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United States maintain World Cup progress

  • Story Highlights
  • Michael Bradley scores twice as the United States defeat Mexico 2-0 in Ohio
  • North Korea stun Saudia Arabia 1-0 to moves up to second in qualifying table
  • A Robbie Keane double gives the Republic of Ireland a 2-1 victory over Georgia
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(CNN) -- Two goals from midfielder Michael Bradley helped the United States defeat Mexico 2-0 in Columbus, Ohio to maintain their march towards the 2010 World Cup finals.

Captain Robbie  Keane strokes home a penalty to spark the Republic of Ireland's comeback against Georgia.

Michael Bradley, right, scores his second goal against Mexico in World Cup qualifying action on Wednesday.

Bradley, son of coach Bob Bradley, ensured the United States continued their recent record against their neighbors to 9-0-2 on U.S. soil since 2000.

Mexico were reduced to 10 men when captain Rafael Marquez was sent off in the 65th minute for a foul on goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Meanwhile, North Korea stunned Saudi Arabia in a busy day of World Cup qualifying action across the globe.

Their 1-0 victory in Pyongyang lifted North Korea into second place in Group Two of Asian qualifying -- trailing South Korea by just one point.

North Korea have not qualified for a World Cup since 1966.

Elsewhere across Asia, regional favorites Australia and Japan remained on course to clinch their places in South Africa with a 0-0 draw in Tokyo.

Australia remained top of Group One, two points ahead of Japan, who have moved four points ahead of third-placed Bahrain and Qatar.

In Europe, Robbie Keane rediscovered his scoring touch with a World Cup double to send the Republic of Ireland level with champions Italy at the top of qualifying Group Eight after a 2-1 victory over Georgia.

Captain Keane, revitalized following his transfer-window return to Tottenham from Liverpool, led by example as the resilient Republic battled back after going a goal down in the opening minute in Dublin.

Hector Cuper's Georgia shocked their rivals when Alexander Iashvili caught the Irish cold, and both sides had goals disallowed for offside before Keane made his mark.

The first came from a dubious penalty in the 73rd minute and the Spurs striker headed the winner five minutes later.

Keane stressed the Republic must cut out the early errors to maintain their bid to reach the finals in South Africa next year.

"Conceding a goal like that in the first minute can cost you but luckily enough we got back into game," he told Sky Sports. "That's what we have to look at - we're well capable of scoring goals but we have to cut out these mistakes."

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Keane claimed he did not see the penalty incident, where Ucha Lobjanidze was penalised for handball when the ball appeared to hit his shoulder with the flag up for offside.

"I was facing the other way. If it wasn't then sometimes you need a bit of luck. We kept pushing on and I think we deserved it in the end."

The result will boost hopes the Republic can qualify for a major finals for the first time since 2002, but Keane is taking it one step at a time.

He added: "We just concentrate on what we do. We believe we're well capable of qualifying but we need to try to win games and try to win games convincingly.

"It's a great start for us and we'll enjoy this. It's been a great start, long may that continue."

Northern Ireland completed the double over qualifying minnows San Marino with a 3-0 away victory to go second in Group Three on goal difference.

Gareth McAuley opened the scoring after seven minutes and Chris Brunt wrapped up the win on 63, both scoring their first international goals. Grant McCann had reacted to fire the second after 32 minutes.

Victory came at a price with key trio Kyle Lafferty, Steven Davis and Grant McCann all booked and ruled out the crucial home fixture against Poland next month.

San Marino were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute when Manuel Marani was sent off for a second yellow card.

Wales skipper Craig Bellamy reacted to a spectator who shouted abuse when the Manchester City striker gave a touchline television interview after the 1-0 friendly defeat against Poland in Portugal.

Bellamy delivered a finger-pointing response before being led away. "These things happen, I don't want to make any fuss about it. Maybe it was because of a few drinks," he said.

"It always seems to be me, though. I have shown my commitment to Wales by turning up for these sorts of games, but it is me that always seems to get picked on for stick.

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"I'm the one who turns up for games. I'm passionate about my country, maybe too passionate at times."

Wales were beaten by an 80th minute goal from Legia Warsaw's Brazil-born striker Roger who beat goalkeeper Boaz Myhill with a chip from outside the area.

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