Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Tuesday September 8 2009
Wigan Athletic supporters are obviously hoping for England to be successful against Croatia on Wednesday and nail the qualification for next summer`s World Cup finals in South Africa but like all Premier League clubs the Latics have a smattering of overseas players and there will be interest in the outcome of one or two other games on Wednesday.
First up we have Mexico Vs Honduras with Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa not only key to the Latics success but also to that of Los Catrachos as they aim to reach their first finals since 1982 when they were pitted against hosts Spain, Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia, two 1-1 draws and a 1-0 defeat against Yugoslavia saw the end to that campaign.
Move forward 27 years and Honduras are a force to be reckoned with, they top the CONCACAF group with just three matches remaining, a win in Mexico and qualification will be an almost certainty, a draw will take it down to the next game when they face USA, their last group match is against fierce rivals and neighbours El Salvador, Honduras will be hoping that qualification is well and truly tied up before this game.
Along with Thomas and Figueroa Latics interest in the catrachos sees former player Wilson Palacios as pivotal in the midfield and also summer transfer targets Carlo Costly and Oscar Bonieck Garcia take prominent roles, Mexico Vs Honduras will be a game that many Wigan fans are waiting for with almost the same excitement as the England game.
Next up for me is the Uruguay Vs Colombia tie featuring our very own Hugo Rodallega Martinez
Four countries qualify automatically from the South America group and then the fifth placed go into a play-off with the fourth placed from the CONCACAF group. Brazil have already qualified, Chile and Paraguay are virtually out of sight the next automatic and play-off spot is contested by Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela and there are just four points separating them all with just two games remaining.
Coming off Saturdays 2-0 win over Ecuador to keep qualification very much alive Colombia now travel to Uruguay with a win or draw at least the order of the day. Rodallega was an unused substitute on Saturday but he will be itching to play against Uruguay to avenge the 0-1 defeat in Bogota last September where he got 90 minutes but was largely disappointing.
Colombia finish off their group games with a home match against the very impressive Chile in October. Colombia at the finals would be of interest to the Latics faithful and their colourful fans would be a welcomed addition to the World Cup Carnival.
Latics keeper Richard Kingson cant get a game at the DW but he is Ghana`s number one, make no mistake about that.
Ghana have already qualified for the finals they sit proudly on top of Group D and thanks to Kingson they haven`t conceded a single goal, two games remain, both formalities, Benin in October and Mali in November.
Latics defender come midfield man Paul Scharner has been in and out of the Austria set up during this current campaign and his madcap antics seem to follow him to the international stage where he is constantly at odds with his national coach over where he should play, no surprise there then.
Austria sit 3rd in group 7, surprise outfit Serbia lead the group and look certainties for qualification, Scharners men are one place and four points behind France in the battle for the play-off spot and realistically to stand any chance of achieving they need to win their last three remaining games, Romania away Wednesday, Lithuania at home in October then their last group game away against the French, somehow I don`t think we will be seeing Herr Scharner at next summers tournament.
There are others involved, Jason Scotland with Trinidad and Tobago, they have failed to qualify and are now just going through the motions, Erik Edman is still with Sweden, they stand third in their group and the best they can hope for is a play-off spot.
So this week could decide the fate of how we all spend the summer of 2010, of course England will qualify and we will be right behind them, but it will be exciting, interesting and intriguing to see how our clubs players fare on the big, big stage for their countries, I for one cant wait
Come on the England, Go Honduras, Viva Los Catrachos, Viva Cafeteros (Colombia), Go Ghana Go.
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Date:Tuesday September 8 2009
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