|< Prev||Next >|
The business of World Cup qualification continued to be a tricky affair for Europe's big guns, and though almost all the major teams (with the exception of England) regisitered wins, some of them certainly did not come easy.
World Champions Spain dominated their match against Georgia in Tbilisi, but needed to wait till the 86th minute to get the winning goal as Cesc Fabregas set-up Roberto Soldado to poke the ball home. Spain were far from their best on the night, creating barely a handful of chances, and fortunate not to be behind when Alexander Amisulashvili struck the woodwork.
European runners-up Italy, picked up a facile 2-0 win against minnows Malta in Modena. Goals from Mattia Destro and Federico Peluso got the Italians their first win of the qualifiers, and they stay level on points with Bulgaria, who squeezed out a narrow 1-0 win against Armenia.
France continued their impressive start to the Qualifying campaign with an exciting 3-1 victory over Belarus. After a goal-less first half, Etienne Capoue and Christophe Jallet put France two goals to the good before Anton Putsila halved the deficit, slotting home the rebound after Hugo Lloris saved Sergey Kornilenko's penalty. Veteran playmaker Franck Ribery made sure of the points 10 minutes from time. France are in the same group as Spain, but the two European giants are yet to clash with each other.
Germany were far from their best, but squeezed out an exciting 2-1 away win against Austria in Vienna with Marco Reus scoring in the first half before a penalty early in the second half from Mesut Ozil put Joachim Low's side comfortably in the lead. A goal from Zlatko Junuzovic before the hour mark brought the game back to life, and Austria were unlucky not to have got an equalizer that their play on the night thoroughly deserved.
Jeremain Lens scored a brace as Netherlands beat Hungary 4-1 in Budapest. The PSV Eindhoven striker gave the Dutch a dream start with an early goal, which Balasz Dszudszak cancelled out almost as quickly from the penalty spot. Rookie defender Bruno Martins Indi and second-half substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar completed the scoring, the latter coming on for the injured Robin van Persie, who picked up a thigh strain.
England were fortunate to pick up a 1-1 draw against Ukraine at Wembley with Frank Lampard's 86th minute penalty salvaging a point for the home side after Yevhen Konoplyanka's wonder strike had given the visitors a shock lead. England captain Steven Gerrard was sent off late in the game as the hosts finished with 10 men.
Other winners on Tuesday night were Russia, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, Sweden, Montenegro, Cyprus, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovakia, Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- 13/10/2012 11:29 - South American WCQ Wrap: Messi inspires Argentina, Falcao stars for Colombia
- 13/10/2012 08:35 - European WCQ Wrap: England, Spain & Germany big winners, Portugal lose to Russia
- 06/10/2012 14:51 - Del Bosque cites stiff competition as reason for Mata's omission from Spanish squad