South Korea got a good start in its first match of the 2010 Asian World Cup qualifier, thumping Turkmenistan 4-0 in Seoul, South Korea on Feb. 6. (Getty Images)

North, South Korea Play in China

North and South Korea dueled to a draw in a FIFA 2010 World Cup qualifying match in Shanghai, China on March 26 that had been moved to a neutral site because of a dispute over the South Korean flag.

Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyeongyang was to host the match, but North Korea refuses to display its neighbor’s flag.

“It’s a shame that the match won’t be held in Pyongyang. But at least we will have our national flag and anthem. We didn’t want to play without them,” Korean Football Association spokesman Yoo Young-Cheul told AFP.

North Korea has only one victory over South Korea in their last ten matches. The 0-0 tie puts both North and South Korea at 1-0-1 in their sub-region for World Cup qualification.

Wednesday featured Asian qualifying action between several teams such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan. Asian frontrunners Australia and China also played to a 0-0 draw.

The matches conclude on June 22 and will determine four and a half places in the World Cup.

Briefs…

The first round of 2010 CONCACAF qualifier will be played on Wednesday and Sunday with 11 winners moving on to the next round. The first round features CONCACAF’s smaller teams such as Belize and Bahamas. The victors will play league giants like the United States, Mexico and Guatemala.

Qatar, host for the 2011 Asian Cup, rejected speculation from Australian media it was withdrawing its support for the event. Australia, which is bidding for the 2018 World Cup, said it was willing to host the 2011 Asian Cup if Qatar wanted to back out. Australia also expressed interest in the 2015 Asian Cup.

Youssou N’Dour of Senegal , the musician who sang the 1998 World Cup theme song, met with FIFA President Joseph Blatter Tuesday March 25. “Football is a truly fascinating pastime with enormous power, because it brings people from all over the world together in peace,” N’Dour told FIFA officials before the meeting.

Not everyone will fit in Ellis Park Stadium so South Africa is following Germany’s 2006 precedent by setting up fan parks. (Getty Images)

FIFA will place a greater emphasis on legacy in the 2018 bidding process. FIFA will also ask for greater detail on fan parks, which were first introduced in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, according to UK media.

Johannesburg police and city park officials are teaming up sweep parks clean before the 2010 World Cup. The government more than doubled the patrolmen by adding thirty-four police to watch the parks. The police plan to deter vagrancy, littering, and illegal tree-felling. Three parks have been designated fan parks, where spectators without tickets can watch the matches.

Written by Eric Connelly

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