Shockwaves were sent around planet football this week as some of the powerhouses of the world game fell to unexpected defeat. Take Argentina and Mexico, for example, who are currently licking their wounds after Wednesday's setbacks. FIFA.com picks out the eyecatching scorelines from the week's qualifying rounds for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Honduras shake up the established order
Carlos Pavon managed not only to shake up the established hierarchy in the North and Central America and Caribbean Zone, but at the same time blunt the hopes of the country where he plies his trade. The attacker's five-star performance gave Honduras a 3-1 win over Mexico, who now find themselves with only three points from as many games and something of a mountain to climb if they are to make it to South Africa.
Four days earlier, 35-year-old Pavon, who plays for Club Necaxa in Mexico, had earned Honduras a point in their 1-1 draw with Trinidad and Tobago, making him very much the man of the moment in the CONCACAF Zone. The Hondurans now sit third in the group with four points from three games, and the country's entire 7.5 million population are now dreaming of their first FIFA World Cup since Spain 1982.
Saudi Arabia back in the running
The biggest shockwaves from the AFC were provided by Saudi Arabia last Saturday. Finding themselves 1-0 down with 11 minutes to go away to Iran in Tehran, the Saudis, who are currently ranked 55th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, turned things around thanks to goals from Naif Hazazi and Osama Al Harbi.
The win by Jose Peseiro's men not only cost Iranian coach Ali Daei his job but also keeps alive Saudi Arabia's hopes of qualifying for their fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup since USA 1994. The Sons of the Desert currently lie third in Asia Group 2, level on points with second-placed Korea DPR who they face at home in Riyadh in their final match.
Northern Ireland and Bosnia upset the odds
In Europe, the two surprise packages are most definitely Northern Ireland and Bosnia Herzegovina. Nigel Worthington's team are sitting pretty on top of Group 3 after a 3-2 win away to Poland and a 1-0 success at home to Slovenia. Bosnia, meanwhile, got the upper hand in both their home and away clashes with Belgium and now stand second behind Spain in Group 5, four points clear of Turkey. These two underdogs are currently bang on form and harbour legitimate hopes of making it to South Africa.
As well as Northern Ireland, Slovakia are also ahead of big guns Poland and Czech Republic in Group 3, while Denmark and Hungary are making all the running ahead of Portugal in Group 1. Those two sides, coached by Morten Olsen and Erwin Koeman respectively, are seven points clear of FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and his team-mates, and although the Hungarians have played one game more, nerves must be jangling in the Portuguese camp.
Big three off to a shaky start in Africa
Francis Kasonde, Emmanuel Adebayor, Pierre Aubameyang and Roguy Meye have good reason to celebrate at the moment after scoring the goals which earned Zambia, Togo and Gabon surprising results as the final African qualifying round got underway. The Zambians managed a draw against current African champions Egypt, while Togo defeated Cameroon and Gabon overcame Morocco.
The north African teams were particularly disappointed with their false starts, but as Egypt striker Mido pointed out, "this early defeat by no means spells the end of the road for us". Gabon coach Alain Giresse, in contrast, was delighted with his team's victory over a side coached by fellow Frenchman Roger Lemerre, saying "to face an opponent as tough as Morocco and come away with the three points is incredible."
Honeymoon period over for Maradona
All of the above surprises pale in comparison to Bolivia's achievement. No-one could have dreamed that Erwin Sanchez's team would hand out a 6-1 thrashing to two-time FIFA World Cup-winners Argentina, who had previously been riding high on the back of Diego Maradona's appointment as coach. Lionel Messi had been filling the latter's legendary number 10 shirt to good effect in recent matches but it was the unheralded Joaquin Botero who proved to be the Albiceleste's downfall. The 31-year-old striker notched a hat-trick to take his tally in the qualifiers to eight goals, putting him top of the South American scoring charts.
The 1978 and 1986 FIFA World Cup winners now find themselves in a lowly fourth place, and with trips to Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay still to come, they are by no means certainties to qualify. One crumb of comfort for the Argentinians is that Paraguay also slipped up this week, losing 2-0 to Uruguay and only managing a 1-1 draw with Ecuador.
Have your say
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