Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 17th 2013 Contents A58
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 17, 2013
PANAMA CITY --- Panama was about
90 seconds from beating the United
States and advancing to a playoff
against New Zealand for a World Cup
The fans at Estadio Rommel Fernandez
in Panama City were ready to start a
And then the Americans stunned not
just an opponent, but an entire coun-
try.Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson
scored in second-half stoppage time as
the United States rallied for a 3-2 win
that left Mexico s World Cup hopes alive
and knocked out the Panamanians.
"It shows you how brutal football can
be. For one side that s almost there, and
then the other side is back in," US coach
Jurgen Klinsmann said. "Now obviously
you feel for the people. You feel for an
The United States, which clinched a
World Cup berth last month, didn t use
most of its regular starters, and Gabriel
Torres put Panama ahead in the 18th
minute in a downpour. Michael Orozco
equalised in the 64th, not long after
Costa Rica took a 2-1 lead at home
against Mexico in the other qualifier.
Luis Tejada scored in the 83rd, putting
Panama back into fourth place and the
playoff berth. Mexico, which last missed
the World Cup in 1990, would have been
But Zusi scored 1:24 into stoppage
time, and Johannsson scored his first
international goal with seconds remaining
to seal the US win and Panama s elim-
"This is just how football writes these
crazy, emotional stories, and you re in
the middle of it, because we all felt all
of a sudden when Graham scored that
header that it was all quiet, silence, and
you feel for them," Klinsmann said. "It
was a very sad moment for all here in
Panama. We understand that."
It was a similar finish to four years
ago, when Jonathan Bornstein s goal in
the fifth minute of stoppage time at
Washington gave the US a 2-2 draw
against Costa Rica --- that result gave
Honduras a World Cup berth and elim-
inated the Costa Ricans.
The US and Costa Rica already had
clinched their World Cup spots last
month, and Honduras earned CONCA-
CAF s last automatic spot with a 2-2
draw at last-place Jamaica.
Mexico finished fourth with 11 points,
three ahead of Panama, which has never
reached football s marquee tournament.
Before allowing the stoppage-time
goals, Panama was level in realtime with
Mexico on points and goal difference
and would earned the playoff berth based
on a 10-7 advantage in goals scored.
"Nobody," Klinsmann said, "expected
what happened in the last two minutes."
SARAJEVO --- Wild celebrations broke loose Sara-
jevo s central square Tuesday after Bosnia qualified
for its first World Cup as an independent nation.
Almost 10,000 delirious fans jumped, cried and
screamed "Vamos Bosnia" --- or "Go Bosnia" --- when
striker Vedad Ibisevic scored in the 68th minute to
secure a 1-0 win over Lithuania at Kaunas.
Immediately after the match, the Bosnian players
were seen on TV crying in each other s arms at Kaunas,
prompting tears to roll down thousands of cheeks at
streets and homes in Bosnia. Thousands of fans, mean-
while, headed to the airport to wait for their "Drag-
"They have no idea what they have done to the
people here," wept unemployed Salih Redzic, 52. "We
all need some Brazil. It s not even about soccer any
more. It s about this feeling many of us have almost
forgotten and the younger ones have never experienced.
The feeling of success," he said.
Bosnia has been close before. It narrowly missed
out on the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Cham-
pionship, both times losing to Portugal in the playoffs.
But the current team, led by Manchester City striker
Edin Dzeko and German-born playmaker Zvjezdan
Misimovic, made no mistake on Tuesday night.
For at least a while, they made their countrymen
forget their nation s more than 25 per cent unemploy-
ment, the low standard of living, the 47 million euro
of EU s funds lost last week over internal political
"We are going to Brazil," the crowd was chanting
and TV screens were flashing. That s all that mattered:
to use the word "we" in combination with something
synonymous to success.
Occasionally, the noise of the fireworks were a
reminder of the worst days of the wartime Sarajevo
siege. Honking cars cruised the streets all night and
people walked the city wrapped in blue and yellow
Upon landing, the team came out singing songs
about Bosnia. Usually serious coach Safet Susic joked
with the press saying some of the players will be kicked
out of the team because of their behaviour in the plane.
The team replied by singing an even louder a song
"This is the happiest moment of my career," Susic
stated before leaving the airport building and entering
the bus taking the team to a party at the main square.
But even as the bus made its way to the celebration
at 2 am, the team could see the jubilation throughout
the city caused by their win.
ZAGREB --- Croatia
coach Igor Stimac was
fired yesterday follow-
ing his team s 2-0 loss
to Scotland in a World
Croatian Football Fed-
eration president Davor
Suker said Niko Kovac,
a former Croatia mid-
fielder and coach of the
junior national team, will
be Stimac s temporary
Despite the loss
against Scotland on
Tuesday, Croatia man-
aged to finish second in
its qualifying group
behind Belgium and can
reach the World Cup in
Brazil through the play-
offs in November.
The 46-year-old Sti-
mac said after the match
he would step down
because of "a moral
responsibility" for Croa-
tia s two consecutive
defeats, 2-1 against Bel-
gium at home last week
and against Scotland.
"Stimac had total
support of the federa-
tion, but after these poor
results ... my proposal
was to remove Stimac
from his duties," Suker
Stimac took over from
Slaven Bilic. He and Bilic
were Croatia defenders
and Suker was a striker
in the team that reached
the 1998 World Cup
Dutch club AZ Alkmaar
has appointed veteran
coach Dick Advocaat to
replace Gertjan Ver-
beek, who was fired last
AZ says Advocaat has
agreed to a contract until
the end of the season
with the club he previ-
ously led from 2009-10.
Financial terms of the
deal were not disclosed.
Advocaat has previously
coached clubs including
PSV Eindhoven, Rangers
and Zenit St Petersburg
and the national teams
of the Netherlands, the
United Arab Emirates,
South Korea, Belgium
AZ is ninth in the
league after nine rounds.
Advocaat s first match
in charge will be against
SC Cambuur on Sun-
World Cup qualification
US Edgar Castillo, right, and Panama's Blas Perez go for a header during a 2014
World Cup qualifying soccer match in Panama City, Tuesday. AP PHOTO
US ends Panama's run with stoppage-time goals
Links Archive October 16th 2013 October 18th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page