Wednesday 11 September 2013
Seventy-seven players from the Barclays Premier League were involved in qualifying action on behalf of European national sides last night, as Italy and the Netherlands became the first two European nations to reach next year's FIFA World Cup, and Germany edged closer to booking their safe passage to Brazil.
Despite already having seen their World Cup hopes go up in smoke Serbia and Scotland both recorded creditable victories against Wales and Macedonia respectively. Manchester City full-back Aleksandar Kolarov scored Serbia's second goal at Cardiff City Stadium in a 3-0 win over Chris Coleman's side, while seven players from the English top flight helped Scotland up to fourth place in the section, including Cardiff City goalkeeper David Marshall, who was substituted at half-time with a hip injury.
FYR Macedonia 1-2 Scotland
Scotland: David Marshall (Cardiff City; sub: 45), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker (both Norwich), Steven Naismith (Everton), Barry Bannan (Crystal Palace). Subs: Craig Conway (Cardiff).
Wales 0-3 Serbia
Wales: Boaz Myhill (West Brom), Ben Davies (Swansea), Danny Gabbidon (Crystal Palace), Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Andrew Crofts (Norwich City; sub: 58). Subs: David Vaughan (Sunderland: 58), Paul Dummett (Newcastle United), Declan John (Cardiff), Jack Collison (West Ham).
Italy came from behind to seal a 2-1 success against Czech Republic at Juventus Arena and seal their place at the finals. Although Aston Villa's new signing Libor Kozak stunned the hosts with a 19th-minute opener, two goals early in the second half took the Azzurri through. Liverpool's Daniel Agger scored the only goal of the game as Denmark edged an away win over Armenia to remain a point behind second-placed Bulgaria, who won 2-1 in Malta.
Italy 2-1 Czech Republic
Italy: Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland; sub: 45). Sub: Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton: 45).
Czech Republic: Petr Cech (Chelsea), Libor Kozak (Aston Villa), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal).
Armenia 0-1 Denmark
Denmark: Daniel Agger (Liverpool), Christian Eriksen (Spurs). Sub: Jores Okore, Nicklas Helenius (both Aston Villa).
Malta 1-2 Bulgaria
Bulgaria: Sub: Aleksander Tonev (Aston Villa).
Arsenal's Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil both scored as Germany completed their second 3-0 victory in four days, this time over the Faroe Islands. Joachim Low's side have one foot in Brazil after maintaining their five-point lead at the summit, despite victories for Sweden and Republic of Ireland.
Austria 1-0 Republic of Ireland
Austria: Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City; sub: 61)
Rep. of Ireland: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Marc Wilson (Stoke), John O'Shea (Sunderland; sub: 49), Glen Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Everton), Shane Long (West Brom; sub: 81), Jonathan Walters (Stoke), Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City; sub: 73). Subs: Robbie Brady (Hull City), Kieren Westwood (Sunderland), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Paul McShane (Hull), Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City; 74), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich).
Faroe Islands 0-3 Germany
Germany: Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal; sub 79). Sub: Andre Schurrle (Chelsea; 75).
Kazakhstan 0-1 Sweden
Sweden: Martin Olsson (Norwich), Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland; sub: 70), Johan Elmander (Norwich; sub: 81), Alexander Kacaniklic (Fulham). Sub: Jonas Olsson (West Brom; 90).
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie struck two second-half goals as the Netherlands became the first European side, along with Italy, to secure qualification for next year's tournament. The play-off prospects of West Ham's Razvan Rat and Spurs' Vlad Chiriches were hit when Turkey moved above Romania with a 2-0 win in Bucharest. Elsewhere, Hungary hit five past Estonia.
Andorra 0-2 Netherlands
Netherlands: Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Robin van Persie (Man Utd). Subs: Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Norwich City), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City).
Romania 0-2 Turkey
Romania: Razvan Rat (West Ham United), Vlad Chiriches (Spurs).
Hungary 5-1 Estonia
Two Fulham defenders, Brede Hangeland and Philippe Senderos, came up against each other as Switzerland went five points clear of Iceland with two matches remaining with victory in Oslo. Spurs' Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson played the full 90 minutes as Iceland stayed head of Slovenia with a 2-1 win over Albania.
Norway 0-2 Switzerland
Norway: Brede Hangeland (Fulham).
Switzerland: Sub: Philippe Senderos (Fulham; 90).
Iceland 2-1 Albania
Iceland: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Spurs), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).
Northern Ireland scored twice for the second match in succession, with West Brom's Gareth McAuley on target, but were again on the losing side as they became the first side succumb to a World Cup qualifying defeat by Luxembourg in 41 years. Russia's 3-1 defeat of Israel preserved their one-point lead above Portugal at the top of the group.
Luxembourg 3-2 Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland: Gareth McAuley (West Brom), Jonny Evans (Man Utd), Steven Davis (Southampton). Sub: Alex Bruce (Hull City).
Russia 3-1 Israel
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece remain locked at the top of the group after both recorded victories, with Bosnia coming from behind to beat a Slovakia side led by Liverpool's Martin Skrtel. The 2004 European champions narrowly overcame Latvia.
Slovakia 1-2 Bosnia-Herzegovina
Slovakia: Martin Skrtel (Liverpool).
Bosnia: Asmir Begovic (Stoke City), Edin Dzeko (Man City).
Greece 1-0 Latvia
Greece: Sub: Giorgios Karagounis (Fulham: 74).
England remain top of the group after a draw in Kiev, while Southampton's Artur Boruc played the 90 minutes in Poland's goal which was breached by San Marino's first goal of the qualifying campaign. The Poles 5-1 win took the visiting to within three points of England at the top.
Ukraine 0-0 England
England: Joe Hart (Man City), Kyle Walker (Spurs), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard (both Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott (both Arsenal), Rickie Lambert (Southampton), James Milner (Man City). Subs: Ashley Young (Man Utd; 67), Tom Cleverley (Man Utd; 87), John Ruddy (Norwich City), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), Leighton Baines (Everton), Steven Caulker (Cardiff City), Michael Carrick (Man Utd), Ross Barkley (Everton), Jermain Defoe (Spurs), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Spurs).
San Marino 1-5 Poland
Poland: Artur Boruc (Southampton). Subs: Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski (both Arsenal).
Manchester City's Samir Nasri came off the bench to score as France twice came from behind to beat Belarus and move level with Spain at the top of the group, having played a match more. In the evening’s other group match Finland won 1-0 in Georgia.
Belarus 2-4 France
France: Hugo Lloris (Spurs), Gael Clichy (Man City), Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna, Olivier Giroud (all Arsenal). Subs: Samir Nasri (Man City; 61), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United; 80), Patrice Evra (Man Utd), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United).
Georgia 0-1 Finland