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Wednesday 27 March 2013

European qualifiers: No joy for home nations

A host of Barclays Premier League players were in action in FIFA World Cup qualifiers

  • Manchester United's Wayne Rooney puts England ahead in Montenegro

  • Chelsea's Eden Hazard scores the winner for Belgium against Macedonia

  • Gareth Bale puts Wales ahead from the penalty spot but his side lost to Croatia

  • Shaun Maloney challenges for the ball in Scotland's defeat by Serbia

  • Robin van Persie shoots at goal as the Netherlands overcome Romania

  • Nacho Monreal celebrates after helping Spain score a crucial goal against France

Group A

Serbia 2-0 Scotland

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic led his Serbia side to victory in Karadjordje. Manchester City's Mateja Nastasic was also in the starting line-up as the home side inflicted a fourth consecutive qualifying defeat on Scotland, who were led by Wigan Athletic's Gary Caldwell and featured James McArthur, Shaun Maloney (both Wigan), Everton's Steven Naismith and Norwich City's Steven Whittaker. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) was a half-time substitute for McArthur, while Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion) and Barry Bannan (Aston Villa) remained on the bench. Scotland are bottom of the group with two points from six matches and now cannot qualify for the FIFA World Cup next year.

Belgium 1-0 Macedonia

Chelsea's Eden Hazard scored the only goal, his second in two games, in a hard-fought victory in Brussels that put them top of the group, level on points with Croatia. Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany returned from injury to lead the side. Alongside him in defence were Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal) and Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), while Mousa Dembele (Tottenham) and Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) also started. Everton forward Kevin Mirallas was a half-time substitute while his club-mate Marouane Fellaini came off the bench in injury-time. Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) and Romelu Lukaku (West Brom) were unused substitutes.

Wales 1-2 Croatia

A first-half penalty from Gareth Bale was not enough for Wales in Swansea. Two late goals, the second from former Arsenal striker Eduardo Da Silva, turned the match around. Boaz Myhill (West Brom), Hal Robson-Kanu, Chris Gunter (both Reading), Ashley Williams, Ben Davies (both Swansea City) and James Collins (West Ham) started for Wales, while Everton's Nikica Jelavic stayed on the Croatia bench.

Group B

Armenia 0-3 Czech Republic

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech kept a clean sheet as he celebrated winning his 100th cap for his country. Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky also played the 90 minutes as the Czech Republic recorded a comfortable win in Yerevan to move up to third place, two points behind Bulgaria with a game in hand.

Denmark 1-1 Bulgaria

A penalty from Denmark captain Daniel Agger (Liverpool) earned his side a point against Bulgaria, for whom Fulham's Stanislav Manolev had scored.

Malta 0-2 Italy

Group C:

Germany 4-1 Kazakhstan

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker led the German defence in this comfortable victory in Nuremberg. Gunners team-mate Lukas Podolski remained on the bench as Germany extended their lead at the top of the group to eight points.

Republic of Ireland 2-2 Austria

Two goals from Stoke City forward Jonathan Walters looked to have earned the Republic of Ireland victory in Dublin. Martin Harnik had given Austria the lead but after West Ham's Emanuel Pogatetz had conceded a penalty, Walters converted from the spot before scoring his second on the stroke of half-time. But an injury-time goal from David Alaba denied the Republic a much-needed win. Seamus Coleman (Everton), captain John O’Shea (Sunderland), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Marc Wilson (Stoke) and James McCarthy (Wigan) all started while Stephen Kelly (Reading) and Kieren Westwood (Sunderland) were unused substitutes. Aston Villa striker Andreas Weimann came on for Australia with 21 minutes to go.

Group D

Netherlands 4-0 Romania

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie struck twice, once from the penalty spot, as the Netherlands continued their domination of Group D. Manchester City's second-choice goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon was in the line of fire in Amsterdam against a Dutch side for whom Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea) played for 73 minutes, while Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa) and Michel Vorm (Swansea) watched from the bench. The Netherlands are now seven points clear of second-place Hungary.

Turkey 1-1 Hungary

Fulham's Kerim Frei was an 87th-minute substitute for Turkey as they looked for a late winner in Istanbul.

Estonia 2-0 Andorra

Group E

Northern Ireland 0-2 Israel

A Northern Ireland side featuring Jonny Evans (Man Utd), Gareth McAuley (West Brom), Steven Davis (Southampton), Chris Brunt (West Brom), Aaron Hughes (Fulham) and Shane Ferguson (Newcastle United) suffered a setback against Israel. An Israeli defence that included Tal Ben Haim (Queens Park Rangers) held firm at Windsor Park. Swansea forward Itay Shechter was replaced with four minutes remaining by Chelsea's Yossi Benayoun. The results leaves Northern Ireland in fourth place, eight points adrift of the top three while Israel are one point behind leaders Russia, who have two games in hand.

Azerbaijan 0-2 Portugal

Group H

Montenegro 1-1 England

Despite Wayne Rooney giving England an early lead in Podgorica with a header from a corner, Roy Hodgson's team, made up of players exclusively from the Barclays Premier League, had to hold on for a draw. Montenegro lead the group by two points, with England in second.

England: Joe Hart (Man City); Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Man City), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), Ashley Cole (Chelsea); Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Michael Carrick (Man Utd); James Milner (Man City), Tom Cleverley (sub: Ashley Young, 76), Danny Welbeck; Wayne Rooney (all Man Utd).

Poland 5-0 San Marino

Southampton's Artur Boruc enjoyed a comfortable evening in goal for Poland, for whom his back-up, Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal, watched from the bench.

Ukraine 2-1 Moldova

Group I

France 0-1 Spain

The world champions moved back to the top of the group thanks to a goal scored by Barcelona's Pedro that was assisted by Nacho Monreal, of Arsenal. Monreal's club-mate Laurent Koscielny started in the French defence, that featured Patrice Evra (Man Utd) and Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, while Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye played 70 minutes before being replaced. Cabaye's Newcastle team-mate Moussa Sissoko came on after 82 minutes as France sought an equaliser, as did Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud in injury-time. Mapa Yanga-Mbiwa (Newcastle), Loic Remy (QPR) and Gael Clichy (Man City) were not used as substitutes by manager Didier Deschamps. On the Spain bench were Pepe Reina (Liverpool), David De Gea (Man Utd) Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) and Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), while Juan Mata (Chelsea) was brought on in injury-time. Spain are two clear at the top, with five matches played.

For a full list of teams and tables, go to www.fifa.com

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Key Points

  • Barclays Premier League players meet in World Cup qualifying across Europe
  • England draw but Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland lose
  • Eden Hazard, Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Agger score for their respective countries
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