Saturday 13 October 2012

2014 World Cup: Bale inspires Wales to first win

Barclays Premier League stars were in action on a busy week of international matches

  • WBA's James Morrison gave Scotland the lead but it was not enough against Wales

  • Villa's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring for Belgium against Serbia

  • Nicklas Bendtner in action for Denmark against Bulgaria

A raft of Barclays Premier League players were in action for their sides in the UEFA section of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Group A

Two goals from Gareth Bale turned the match for Wales who secured their first win of qualifying, beating Scotland 2-1 in Cardiff. West Bromwich Albion winger James Morrison had given Scotland who used six other Premier League players during the match the lead. But the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder won a penalty he converted with less than ten minutes remaining, then hit a superb winner in the last minute.

Belgium are joint leaders of the group with Croatia after an impressive 3-0 victory over Serbia in Belgrade with all the goals coming from players on the books of Premier League clubs. Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke got the first, Kevin de Bruyne, whom Chelsea have loaned to Werder Bremen, doubled the lead before Everton forward Kevin Mirallas sealed the victory over a Serbia side who had Chelsea Branislav Ivanovic and Manchester City’s Matija Nastasic and Aleksandar Kolarov in their defence.

In Belgium's defence were Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen, Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen and Manchester City's Vincent Kompany. Tottenham's Mousa Dembele also played the whole match, but Chelsea's Eden Hazard was withdrawn after 56 minutes.

West Bromwich Albion defender Goran Popov was unable to prevent his Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia side going down 2-1 at home to Croatia. Popov went off with eight minutes remaining as Macedona went for an equaliser, in vain. Everton’s Nikica Jelavic was taken off by Croatia on 65 minutes, shortly after the winning goal.

Group B

Chelsea’s Petr Cech conceded the first goal scored by Malta in the qualifying campaign as the Czech Republic beat the Mediterranean minnows 3-1 in Plzen in Group B. A goal from Nicklas Bendtner, the Arsenal forward on loan at Juventus, away to Bulgaria secured Denmark’s second point in a 1-1 draw. Liverpool defender Daniel Agger played the 90 minutes for Denmark.

Group C

Germany thrashed the Republic of Ireland 6-1 in Dublin to maintain their 100% record after three matches. Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), Seamus Coleman (Everton), John O’Shea (Sunderland), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic) and Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) were the Barclays Premier League players who started for Ireland with West Bromwich Albion’s Shane Long and Manchester United’s Robert Brady on a substitutes. Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker played the whole match for Germany, with his club-mate Lukas Podolski coming on midway through the second half.

In the Faeroe Isles, Sweden went behind to the minnows but Fulham forward Alexander Kacaniklic equalised shortly after coming on before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the winner in Torshavn. Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson and West Brom's Jonas Olsson played the 90 minutes.

Aston Villa striker Andreas Weimann came on for the final five minutes of Austria’s match with Kazakhstan but was unable to break a goalless stalemate.

Group D

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie watched from the bench as the Netherlands laboured to a 3-0 win at home to Andorra. Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar and Everton's Johnny Heitinga had a largely untroubled 90 minutes in defence.

Zoltan Gera helped Hungary to a second win with a 1-0 victory away to Estonia. The West Brom midfielder was withdrawn after 80 minutes. Gera’s club-mate Gabriel Tamas helped Romania to keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Turkey that kept them level with the Dutch on nine points. Liverpool’s on-loan midfielder Nuri Sahin was unable to stimulate an equaliser in the nine minutes he was on the pitch. Reading's Jem Karacen has been called up to the Turkey squad who travel to Budapest for Tuesday's match with Hungary.

Group E

An 81st-minute equaliser for Norway from Fulham’s Brede Hangeland frustrated Switzerland in Berne. Fulham’s Jon Arne Riise played the whole match for Norway, as did Arsenal defender Johan Djourou in the Swiss defence. Manchester United forward Joshua King came off the bench for Norway after 64 minutes.

A late goal from Tottenham midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson handed Iceland a 2-1 victory away to Albania that kept them a point behind leaders Switzerland.

Group F

Manchester United winger Nani played the full 90 minutes in Moscow as his Portugal team went down by the only goal to Russia who went three points clear of their nearest rivals in Group F.

Group G

Martin Skrtel led his Slovakia side to a 2-1 home victory over Latvia that was captained by Reading's Kaspars Gorkss. The victory moved Slovakia level with Bosnia-Herzogovina and Greece on seven points after the two sides shared a goalless draw in Piraeus. Fulham midfielder Giorgios Karagounis come on midway through the first half for Greece while Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic kept a clean sheet for Bosnia, for whom Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko was booked.

Group H

A brace from Wayne Rooney in his first game as England captain helped Roy Hodgson’s men to a 5-0 victory at Wembley over San Marino. The Manchester United forward opened the scoring from the penalty spot before his club-mate Danny Welbeck doubled the lead before the break. The pair each scored again before Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain registered his first senior goal for his country.

Group I

Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and Manchester City’s David Silva both started in midfield for Spain’s 4-0 drubbing of Belarus in Minsk. Silva was withdrawn 11 minutes into the second half after being booked, while Chelsea’s Fernando Torres was an unused substitute.

In a friendly at the Stade de France, a late goal from Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa gave Japan a shock 1-0 victory over France. Southampton defender Maya Yoshida helped Japan to a clean sheet against a France that featured four Premier League players: Hugo Lloris (Spurs); Gael Clichy (Manchester City); Laurent Koscielny; Olivier Giroud (both Arsenal).

EUROPEAN WORLD CUP 2014 QUALIFYING RESULTS

Group A: FYR Macedonia 1-2 Croatia, Serbia 0-3 Belgium, Wales 2-1 Scotland
Group B: Armenia 1-3 Italy, Bulgaria 1-1 Denmark, Czech Republic 3-1 Malta
Group C: Faroe Islands 1-2 Sweden, Kazakhstan 0-0 Austria, Rep of Ireland 1-6 Germany
Group D: Estonia 0-1 Hungary, Netherlands 3-0 Andorra, Turkey 0-1 Romania
Group E: Albania 1-2 Iceland, Slovenia 2-1 Cyprus, Switzerland 1-1 Norway
Group F: Luxembourg 0-6 Israel, Russia 1-0 Portugal
Group G: Greece 0-0 Bosnia & Herzegovina, Liechtenstein 0-2 Lithuania, Slovakia 2-1 Latvia
Group H: Moldova 0-0 Ukraine, England 5-0 San Marino
Group I: Finland 1-1 Georgia, Belarus 0-4 Spain

UEFA Under-21 Championships play-offs

A 65th-minute penalty from West Brom’s Craig Dawson gave England a narrow 1-0 over Serbia going into the second leg of their play-off to qualify for the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championships. At Norwich City’s Carrow Road Stuart Pearce’s men dominated early on but could not convert their chances and must take a slim lead to Serbia for the return leg on Tuesday.

In other play-off matches Fulham’s Pajtim Kasami was in the Switzerland side that held Germany to a 1-1 draw in Leverkusen.

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Key Points

  • Premier League stars involved in international action this week
  • International teams taking part in qualifying campaign for FIFA World Cup 2014
  • Gareth Bale and Wayne Rooney each score twice in their national side's victories
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