Al Chase

Just For Kicks

By Al Chase

Thursday, December 16, 1999

Longtime powers
pay for slumps

The draw for the 2002 FIFA Men's World Cup was held last week in Tokyo and there was no bigger surprise than England and Germany being placed in the same qualifying group.

It is the first time these archrivals and longtime European powerhouses have been placed in the same group. But, it's the price they paid for having mediocre showings since the last World Cup.

Both coaches, Kevin Keegan of England and Germany's Erich Ribbeck, who lost twice to the United States this year, have been under fire recently for their teams' performances. The flames could get hotter during the qualifying rounds.

This is the first World Cup of the new century, the first to be staged in Asia and the first to be co-hosted (Japan and South Korea).

Of FIFA's 203 member nations, only North Korea, Afghanistan, Niger, Guinea-Bissau and Papua New Guinea did not take part. Thirty-two of the 195 teams entered advance to the finals. France, as defending champion, and the co-hosts are automatic finalists.

At least 752 matches will be played between March 1, 2000 and November 2001 to determine the other 29 qualifiers.

The qualifying structure varies as each of the six continental confederations uses a different format. The confederations are Asia (AFC), Oceania (0FC), South America (CONMEBOL), North and Central America (CONCACAF), Africa (CAF) and Europe (UEFA).

The first World Cup, in 1930 in Uruguay, drew 13 teams. The 1994 event played in the United States had 147 teams in qualifying while 174 teams took part in qualifications for France '98.

The United States, a participant in the last three World Cups, received a bye along with Costa Rica, Jamaica and Mexico, into the 12-team regional (CONCACAF) semifinals.

The Americans will play 16 qualifying matches. They finished second in the qualifying group in 1998, but went 0-3 and out in France after advancing to the second round in 1994.

London oddsmakers have listed the Americans as 200-1 shots to win the Cup.


FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced recently that the next Women's World Cup would be played in 2002, not 2003 as originally scheduled. FIFA wants the men's and women's competitions to be held in the same year in the future.

The 2002 men's event is in June and the women probably will play in September, most likely in Australia, although a formal announcement of a site is pending.

The U.S. women automatically qualify for the next World Cup as defending champions.

The American women will compete in the Australia Cup, Jan. 7-13. They play the Czech Republic Jan. 7 and Sweden Jan. 10 in Melbourne, and Australia Jan. 13 in Adelaide.

The Americans open their home season Feb. 6 with a match against Norway at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Norway is one of three teams to beat the Americans in the United States in the 1990s.

China and Germany are the other two.

Norway also is the only country to hold a series advantage over the U.S., 11-10-1.

The Norwegians were fourth in last summer's World Cup.


Jennifer Hamm, who played for Hawaii in her 1977 freshman season before transferring to Texas Tech, scored three goals and had three assists for the Red Raiders (8-11-1) this past season.

Hamm, a junior midfielder, was named to the Big 12 All-Conference second team by the league's head coaches.

She led Red Raiders in shots (78) and shots on goal (44) during the 1999 campaign.

Al Chase has been covering sports in Hawaii
since 1968. His column appears on Thursdays.
From the local ranks to the World Cup,
Al Chase will help keep you up to date on futbol.

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