World Cup Weekend in Pictures

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2013

World Cup Weekend in Pictures

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    The World Cup in Brazil for 2014 is creeping closer, with the latest round of international games taking place this week. Many of the qualifying zones are now approaching their climax, with nations only a win or two away from sealing their place at the finals.

    As ever, a whole host of games and goals brought us some cracking imagery and storylines, and we've got the best of them here for you, to be added to over the World Cup weekend.

    You can also check out the goals of the World Cup weekend here.

The Most Expensive Player in the World...Substitute for Wales

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    He might have made headlines on transfer deadline day for becoming the most expensive player in the history of world football, but Gareth Bale was back to earth on Friday by taking his place on the subs bench for Wales.

    The new Real Madrid man failed to make an appearance at all, apparently still suffering with injury, as his team lost 2-1 to Macedonia to end the hopes of making the World Cup.

    Questions will no doubt be asked as to why Bale made the bench at all if he couldn't make an appearance.

Van Persie Saves the Dutch

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    Robin van Persie scored a late penalty to save Holland from a hugely disappointing defeat against Estonia.

    Despite taking an early lead, Holland needed the spot-kick from their forward to rescue a point, after Estonia turned the game around to lead 2-1 for a long time in the second half.

    Even with this stumble, Holland remain on course to qualify top of their group.

England Win, but Attacking Options Suffer

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    England strolled to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Moldova at Wembley, with Danny Welbeck scoring two of the goals.

    However, he was also harshly booked for being deemed to have kicked the ball away after the whistle had gone for an offside, meaning he will miss the next, far more vital, qualifier against Ukraine on Tuesday.

    England are already missing Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney due to injury.

USMNT Prepare for Vital Qualifier

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    Over in the CONCACAF qualifying zone, the United States men't national team were preparing for an important qualifying match in the hexagonal stage against Costa Rica.

    The game would see second place take on first, with the USMNT holding a slender lead before the match.

Biggest Win Comes in Kyiv

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    The biggest result of Friday night came in the UEFA qualifying Group H, where Ukraine smashed nine goals without reply past San Marino.

    Marko Devic opened the scoring just 10 minutes in, and Ukraine never let up their relentless finishing from then on.

    Yevhen Seleznyov, Edmar and Yevhen Khacheridi all added first-half goals, for a 4-0 scoreline at the break. Yevheniy Konoplyanka, Khacheridi's second goal and Roman Bezus added further strikes within 20 minutes of the restart, before Artem Fedetskiy and a late Yaroslav Rakitskiy goal sealed the mammoth win.

    San Marino have now conceded 38 goals in their seven matches and have not scored any themselves.

Celebrations in Colombia

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    Colombia picked up a vital 1-0 win over Ecuador to all but ensure they would feature at Brazil 2014, their first appearance at a World Cup finals in 16 years.

    After torrential rain, floodlight failure and head injuries all contributed to dragging the game out for hours past its supposed finishing time, James Rodriguez's goal proved enough to overcome a resilient Ecuador side who played an hour with only 10 men.

    With just three rounds left to play, Colombia have a 10-point lead over fifth-place Uruguay, who have one game in hand. Another win for Colombia will guarantee their path to Brazil next summer.