Slovakia reaches first World Cup by beating Poland

Oct 14, 2009 - 8:55 PM CHORZOW, Poland(AP) -- Slovakia qualified for its first World Cup, beating Poland 1-0 Wednesday night on a third-minute own goal.

With snow covering the ground and falling, Polish defender Seweryn Gancarczyk attempted to clear a cross but kicked the ball past goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek.

Before it split into two nations, Czechoslovakia appeared in every World Cup from 1930-90 and lost the final in 1934 and 1962. Czechoslovakia also won the 1976 European Championship.

Slovakia (7-2-1) won Group Three with 22 points, while Slovenia (6-2-2) finished second with 20 following a 3-0 win at San Marino and will go to the European playoffs.

After getting eliminated in the first round of the 2006 World Cup despite an opening 3-0 win over the United States, the Czech Republic failed to qualify for next year's tournament. The Czechs (4-2-4) finished third in Group Three.

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