World Cup – Winners and losers

Diego Maradona’s impromptu Klinsmann impression earns him a place as one of our winners following a big weekend of World Cup qualifiers.

WINNERS

Diego Maradona – The Argentina boss celebrated Martin Palermo’s ‘miracle’ late winner against Peru which keeps his side in the hunt for a finals place with a brilliant belly-flop slide down the touchline.

Germany – Typically, the Germans succeeded where England failed by travelling to Moscow and getting a result on the artificial turf of the Luznikhi Stadium that ensured they reached the finals and Russia made the play-offs.

Nigeria – Once touted by Pele as the country to become Africa’s first world champions by the end of the last century, their stuttering campaign was boosted by Obinna Nsofor’s late winner against Mozambique.

David James Robert Green had a good run in the England team while James was injured, but his red card and subsequent suspension allows the Portsmouth keeper to waltz back into the side and impress at a crucial time.

The Internet – Despite complaints over the picture quality, somewhere approaching half a million viewers were reported to have tuned in to England’s defeat in Ukraine. Probably just as many accessed the game by unofficial means, however.

LOSERS

Croatia – The rather satisfying upshot of England losing at the Dnipro Arena is that Croatia now have to win in Kazakhstan and hope Ukraine slip up in Andorra if they are to qualify for the play-offs.

Andy Reid – Reid has enjoyed an upturn in form as his weight has gone down, but Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni remained indignant when asked why he hasn’t called up the Sunderland midfielder, instead persisting with a midfield pairing of Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews.

Lars Lagerback – The Sweden coach has announced he will leave his post following the 1-0 defeat in Denmark. Unless they somehow sneak through, in which case he’ll stay. Make your mind up, Lars.

David Beckham – A big deal was made about the perceived snub of Becks, who was omitted from the matchday squad altogether, despite the fact that he’s a 34-year-old playing in a second-rate league.

Northern Ireland – Nigel Worthington’s men saw their slim play-off hopes ended at the weekend without them kicking a ball, unless they beat the Czechs by a hatful and Slovenia lose in San Marino.

Eurosport

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