SAN SALVADOR: Honduras qualified for the World Cup for only the second time in their history on Wednesday after a 1-0 victory at El Salvador and a heartbreaking draw for Costa Rica.Carlos Pavon scored in the 63rd minute to give the Hondurans the win and put them alongside the United States and Mexico from North America for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.After civil unrest over a power struggle in Honduras, national team coach Reinaldo Rueda saw the World Cup qualification in unifying terms. ”It’s a contribution toward peace,” he said.Victory alone was not enough and it appeared luckless Costa Rica would cling to the last spot, leading the US 2-1 with seconds remaining.But Jonathan Bornstein’s header in the fifth minute of stoppage time gave the 10-man Americans a 2-2 draw in Washington to deny them.On a rainy night where Bryan Ruiz scored in the 21st and 24th minutes to give Costa Rica a 2-0 lead, the Americans fought back to finish North American qualifying with three wins and two draws when foes score first.Seconds away from a victory that would have booked a third consecutive trip to the global football showdown, Costa Rica instead lost out to Honduras and must now play Uruguay in a two-leg play-off to decide who makes the World Cup.Meanwhile, unheralded Switzerland and Slovakia completed the nine automatic European qualifiers.Slovakia qualified for their first World Cup finals after a 1-0 win against Poland secured their place as group three winners.An own-goal from Polish defender Seweryn Gancarczyk after just three minutes set Slovakia on the way to their first major finals since the country’s split with Czechoslovakia in 1993. Switzerland made their German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld’s dream come true as a tense 0-0 draw against Israel in Basel made sure of top spot in group two. AFP
Nanjing Night Net

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