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Preview Nov 8, 2005
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Update: UEFA WC qualifiers, June 8th 2005
by Mike Gibbons
There were only thirteen games in European qualifying this evening as this international season finally ends – unless of course you are Greek
or German, and have been selected to play in the Confederations Cup next week. Speaking of our genial hosts next year, Germany played out
a 2-2 draw with Russia tonight, with two goals from the Bayern Munich prodigy Bastian Schweinsteiger, his first(and second) at this level.
(Netherlands 22, Czech Republic 21, Romania 16, Finland 9, Macedonia 8, Armenia 4 Andorra 4)
Finland 0 Netherlands 4
Czech Republic 6 Macedonia 1
Romania 3 Armenia 0
The top three teams in group 1 all recorded big wins tonight. In Helsinki Ruud Van Nistelrooy put Holland in front before being replaced by
Robin Van Persie, who lit up the last fifteen minutes by creating goals for Kuyt and Cocu and scoring the fourth himself.
Fresh from putting eight past Andorra on Saturday, the free scoring Czechs replied to Macedonia’s opening goal with six of their own. Jan
Koller, who claimed the outright Czech scoring record at the weekend, scored four in eleven minutes that straddled half-time. Rosicky scored
a penalty and Baros chipped in with one at the end to complete the rout for the highest scoring team in the European qualifiers. With the
Czechs and the Dutch in such form, their showdown in Prague on October 8th looks pivotal.
Romania continued their dogged but increasingly vain looking pursuit of a play-off spot with a 3-0 home stroll against Armenia, with goals
from Petre and Bucur(2).
(Ukraine 23, Turkey 16, Greece 15, Denmark 12, Albania 9, Georgia 5, Kazakhstan 0)
Greece 0 Ukraine 1
Denmark 3 Albania 1
Kazakhstan 0 Turkey 6
If you are a fan of the Ukraine it’s time to polish up on your Deutsch and think about changing your Hryvnia (I looked it up) into Euros as,
barring a disaster of biblical proportions, they are going to the World Cup Finals next year. With their 1-0 in Athens over the European
champions courtesy of a late goal by Andriy Husin they have established a seven point lead at the top of the group, with two of their
remaining three games in Kiev.
Turkey put six goals past Kazakhstan to move into second place and give their goal difference a much needed shot in the arm. Goals by
Tekke(2) Sanli(2), Toraman and Altintop helped them move above Greece into second place. Denmark stay four points behind them after a 3-1
home win over Albania, and with Greece and Turkey still to face they may have an outside chance of the play-off spot.
(Portugal 20, Slovakia 17, Russia 14, Latvia 13, Estonia 11, Liechtenstein 4, Luxembourg 0)
Estonia 0 Portugal 1
Latvia 1 Liechtenstein 0
Luxembourg 0 Slovakia 4
Another qualifying game, another goal by Cristiano Ronaldo. The young winger rose to head in a cross from Luis Figo in Estonia to hand his
team a victory that keeps them top of Group 3 and gave him his seventh goal in qualifying. Injury permitting, he looks set to be one of the
stars of the World Cup next summer assuming the Portuguese continue their steady progress to Germany.
Slovakia stayed in touch with them however with a 4-0 victory away to Luxembourg, and Latvia refuse to give in on their play-off hopes with
a routine 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein.
(Rep of Ireland 13, Switzerland 12, Israel 11, France 10, Cyprus 1, Faeroe Islands 1)
Faeroe Islands 0 Republic of Ireland 2
Just the one game in this group tonight and it went as expected with the Irish labouring to a two goal victory courtesy of an Ian Harte penalty
and another from Kevin Kilbane. The Irish are now top of the group but the leadership looks likely to change hands several more times before
October 12th. I wouldn’t like to bet on which of the four top teams will go through, but if someone does and gets it right could you please get
in touch as I’d like a hand with my lottery numbers.
(Italy 13, Norway 9, Slovenia 9, Belarus 7, Scotland 6, Moldova 2)
Belarus 0 Scotland 0
If this group gets any duller it could quite conceivably be sued by dishwater for image rights. Let’s get the game out of the way – a depleted
Scotland team just about held on for a draw against the home side, who in attack looked only slightly more enterprising than the Scots
themselves, despite the best efforts of Stuttgart’s Alexander Hleb, allegedly being courted by Arsenal amongst others. With only three goals
in six qualifying games, it’s clear where Scotland’s problems are.
Every team in this group has four games to go, Italy look a shoe-in to win the group and whoever finishes in the play-off spot doesn’t exactly
look a good bet to get an further than that. Other than that, what more is there to say?
(Spain 13, Serbia & Montenegro 12, Lithuania 9, Belgium 8, Bosnia-Herzegovina 7, San Marino 0)
Spain 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina 1
If the draw in Group 5 was dull, this draw in Valencia was anything but. Spain created and missed several chances before Bosnia-Herzegovina
took a shock lead through Misimovic. Cue an absolute siege on their goal in a game where Spain had an incredible 25 corner-kicks. Still they
could not score, but then several factors fell in their favour. Two of the visitors’ players were red-carded in the last ten minutes and the
referee awarded seven minutes of injury time, in the very last of which Carlos Marchena salvaged a point for Spain and denied
Bosnia-Herzegovina the shock result of the night.
Even so, this was a game Spain had been expected to win, and with a game in hand at home to Lithuania the advantage in the group now lies
with Serbia and Montenegro.
(Croatia 16, Sweden 15, Hungary 10, Bulgaria 8, Iceland 4, Malta 1)
Iceland 4 Malta 1
The equivalent of a ripple on a mill pond, this result affects absolutely nothing in Group 8. For the record, Thorvaldsson, Gudjohnsen,
Gudmundsson and Gunnarson scored for Iceland and in the middle of those goals came the Maltese reply from Said.
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