Football: Former Rock causes a World Cup shock

Today's Rocks players will have been impressed to hear about the World Cup xploits of ex-Bognor player Gary White / Picture by Chris Hatton
Today's Rocks players will have been impressed to hear about the World Cup xploits of ex-Bognor player Gary White / Picture by Chris Hatton

A FORMER Rocks player has helped a tiny nation pull off a big World Cup shock.

Gary White used to ply his trade at Nyewood Lane but is now coach of Guam, who are ranked 174 in the world.

Their lowly world football standing didn’t stop them, though, when they faced India in a World Cup qualifier - they beat them 2-1.

Guam – a Pacific island and a United States territory located 1,626 miles south of Japan – has a population of 165,000 and were beaten 16-0 and 19-0 during 2002 tournament qualifying, and recently managed their first-ever qualifying win, against Turkmenistan

Now they have pulled off a victory over a country with a population of 1.25 billion, winning 2-1 in the home qualifier to move top of Group D in round two of Asian 2018 World Cup qualification.

The BBC reported that if Guam progressed from this round of qualifying they would play in an additional round, with 12 teams split into two groups of six.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the World Cup. The two third-place teams will play home-and-away over two legs. The winner will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.

In other words, there is a long way to go

White, who is 40, was previously coach of the British Virgin Islands and Bahamas national team. He is one of 16 coaches on a Football Association scheme to boost the number of English coaches in the Premier League.

He told Fifa.com: “Our final outcome that we want is to put Guam football on the map, and I think that’s happening already, and for the team to continue to develop.

“The prize, if you like, is to get to the World Cup, the Asian Cup, but we’ll take each game at a time. It is a special time right now, I don’t want to put an end on it. Can we qualify for the World Cup? We know it’s going to be a tough road.”

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