Tottenham and Slovakian champion Zilina qualified for the Champions League for the first time Wednesday, and Auxerre, Ajax and FC Copenhagen also reached the group stage of Europe's top club competition.
Tottenham thrashed Swiss side Young Boys 4-0 with a hat-trick from Peter Crouch to overturn a 3-2 first-leg away deficit and reach the top flight in Europe for the first time since 1962. "It's fantastic, it's been a long time since Tottenham played in the top European competition," said Spurs manager Harry Redknapp.
Zilina beat Sparta Prague 1-0 to build on their 2-0 victory last week, and Auxerre beat nine-man Zenit St. Petersburg 2-0 to advance 2-1 on aggregate to reach the Champions League for the first time since 2002.
Ajax, a four-time European champion, beat Dynamo Kiev 2-1 after being held 1-1 last week. Copenhagen qualified on away goals by beating Rosenborg 1-0 at home. FC Braga, Werder Bremen, Hapoel Tel Aviv, FC Basel and Partizan Belgrade advanced to the group stage on Tuesday.
Tottenham's victory ensures England are the only country with four teams in Wednesday’s draw, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United securing automatic qualification.
Milan race to sign Ibrahimovic
Milan: AC Milan are battling to sign Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic after their disappointing pre-season but the Swede is unlikely to be on board for Sunday's Serie A opener against Lecce. Milan, third last term, have struggled for goals in warm-up matches under new coach Massimiliano Allegri. The club are looking to bring the former Inter striker back to Italy despite their frugal transfer spending. “I will do all that is possible to try to bring this great champion to Milan,” said chief executive Adriano Galliani.
Fifa impressed with England WC bid
Manchester: England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup was praised by FIFA's inspectors at the conclusion of their four-day visit. Led by Chilean federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the team were impressed with England's readiness to host the tournament - the level of government support, the world-class stadia, the passion for the game in the country, the social projects of clubs and youth involvement.
"All the needs and objectives of our visit were met and we are positive that the World Cup in England in 2018 or 2022 would be a great experience,” said Mayne-Nicholls.