet."

1836: Back under way in Khartoum, two changes for Egypt as Hosny Abd Rabo and Mohamed Zidan are on. Are you watching behind your sofa? All hell is about the break loose...

From Sean Murphy, via text on 81111: "The goal went down well in Finsbury Park, the area erupts and the flares are off again. Huge Algerian support here in north London."

From waldovski on 606: "Looks like the Khartoum groundsman has turned on the "superbounce" feature of the pitch. Seems like they're playing on asphalt."

From jackbrindley on Twitter: "It's as if the players have completely forgotten about playing the game. Every tackle is made to hurt."

1821: Tell you what - if Algeria go to the World Cup because of Antar Yahia's magnificent volley, you'd have to say they deserve it. It gets better every time you see it.

1819: Half-time Egypt 0-1 Algeria

1817: They think the Vuvuzelas are bad? They should spend an evening at Egypt-Algeria in Khartoum. It's intense.

1815: Not long until half-time now as Egypt's Ahmed Fathi balloons a right-foot shot miles over from 25 yards.

Algeria goal: Goodness me it's an absolute screamer. Karim Ziani's ball into the Egypt box bounces and falls nicely for Antar Yahia, who fairly leathers a right-foot volley in-off the crossbar. Stunning strike - and it's just got even livelier.

1812: GOAL Egypt 0-1 Algeria

1810: Nadir Belhadj is late again, this time on Ahmed Hassan, and the Egyptian goes down like he has been shot. Hmm, I wonder if they're trying to get the Pompey left-back sent off...

From Paul in Gatley, via text on 81111: "Come on Ukraine! Went to Greece once, couldn't taste any of the local food. Turns out I've no sense of humous."

James Copnall at the El Merreikh Stadium: "Algeria's Nadir Belhadj is lucky to still be on the pitch. He has already been booked, and lashed out at Egypt's Ahmed Al Muhammadi with both lying on the floor. The referee chose to warn both men."

1805: Magnificent save from Faouzi Chaouchi after Ahmed El Muhammadi had seized on to an opening inside the Algeria box on the right. his goalbound shot to the far post is brilliantly tipped away by the keeper. Egypt have started playing.

1803: Saturday's Egyptian hero Emad Motaeb gets away down the left and pulls it back to the edge of the Algerian 18-yard box, where Mohamed Aboutrika catches a volley sweetly but directs it a couple of yards wide.

From JonesMike101 on Twitter: "I thought I'd never say it but... I hope both Egypt and Algeria remember that football is just a game. Let's hope a good one."
Good sentiment, but based on the first 30 minutes, no chance

1800: Amr Zaki has gone down clutching his face. He gets up limping. Er... They can't even take a free-kick because so much is kicking off.

1759: The noise from the crowd in Khartoum is mental. Egypt's Wael Gomaa is booked for bundling over Abdelkader Ghezzal, looked a bit harsh that. Not sure it's gonna end 11 v 11, this one.

1757: Ukraine v Greece line-ups:
Pyatov, Rakitskiy, Kucher, Mykhalyk, Khacheridi, Kobin, Aliev, Tymoschuk, Yarmolenko, Shevchenko, Milevskiy.
Subs: Bogush, Chygrynskiy, Gusev, Seleznyov, Mandziuk, Gai, Rotan.
Greece: Tzorvas, Spyropoulos, Vyntra, Kyrgiakos, Moras, Papastathopoulos, Katsouranis, Karagounis, Samaras, Charisteas, Salpingidis.
Subs: Sifakis, Pliatsikos, Makos, Ninis, Tziolis, Gekas, Mitroglou.
Referee: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal)

1756: Rare bit of danger from the Egyptians so far as Ahmed El Muhammadi's right-wing cross is cleared by the Algerian defence.

1754: Booking for Abdelkader Ghezzal and he can have few complaints after crashing into Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadari as he caught Nadir Belhadj's left-wing cross. The Algerians are having the best of it, though.

1751: Feel free to Twitter me while we wait for Cheesy to get involved, incidentally. Egypt haven't been to a World Cup since 1990; Algeria since 1986. It's just enormous, this one.

1749: Don't forget, Ukraine v Greece kicks off in Donetsk in 11 of your World Cup minutes. Keep you posted in a massive way - remember, it's 0-0 from the first leg.

