Missed all of Friday night’s action from the first round of qualifying games for Euro 2012? Well look no further than here, as we round-up all the action group by group ahead of tomorrow night’s second round of fixtures.
Jogi Loew’s German side got their campaign under way with a 1-0 victory over Belgium in what was a very tight encounter in Brussels – the in-form, albeit on the international stage, Miroslav Klose the scorer of the only goal of the game.
Elsewhere in the group, Turkey ran-out with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Kazakhstan in what was Guus Hiddink’s first competitive game in charge. Arda Turan and Hamit Altintop (worth checking out) scored two goals in three minutes before Nihat Kahveci wrapped up the points 14 minutes from time. Ensuring that Turkey to the group.
A brace from Pavel Pogrebniak ensured that Russia beat Andorra 2-0, while Slovakia made their one man advantage count as they secured 1-0 victory over Macedonia but had to wait until the 90th minute before scoring.
A single goal was also good enough for Ireland who were made to work for their three points in a hard fought encounter against Armenia in Yerevan – substitute Keith Fahey scored the only goal of the game in the 76 minute.
However, it was the result that was far more important than the performance for manager Giovanni Trapattoni, who speaking after the game said: “We have learned we can get a result even when we don’t play well.”
Italy very nearly continued how they left off at the World Cup in what should have been an easy game against Estonia. Under new coach Cesare Prandelli, the Italians went behind to a Sergi Zeujov goal, before mounting a comeback in the second-half with goals from Antonio Cassano and Leonardo Bonucci.
Also in the group, Serbia enjoyed a 3-0 victory over former Ireland manager, Brian Kerr’s Faroe Islands. Strikes from Danko Lazovic, Dejan Stankovic and Nikola Zigic secured the points.
While Northern Ireland secured a very important 1-0 win over Slovakia, a team that made it to the World Cup. A single goal from Corry Evans, younger brother to Manchester United defender Jonny, made this a very sweet victory for Nigel Worthington’s side.
(Excuse the puns) but France drew a Blanc in Laurent’s very first competitive game on the road to Ukraine and Poland. We all through that this was a fresh start for France on a Blanc canvas if you will, however, it was anything but that as they were defeated 1-0 at home to Belarus. Not the start many would have wanted. (Well apart from Ireland that is)
Also in Group D, Bosnia defeated Luxembourg 3-0 in what was a one-side and one-halved affair with the victory secured before half-time. While Romania and Albania shared the spoils as they drew 1-1 after two late goals from substitutes Bogdan Stancu and Giergj Muzaka.
World Cup finals Holland were emphatic in their victory over minnows San Mario as they ran riot scoring five goals. Klass-Jan Huntelaar capped off a great week which saw him move from AC Milan and Schalke by scoring a hat-trick in this win, Ruud van Nistelrooy marked his international return with a goal while Dirk Kuyt also got his name on the score-sheet.
Elsewhere in the group, both Moldova and Sweden ran out 2-0 winners against Finland and Hungary respectively.
Israel and Malta were the first teams to get their campaign underway on Thursday night but it was the former who emerged victorious through a Yossi Benayoun, Malta got a consolation goal through Jamie Pace.
Also in Group F, Slaven Bilic’s Croatic ran-out 3-0 winners against Lativa thanks to goals from Petric, Olic and Srna while on the other hand, Greece played out a 1-1 draw with Georgia.
A Jermain Defoe hat-trick along with a goal from Adam Johnson ensured that England did not suffer a post-World Cup hangover. It was an emphatic 4-0 victory for Fabio Capello’s side over Bulgaria, which has already raised the nation’s expectations (after just one game), however despite the victory, the Italian won’t be getting carried away just yet.
Neighbours Wales, who last qualified for a major tournament in 1958, got their campaign underway in the worst way possible – falling to a 1-0 defeat to Montenegro. Musings are already suggesting that manager John Toshack should either resign or be sacked.
Portugal played out an eight goal thriller against Cyprus, who gained an unexpected point after the Portuguese threw away a 4-3 lead to end the game at 4-4. Three goals inside the opening 11 minutes saw Cyprus leading 2-1 before Merieles brought the sides level 15 minutes before half-time. Danny scored for Portugal, Okkas scored for Cyprus, and then back to Portugal who took the lead again through Fernandes before an 89th minute goal secured a point for the away side.
Elsewhere, Norway came from a goal down to beat Iceland 2-1, Hangeland and Abdellaoue with the goals for the away side.
World Cup winners and current European championship holders, Spain, got the defence of their title underway with a 4-0 victory over the Liechtenstein – a brace from Fernando Torres, along with goals from David Silva and an in form David Villa secured Spain’s 52nd victory in their 57 games since 2006.
Scotland were unlucky not to get three points in their game against Lithuania which ended 0-0 – it was Craig Levein who summed it up by saying “all our performance lacked was a goal” and having seen the highlights of the game – I couldn’t agree more.