x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Holland close in on Euro 2012 qualification

Euro 2012 and International friendlies round up: The Dutch beat Hungary 5-3 in Amsterdam, while Spain win 3-1 on a tricky pitch in Lithuania.

Dirk Kuyt, in orange, shoots and scores in Holland's 5-3 victory against Hungary.
Dirk Kuyt, in orange, shoots and scores in Holland's 5-3 victory against Hungary.

Holland moved to the brink of Euro 2012 qualification but were pushed all the way by Hungary in a thrilling Group E encounter at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Dirk Kuyt’s late brace eventually settled a topsy-turvy encounter in the hosts’ favour after the Hungarians – beaten 4-0 in the reverse fixture in Budapest on Friday – twice fought their way back into the game.

Robin van Persie’s early strike gave the Dutch a half-time advantage but goals from Gergely Rudolf and Zoltan Gera turned the game on its head.

Gera equalised again after goals from Wesley Sneijder and Ruud van Nistelrooy had got Holland back in front, before Liverpool striker Kuyt had the final say to move Bert van Marwijk’s side onto 18 points from six games.

The win put the Dutch nine points clear at the top of the group while Sweden replaced Hungary in second place on goal difference after Mikael Lustig and Sebastian Larsson scored in a 2-1 home win over Moldova.

Xavi and Juan Mata combined to make sure world and European champions Spain were not embarrassed by Lithuania on a difficult surface in Kaunas.

Xavi, embarking on his second century of appearances for Spain after winning his 100th cap in their Euro 2012 qualifier against the Czech Republic on Friday, opened the scoring after 20 minutes.

But Marius Stankevicius levelled 11 minutes after the break and it needed the intervention of substitute Mata, who brought about an own goal from Tadas Kijanskas after 70 minutes and finished himself six minutes from time, to decide things in Spain’s favour.

The result extended Spain’s 100 per cent start to their qualifying fixtures, and ensured they kept their lead at the top of Group I at six points over the Czech Republic, who beat Liechtenstein earlier.

The Czechs shrugged off the disappointment of their weekend loss to the Spaniards by coasting to a 2-0 win with goals from Milan Baros and Michael Kadlec.

Turkey moved into second place in Group A behind leaders Germany with a vital 2-0 win over Austria in Istanbul. Arda Turan and Gokhan Gonul scored the home side’s goals.

Meanwhile Belgium also moved into contention as they hammered Azerbaijan 4-1 in Brussels. Jan Vertonghen, Timmy Simons, Nacer Chadli and Jelle Vossen scored in a comfortable win.

A late equaliser from Konstantin Vassiljev earned Estonia a 1-1 draw at home to Serbia in Group C and allowed Slovenia to cling onto second place in the group after a hard-fought goalless draw in Northern Ireland.

Tal Ben Haim scored the only goal as Israel edged past Georgia in Tel Aviv in Group F, while Adrian Mutu scored twice as Romania got back on track in Group D with a 3-1 win over Luxembourg.

Australia earned some measure of revenge for their World Cup thrashing at the hands of Germany with an unlikely victory in their international friendly in Dortmund.

Germany looked on course to replicate their 4-0 win in Durban last summer when Mario Gomez scored a 26th-minute opener in a dominant first half for the world’s No 3 ranked side.

But the Socceroos stunned their hosts with two goals in four second-half minutes, first through David Carney and then a Luke Wilkshire penalty, to claim their first ever win over the Europeans.

Asamoah Gyan scored during stoppage time Tuesday, giving Ghana a 1-1 draw against England in an exhibition game at Wembley Stadium.
Gyan, a striker for Sunderland in the Premier League, wove his way through the England defence before curling a shot past goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Andy Carroll had put England in front before halftime with his first international goal. This was his second appearance for his country.

Russia were held to a shock 1-1 draw by Qatar in a friendly in Doha.

The 2022 World Cup hosts, 77 places below their opponents in the Fifa rankings, took the lead in the fourth minute through Mohamed Kasoula, but Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko levelled in the 34th minute.

The draw continued Russia’s run of poor results after their 2012 qualifying draw in Armenia last week and friendly defeats to Iran and Belgium.

Andre Hainault’s 58th-minute effort earned Canada a surprise 1-0 win over Belarus in Antalya in Turkey.

China beat Honduras 3-0 and Peru shared a goalless draw with Ecuador.

World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay needed a couple of glorious finishes to edge out the Republic of Ireland 3-2 in Dublin.

Defender Diego Lugano opened the scoring from close range and, after Shane Long had cancelled out his strike with a 15th-minute header, his strikers took over.

Edinson Cavani and Abel Hernandez put the visitors in the driving seat with sumptuous strikes after 22 and 40 minutes respectively.

Keith Fahey’s 48th-minute penalty gave the Irish hope, but the South Americans held on.

Micael scored twice, in the 10th and 71st minutes, as Portugal beat Finland 2-0 in Aveiro.

Slovakia, who top qualifying Group B, went down to a 2-1 home defeat to Denmark.

A Kornel Salata own goal put Denmark in front after three minutes, but Filip Holosko equalised just after the half-hour mark.

Brondby winger Michael Krohn-Dehli fired in the winner in the 72nd minute.

First-half goals from Matias Fernandez and Jean Beausejour earned Chile a 2-0 win over Colombia in a friendly played in The Hague in Holland.

Martin Petrov’s first-half goal earned Bulgaria a 1-0 win over Cyprus, while Greece and Poland drew 0-0.