1747: Massive chance for the Algerians. Egypt defend a ball into the box in woeful fashion and it falls for Antar Yahia on the right-hand corner of the six-yard box, but Essam El Hadari makes himself big and makes a top-drawer save.

From Mark, Blackpool, via text on 81111: "Do you know If Bouazza is on the bench for Algeria? I never thought as a Blackpool fan one of our players would be involved in a game between these two countries!"
He's on the bench, Mark. A Hameur blow, no doubt...

1741: Nadir Belhadj plays a little one-two on the edge of the Egyptian box and the Pompey player leans back and fires his left-foot shot over.

BBC Sport's Stephen Fottrell in Paris: "The Green Army has moved from north Dublin to under the Eiffel Tower. Not quite in the same numbers as five years ago - the last time Ireland were here for a qualifier - but a very impressive turnout all the same. Especially given the weekend's result and the efforts of the French footballing authorities to limit the number of tickets for travelling fans.

"The boys in green will enjoy another noisy support tonight, but whether they can turn the tie around and achieve what would arguably be the greatest result in their history is another matter. These fans remain optimistic, more so with every afternoon beer."

1736: To say they don't like each other would be a pretty enormous understatement. A foul leads to half a brawl in the middle of the pitch - I say half, because I can't help but feel it might get worse. Referee Eddy Maillet keeps his cards in his pocket, thankfully.

1734: The atmosphere in Khartoum can probably be described as lively. Gates to the stadium opened five hours before kick-off and Sudan has deployed 15,000 police to ensure they will not be trouble. Let's hope football remains the focus tonight. Yellow card for Nadir Belhadj after only 56 seconds. Uh-oh.

1732: The game begins in Khartoum. It's Egypt v Algeria for a place in the World Cup finals. If you so wish, you can watch the drama unfold on the Fifa website.

1730: Stevo's Predos:
Egypt 2-1 Algeria
Ukraine 2-0 Greece
Bosnia-Hercegovina 1-1 Portugal
Slovenia 1-1 Russia
France 2-0 Rep of Ire

1726: The teams are out in Khartoum. There are about 12 million people on the pitch.* It's not about to start yet, promise you that.

* This may be a slight exaggeration

1725: You'd be crazy to not want to partake in such revelry, wouldn't you? Hit Cheesy on Twitter, hit her on 606 and get those texts coming in to 81111. Especially if you're at the Al Merreikh Stadium in Khartoum this evening.

1722: Of course I haven't forgotten about Uruguay v Costa Rica - that starts at 2300 GMT tonight and that is officially for the last place in South Africa.

1720: Egypt v Algeria line-ups:
Egypt: Essam El Hadary, Ahmed Al Muhamadi, Abdel Zaher El Sakka, Hani Said, Ahmed Fathi, Amr Zaki, Emad Meteab, Wael Gomaa, Sayed Moawad, Ahmed Hassan (c), Mohamed Aboutrika.
Algeria: Fawzi Chaouchi, Rafik Saifi, Mourad Maghini, Hassan Yebda, Yazid Mansouri (c), Karim Ziani, Antar Yahia, Nadir Belhadj, Madjid Bougherra, Rafik Halliche, Abdelkader Ghezzal.

1718: That's just the first of the final five places at next summer's feast of football that are up for grabs tonight. Here's the running order for the European play-off second leg ties:

Ukraine v Greece (agg: 0-0) 1800 GMT
Bosnia-Hercegovina v Portugal (agg: 0-1) 1945 GMT
Slovenia v Russia (agg: 1-2) 1945 GMT
France v Rep of Ireland (agg: 1-0) 2000 GMT

1715: Cheesy's gone missing. Which means that for the start of tonight's proceedings, you're stuck with me. Luckily, in 15 minutes, Egypt and Algeria will once again play for a place at the 2010 World Cup. You've got to feel sorry for the poor people of Khartoum, haven't you?

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see also
France 1-1 Rep of Ire (agg 2-1)
18 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Portugal secure spot at World Cup
18 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Yahia sends Algeria to World Cup
18 Nov 09 |  African
Republic of Ireland 0-1 France
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
World Cup play-offs round-up
15 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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