After exhausting campaigns, a number of sides have booked their places at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ this month. FIFA.com looks at some of the more dramatic celebrations.
Chileans go wildHaving not appeared in the FIFA World Cup since 1998, Chile were desperate to seal a return to the biggest stage in football. They did just that on Saturday, when a 4-2 victory in Colombia earned them a place in South Africa. Upon hearing the final whistle in Medellin, the Roja players jumped wildly across the pitch. "The celebration is just starting," said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet while visiting the squad the following day.
* Salvation in the rain The weather in Buenos Aires on Saturday was fit for a disaster, and that appeared set to transpire for Argentina when, amid howling winds and thrashing rain, Hernan Rengifo scored an 89th-minute equaliser for Peru. But, with their hopes of reaching South Africa 2010 receding fast, Martin Palermo popped up, unmarked, to side-foot home the goal that kept *La Albiceleste's destiny in their own hands. Emotion burst forth from fans, players and coach Diego Maradona at the Estadio Monumental, and Argentina duly made sure of a place among the world's elite four days later.
** The somersaultAsked by FIFA.com about the growing infrequency of his trademark forward somersault in 2007, Miroslav Klose responded: "I'll think I'll start celebrating my best goals with the somersault again." The striker's goal in Moscow, which earned Germany a place in South Africa and ended their hosts' chances of automatic qualification, was certainly worthy. So, as Russia's world turned upside down, so too did Klose, who performed one of his trademark flips.
When Slovenia upset Slovakia 2-0 in Bratislava, which ultimately helped them secure a play-off place, their entire team slid across the pitch with broad grins on their faces. Maradona did likewise in Argentina's aforementioned success in Buenos Aires, lunging across the cold, soaked turf.
The long wait
Honduras's all-time leading marksman, Carlos Pavon scored the most important goal of his career last night as his team won 1-0 in El Salvador to book a return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1982. Following a poor performance against USA at the weekend, one during which he missed a crucial penalty in a 3-2 loss, Pavon's celebration illustrated his relief and ecstasy in equal measure.