With qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup now underway during this international break, here are how the teams from Groups A, B, C and D in the UEFA Zone performed in the last of their two qualifiers.
Group A: Belgium, Croatia in contention for automatic berth
Group A has been nearly decided with both Belgium and Croatia the only teams capable of reaching Brazil. Les Diables Rouges are on top of the group with the Croats in second and are out of reach from the rest of the table.
Both teams did not feature last night, but those already eliminated did. Serbia cruised past Wales 3-0 in Britain with goals from Aleksandar Kolarov, Filip Djordjevic and Lazar Markovic.
But Group A’s other British team beat Macedonia 2-1. Goals from Ikechi Anya and Shaun Maloney for Scotland cancelled out Jovan Kostovski’s goal.
All results: Wales 0-3 Serbia, Macedonia 1-2 Scotland
Group B: Italy through, four teams in contention for playoff
Italy were one of two teams from Europe to book their places in Brazil last night when they beat the Czech Republic 2-1. Giorgio Chiellini and Mario Balotelli scored in the second half to overturn Libor Kozak’s opener for the visitors.
But in contention for second place in Group B are four teams. Bulgaria beat Malta 2-1 with goals from Radoslav Dimitrov and Emil Gargorov, with Edward Herrera pulling one back for the islanders.
The Danes beat Armenia 1-0 via Daniel Agger’s penalty to stay in third place with 12 points, one behind the Bulgarians. Both Armenia and the Czechs have nine points.
All results: Italy 2-1 Czech Rep., Malta 1-2 Bulgaria, Armenia 0-1 Denmark
Group C: Germany on the verge of qualification
The Germans took another step towards Brazil 2014 with a 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands. Thomas Muller, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Özil scored for the Nationalmannschaft.
Both Austria and Sweden posted 1-0 wins. The Austrians beat the Republic of Ireland through David Alaba’s late goal while a very early one from Zlatan Ibrahimovic beat Kazakhstan.
The Irish, the Swedes and the Austrians are all in contention for second place, with the Scandinavians on 17 points. Three points behind them are Austria, while the Irish on 11 still have a mathematical chance of going to Brazil.
All results: Faroe Is. 0-3 Germany, Austria 1-0 Rep. of Ireland, Kazakhstan 0-1 Sweden
Group D: Netherlands through, Hungary, Turkey, Romania in the running
The Netherlands became the second European team to book their place in Brazil when they eased past Andorra 2-0 with Robin van Persie scoring both goals for the Oranje.
While they are assured first place in Group D, second place is still up for grabs. Turkey beat Romania 2-0 with goals from Burak Yilmaz and Mevlut Erdinc to stay in third place with the same number of points (13) as the Eastern Europeans.
Another Eastern European nation, Hungary, are second. They thrashed Estonia 5-1 to ensure they remain in the playoff spots. Tamas Hajnal, Daniel Bode, Krisztian Nemeth and Balasz Dzsudzsak added to Ragnar Klavan’s own goal. Tarmo Kink scored a consolation for the visitors.
All results: Andorra 0-2 Netherlands, Romania 0-2 Turkey, Hungary 5-1 Estonia
10 years ago
I will make this comment again, the qualifiers are a real snoozefest…. many of the games become in effect friendlies as the teams participating cannot qualify…. therefore how can these games be really called qualification matches?
The same principle applies to CL group stages …. apart from one or two matches far too predictable.