Brazil and Germany, soccer's two most successful teams with seven World Cup titles between them, both survived qualifying scares and advanced to the 2002 World Cup finals.
Brazil and Germany, football's two most successful teams with seven World Cup titles between them, both survived qualifying scares and advanced to the 2002 World Cup finals.
Germany, a threetime champion that has never missed out on the World Cup finals, smashed Ukraine 41 Wednesday to advance on a 52 aggregate.
Brazil, a fourtime winner and the only country to play in every World Cup, beat Venezuela 30.
Tiny Slovenia clinched it firstever berth with a 11 draw at Romania, and Turkey will appear for the first time since 1954 after a 50 victory over Austria.
Belgium grabbed the fourth spot up for grabs from Euro playoffs on Wednesday, defeating the Czech Republic 10 in Prague to advance 20 on aggregate. Belgium will be playing in its sixth straight final. The Czechs were trying to reach their first since 1990 when Czechoslovakia played in the finals in Italy.
Uruguay, a twotime World Cup winner, clinched fifth place in the 10team South American group and will play Oceania champion Australia in a twoleg playoff on Nov. 20 and 25.
Germany, after a 11 draw over the weekend in Ukraine, scored three goals in the first 15 minutes – Michael Ballack, Oliver Neuville and Marko Rehmer – to deny Ukraine its first berth in soccer's No. 1 championship. Ballack scored again in the second half. Ukraine and AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko scored late to save some face.
"We were under great pressure," Ballack said. "Failing to qualify would have been a huge disappointment for the entire nation."
In Sao Luis, Brazil, Luizao scored a pair of goals and Rivaldo added one to help Brazil keep its perfect record intact as the only country to have qualified for every Cup since the first in 1930 – despite its worst qualifying campaign ever.
Brazil lost six qualifying matches in this campaign.
"We know we have to improve a lot," said team captain Emerson, of AS Roma. "But we didn't have time. Now we will."
Slovenia, with the deciding goal from Mladen Rudonja in the 57th minute, drew 11 against Romania on a rainy night in Bucharest to advance on a 32 aggregate. Slovenia won the first leg of the playoff on Saturday at home 21.
A country of only two million, Slovenia broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991 and reached its first major international tournament when it qualified for the 2000 European Championship. Romania last missed the World Cup finals in 1986.
Turkey, which reached its only World Cup final in 1954, smashed Austria 50 in Istanbul after winning the first leg in Austria 10. Turkey got firsthalf goals from Yildiray Basturk, Hakan Sukur and Okan Buruk, and two others later from Arif Erdem. Austria had reached two of the last three finals, last missing out in 1994.
Belgium, which last missed the World Cup finals in 1978, used Marc Wilmots penalty to clinch the victory as its traditionally stingy defense stymied the Czechs.
"This is incredible for everybody," said Gert Verheyen, who scored in the first leg. "We showed great concentration during the tough opening spell. It was really tough for 20 minutes but we fought through it.
"We have fought our way out of a great many tough spots but this beats it. We proved we deserve to go to the World Cup. We proved we are strong."
In other South American games Wednesday, Uruguay and Argentina drew 11, Colombia trounced Paraguay 40, Chile played to a scoreless draw with Ecuador and Peru drew 11 with Bolivia.
On Thursday, Ireland took a 20 lead to Iran with a crowd of 110,000 expected in Tehran with the survivor going through to Japan and South Korea.
Fourteen teams from Europe have now reached the 32team finals: defending champion France, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Croatia, Italy, England, Germany, Turkey, Belgium and Slovenia.
African qualifiers include: Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and South Africa. Asian qualifiers are: Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and China.
Three Central and North American sides are through: Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States. Three other South American teams have advanced: Argentina, Paraguay and Ecuador.Reuse content