Scotland Keep the Dream Alive 苏格兰还有一线生机
All the UK’s top football action was on the international stage 国际舞台 this weekend as Scotland and Northern Ireland played crucial World Cup qualifiers 世界杯预选赛, while England warmed up 热身 with a friendly 友谊赛 against Slovenia.
Having performed poorly in their earlier World Cup qualifying games, Scotland went into Saturday’s game against FYR Macedonia 马其顿共和国 under enormous pressure.
Losing this match would have ended their hopes 让他们希望破灭 of playing in a major international tournament for the first time since 1998, and would surely have cost their manager George Burley his job.
However, one thing Scotland have always been able to rely on is the passionate and vociferous 大声喧嚷的 support of their fans, 'the Tartan Army' 苏格兰格子球迷军, and a packed Hampden Stadium 苏格兰国家球场 was in full voice to cheer their team on.
Despite a lacklustre 枯燥乏味的 first half, the Scots found their form 找到感觉 after the break with goals coming from Scott Brown and James McFadden to end the game 2-0.
Manager George Burley, who has saved his job, at least until Wednesday’s match against Holland, was full of praise for fans and players alike.
The fans were magnificent. The atmosphere was great and the side on the pitch didn't let them down.
George Burley, Scotland manager
"The fans were magnificent. The atmosphere was great and the side on the pitch didn't let them down 没有使他们失望," said Burley.
"We created a number of chances. The team out there did us proud," he added.
The phrase to do someone proud simply means to make someone feel proud.
Now if Scotland can somehow get a result 取得胜利 against group leaders 小组领先队 Holland on Wednesday, they could get into the play-offs 附加赛 and book themselves a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
To come to a country like this, who have a very good team, we put our bodies on the line.
Nigel Worthington, Northern Ireland manager
Northern Ireland also kept their chances of qualifying for 2010 alive with a well-deserved 1-1 draw against Poland.
It could have been a famous victory for the Irish who led for much of the game, conceding an equaliser 以进球追平比分 only in the 79th minute of the game.
Manager Nigel Worthington summed up 总结 his mixed feelings about the game, describing it as "a fantastic result for us but we are all disappointed it is not three points."
"To come to a country like this, who have a very good team, we put our bodies on the line," added Worthington, meaning his team tried as hard as they possibly could.
England won 2-1 in their friendly match against Slovenia, and face Croatia on Wednesday in a game that could see them guarantee their spot 位置 in South Africa next year.
But England manager Fabio Capello has warned 警告 his players against complacency 自满, letting them know that they had better follow his instructions if they want to remain in the team.
"Sometimes I shout. But this time absolutely not. I will explain what I want them to do - if they want to stay with me," said Capello.