Euro 2012 qual. - Perfect Dutch qualify

Tue, 06 Sep 22:42:00 2011

Kevin Strootman and Luuk de Jong were on target as Netherlands made it eight wins from eight Euro 2012 Group E qualifiers with a 2-0 triumph over 10-man Finland in Helsinki. The result means they have qualified for the finals.

Finland's goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky (down) and captain Niklas Moisander (R) look at the ball shot by Netherlands' Luuk de Jong (L) going into the goal during the UEFA Euro 2012 Group E qualifying football match between Finland and the Netherlands at the O - 0

The Dutch, the number one side in FIFA's world rankings, went ahead after 29 minutes when Wesley Sneijder lobbed the ball forward for the 21-year-old Strootman to beat keeper Lukas Hradecky with his first touch.

De Jong, who came on for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the second half, made it 2-0 from close range deep into stoppage time.

The Dutch are not guaranteed to win their group – but even if they finish second they are guaranteed go through as the best-placed runners-up.

Christian Wilhelmsson scored twice to help Sweden beat 10-man San Marino 5-0, keeping the Swedes in joint second place with Hungary, who beat Moldova 2-0 thanks to goals from Vilmos Vanczak and Gergely Rudolf.

Sweden looked to be heading for a fiasco against Europe's worst side after the first half ended 0-0 despite several good chances and a goal which was disallowed for being offside.

However the sending-off of San Marino defender Davide Simoncini in the 53rd minute for a second bookable offence weakened the minnow side and Swede Kim Kallstrom finally got the scoring going after 64 minutes.

Wilhelmsson got his first goal after 70 minutes and a Martin Olsson goal followed 11 minutes later. Tobias Hysen took the score to 4-0 after 88 minutes and Wilhelmsson's made it 5-0 in the third minute of extra time.

GROUP A

Turkey missed a stoppage time penalty as they drew 0-0 away to Austria, although the result still left them well-placed to take second place in the group.

The visitors were denied three points when Arda Turan saw his spot kick saved by Pascal Gruenwald after the Austrian keeper had fouled Burak Yilmaz.

Azerbaijan scored three times in a golden 15-minute spell in the second half and came from a goal down to defeat Kazakhstan 3-2 and earn their second Group A qualifying win in Baku.

Kazakhstan, bottom of the group, led through Sergei Ostapenko's 20th minute strike but the hosts turned the game around after Rauf Aliyev equalised eight minutes into the second half.

Mahir Shukurov converted a 62nd minute penalty to make it 2-1 and Vagif Javadov hit a third for the hosts six minutes later.

Vitali Yevstigneev beat Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev seconds after coming in as a substitute in the 77th minute but the home side held on.

GROUP D

France stayed top of Group D after drawing 0-0 with Romania on Tuesday.

Les Bleus now have 17 points from eight matches and can seal their place in next year's finals when they host Albania and Bosnia in October.

Bosnia-Herzegovina defeated Belarus 1-0 in Zenica, with Zvjezdan Misimovic scoring the winner with three minutes remaining.

Romania, who have 12 points along with Belarus, still retain outside hopes of finishing in second position. Bosnia have 16 points from eight games.

At the bottom of the group, Luxembourg beat nine-man Albania 2-1. The hosts enjoyed a rare win thanks to goals from Gilles Bettmer and Aurelien Joachim. Albania scored through Erjon Bogdani but the striker later joined Ansi Agolli in being sent off for the visitors.

GROUP F

Former Arsenal striker Eduardo hit two goals as Croatia came back from 1-0 down to defeat Israel 3-1 in Euro 2012 Group F qualifying in Zagreb.

Israel opened the scoring through Tomer Hemed after he capitalised on a pass from Yossi Benayoun a minute before half-time. Croatia coach Slaven Bilic threw caution to the wind at the break, bringing on Eduardo and midfielder Tomislav Dujmovic.

Luka Modric equalised for the home team with a cracking long-range shot in the 47th minute and Israel were reduced to 10 men four minutes later when defender Tal Ben Haim was sent off for a vicious tackle on Eduardo.

Substitute Eduardo made it 2-1 after pouncing on a superb pass from Modric in the 55th minute and he sealed victory two minutes later by heading in a cross from captain Darijo Srna. High-flying Croatia now have 19 points from eight games while Israel have 13 points from nine matches.

Greece are now a point behind Croatia after being held to a 1-1 draw at Latvia. Aleksandrs Cauna gave Latvia the lead after 19 minutes before Kyriakos Papadopoulos levelled with six minutes remaining.

A superb goal from captain Michael Mifsud earned Malta their first point after a 1-1 home draw with Georgia.

Georgia seized an early lead when Jaba Kankava's looping header beat keeper Andrew Hogg in the 15th minute but Malta fought back to grab a deserved equaliser just 10 minutes later in the encounter.

GROUP H

Two goals from Nicklas Bendtner kept Denmark's qualifying dreams alive as they beat Scandinavian rivals Norway 2-0 in Group H.

Denmark created several early chances and went ahead after 24 minutes when Dennis Rommedahl set up Bendtner and Sunderland's new loan signing from Arsenal drove the ball high into the net.

The tall striker added a second goal 20 minutes later when his rasping drive from 30 metres beat Norwegian goalkeeper Rune Jarstein. The victory means Denmark, Norway and Portugal all have 13 points at the top of the table.

Iceland earned their first win in Euro 2012 qualifying by defeating fellow Group H strugglers Cyprus 1-0 on Tuesday.

A fifth-minute goal from Kolbeinn Sigthorsson was enough to secure the points in Reykjavik. The hosts went close to a second goal late on but substitute Matthias Vilhjalmsson hit the post.

Reuters

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