x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Verbeek delight at 'highest honour'

The Australia coach, underlined exactly what it meant to reach the World Cup finals after a goalless draw in Qatar saw his side clinch their spot.

Pim Verbeek, the Australia coach, underlined exactly what it meant to reach the World Cup finals after a goalless draw in Qatar saw his side clinch their spot. "I think the World Cup is the highest possible honour for any coach and any player," said Verbeek. "I'm already looking forward to going there and so are all the players." Japan coach Takeshi Okada claimed "this is just the start" after watching his side book their place in the finals with a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan in Tashkent.

"I'd like to thank our players for their hard work," said Okada. "This is just the start for us. I'm grateful that we have got this opportunity." A 56th-minute goal by defender Daniel Diaz gave Argentina a narrow win over Colombia to move the Albicelestes up to third place in the South American World Cup qualifying group. "I'm happy with the result, but we can't repeat the performance we gave in the first half," said Argentina coach Diego Maradona.

"I was furious in the first half because they were stealing the ball off us easily. We weren't focused." Holland became the first European nation to book their place in next year's finals with a 2-1 victory over Iceland in Reykjavik. Goals from Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel enabled the Dutch to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group Nine. * With agencies