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Marvin Andrews Scores first World Cup 2002
Trinidad & Tobago's Marvin Andrews opened another chapter in the long and glamorous history of the FIFA World Cup when nine minutes into the game he scored the first goal for his team in the qualifier against the Netherlands Antilles in Port of Spain on 4 March 2000. Trinidad & Tobago won 5-0 (2-0). In another CONCACAF qualifier also played on Saturday, Honduras comfortably beat Nicaragua 3-0 (2-0). St Vincent and the Grenadines, with hat-tricks from Rodney Jack and Alwyn Guy, hammered nine goals past the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sunday as the World Cup qualifiers got into full swing with a day of one-sided matches.
Bermuda and El Salvador both hit five goals in winning their games while Cuba overcame the Cayman Islands 4-0 after their opponents had seven British-based professionals ruled ineligible at the last minute. Sunday's games were all preliminary stage matches in the CONCACAF region, with the teams aiming to join relative giants Mexico, the United States, Canada and Costa Rica in the semifinal group stage. The Caribbean zone is played on a knockout basis, with two leg ties, while Central America's preliminary games are played in two groups of three.
Sunday also saw action for Anguilla, who lie 202nd and last in the FIFA rankings and have the smallest population - around 10,000 - of any of FIFA's affiliated nations.
The 10 CONMEBOL associations will be next to launch themselves into action in the first of 90 preliminary matches between 28 March 2000 and 14 November 2001. In some cases, the venues are yet to be formally confirmed.
CAF will start in April with a series of 25 home and away cup ties to reduce the 50 participating teams to 25.
In late summer, nine groups from UEFA will embark on their World Cup adventure. In some cases no exact date has yet been decided upon by the associations involved. The associations in Group 8, featuring Romania, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary and Georgia, have so far been unable to reach an agreement on their match schedule. At present, FIFA is examining how and when it will settle this issue.
No fixtures have yet been announced for Asia and Oceania. AFC has requested a postponement of the deadline for submitting the match schedules until 31 March 2000. The dates for the OFC qualifiers will be decided by the FIFA Organising Committee at its next meeting in Zurich on 13 April 2000.
A total of 198 national associations have registered for the 2002 FIFA World
Cup Korea / Japan. 195 will try to snatch one of the 29 final slots, while
defending champions France qualify automatically along with co-hosts Korea
and Japan. It is expected that between 700 and 800 preliminary matches will
be played around the world. For France 98, a total of 643 games were contested,
drawing a total crowd of over 15 million spectators (an average of 24,000