Town trio suffer World Cup defeats

Gareth McAuley, Tamas Priskin and Carlos Edwards were all on the end of defeats in World Cup qualifying.

Stuart Watson

GARETH McAuley's hopes of playing at the World Cup in South Africa next summer took a major blow last night as Northern Ireland were defeated 2-0 by Slovakia at Windsor Park.

The Ipswich Town defender earned his 19th international cap, once again playing at right-back, as Nigel Worthington's team slipped to third in Group Three with Slovenia moving up to second on goal difference after beating Poland 3-0.

Northern Ireland have also played a game more than their rivals and a top-two place is now unlikely.

New Ipswich signing Carlos Edwards will definitely not be featuring in South Africa next year. He made his 76th appearance for Trinidad & Tobago as the Soca Warriors narrowly lost 1-0 to the USA in Port of Spain, the result leaving Trinidad bottom of the six-team group on five points and out of qualifying contention.

Edwards will jet back to England tomorrow and link straight up with his new team mates ahead of Ipswich's trip to Middleborough on Saturday.

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Elsewhere, Town striker Tamas Priskin won his 21st Hungarian cap when he came on as a 65th minute substitute in a 1-0 home defeat against Portugal.

Hungary are now unlikely to catch Group One leaders Denmark, who are five points clear of them with two games to play, meaning it will be Sweden (15pts) , Portugal (13pts) and Hungary (13pts) fighting it out for a second place platy-off spot.

In addition, Owen Garvan - who has not featured for Ipswich since their 2-0 defeat at West Brom - captained the Republic of Ireland Under-21s in their 1-1 draw in Estonia in a European Championships qualifier.

The result leaves Ireland in fifth place in their group, six points adrift of Estonia and five worse off than both Turkey and Switzerland, all of whom have played a game more.