Cuba, Jamaica Qualify for Gold Cup
Cuba scored a surprising 3-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday and Jamaica easily defeated Haiti, 3-0, as both countries qualified for the 12-nation CONCACAF Gold Cup, to be co-hosted by the United States and Mexico in July.
The Cubans, who earlier had beaten Guadeloupe, 3-2, and Antigua and Barbuda, 2-0, fell behind on a goal by the Soca Warriors’ Stern John in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, but recovered to win on goals by Jorge Ramirez, Lestor More and Maykel Galindo.
Meanwhile, the Reggae Boyz, who earlier had routed Saint Lucia, 5-0, and tied Martinique, 2-2, had little difficulty disposing of Haiti at the National Stadium in Kingston. Jermaine Johnson, Omar Daley and an own goal by an unidentified defender accounted for the scoring.
By finishing second in the two four-team Caribbean qualifying groups, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago went through to a three-way playoff with Honduras in April for the last two remaining Gold Cup places.
Martinique’s achievement was especially noteworthy because it recovered from a 4-1 deficit Sunday to beat Saint Lucia, 5-4, to finish second.
Costa Rica Triumphs
Costa Rica qualified for the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Finland when it shut out Cuba, 3-1, in Victoria, Canada, and then watched Mexico blank Canada, 2-0.
The Ticos advanced on goal difference after Costa Rica, Mexico and Canada all finished with six points. Costa Rica joins the U.S., which qualified earlier for the September world championship.
Canada, needing only a tie to win the group, was shut out by Mexico goalkeeper Jose Alamo.
Mexico, with two goals by Rafael Murguia and Samuel Herrera, thus clinched second place on goal difference ahead of the Canadians and advanced to a playoff with Jamaica for the third berth in Finland.
Hitzfeld to Stay
Bayern Munich, which already has reached the German Cup final and is virtually certain to win the Bundesliga title, said it will extend Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld’s contract by one year, keeping him with Germany’s most successful team through at least the end of the 2004-2005 season.
“The pressure on him after the [European] Champions League [elimination] was noticeable,” said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern’s president. “But he pulled on the reins, changed some things and brought success back to the team.”
Since taking charge at Bayern in 1998, Hitzfeld, 54, has won three league championships, one German Cup and the European Cup.
Several hundred Italian fans, most of them supporters of Lazio, demonstrated in the center of Rome against the arrest of more than two dozen of their number in the past month as part of government’s crackdown on the violence that has plagued Italian soccer this season.
The fans said further demonstrations will be held as they protest the use of video cameras and metal detectors now being used at major stadiums to curb hooliganism and racism in the stands.
One man was killed and 120 people were arrested in the Polish city of Wroclaw as fighting broke out between fans of second division clubs Arka Gdynia and Ryszard Zaremba.
“Bandits are posing as fans,” Michal Listkiewicz, president of Poland’s soccer federation, told the country’s PAP news agency. “They are murdering Polish soccer and all of our sport.”
Paul Gascoigne, the former England national team midfielder who searched three continents before landing a job with Gansu Tianma in the Chinese league, Saturday made his debut for the second-division team, scoring one goal and assisting on another in a 2-0 victory over Quingdao Hailifeng.