x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Klose and Muller edge Germany near Euro 2012 qualification

Germany extended their lead at the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group A to move closer to the finals in Poland and Ukraine next year with a comfortable 4-0 win over Kazakhstan.

Germany extended their lead at the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group A to move closer to the finals in Poland and Ukraine next year with a comfortable 4-0 win over Kazakhstan.

Bayern Munich pair Miroslav Klose and Thomas Muller both grabbed a brace in an easy win for Joachim Low’s side in Kaiserslautern.

The win gives Germany an eight-point cushion at the top of their group ahead of their clash with Austria in June, while Kazakhstan are still waiting for their first goal, let alone their first point in qualifying.

In Group B, the leaders Russia were again left frustrated in front of goal as they were held to a goalless draw in Armenia.

Russia have now failed to find the net in their last three matches after friendly defeats to Belgium and Iran, but, in light of Armenia’s strong start to the campaign, they will be happy to return home with a point.

Bosnia-Herzegovina went into their Group D clash with Romania knowing they needed a win after France’s victory on Friday night and they did not let themselves down, although they had to come from behind to win 2-1.

France’s win took them on to 12 points and Bosnia-Herzegovina, starting the day on four points from three games, were behind to Ciprian Marica’s first-half goal.

But Vedad Ibisevic headed an equaliser just after the hour and the Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko grabbed a vital winner with seven minutes left.

In Group F, morning leaders Croatia suffered their first qualifying defeat as Levan Kobiashvili’s late goal gave Georgia a 1-0 win.

The strike extended Georgia’s great start to life under coach Temuri Ketsbaia, with them now 10 games unbeaten under his charge.

The win put them on to nine points, just one behind Croatia.

Elsewhere in the group, Beram Kayal hit a late winner as Israel survived a rocky second-half period to beat Latvia 2-1.

Elyaniv Barda gave them the lead in a first half they dominated, and Latvia were fortunate not to be out of sight by the time the half-time whistle went.

But they hung in and Kaspars Gorkss looked to have given them a point with an equaliser just after the hour until Kayal struck with nine minutes left.

England won the battle of Britain in Group G, coming away from Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium with a 2-0 win over Wales.

The game was over inside the opening 15 minutes, with Frank Lampard scoring from the spot after James Collins brought down Ashley Young, and Darren Bent netted from close range shortly after.

Jack Wilshere excelled on his competitive debut for England, who returned to the top of the group with the win.

They and joint leaders Montenegro received a huge boost later in the day as Bulgaria and Switzerland got the result they both did not want in Sofia – a 0-0 draw.

A draw leaves the pair six points adrift at the halfway stage in Group G with Wales anchored at the foot of the table.

Cyprus blew their chance at a first win in Euro 2012 qualifying Group H as they missed a penalty and struck the post against fellow strugglers Iceland.

Chryssis Michael saw his penalty saved in the 21st minute and Konstantinos Makridis struck the post 12 minutes from time as they failed to make the breakthrough against Iceland, who earned their first point of the campaign with the draw.

A header from Vassilis Torosidis with the last touch of the game helped 10-man Greece beat Malta 1-0 and move to the top of Group F.

With Croatia having lost earlier in the day, Greece knew a win would put them at the summit but, for 93 minutes they, and striker Kostas Katsouranis in particular, were denied by the brilliance of goalkeeper Justin Haber.

The 2004 winners looked stumped, especially when Socratis Papastathopoulos was sent off with six minutes left but, in the 94th minute, Torosidis denied Malta their first point of qualifying.

Slovakia laboured to a narrow 1-0 win over basement-dwellers Andorra to join Russia at the top of Group B.

Filip Sebo got the only goal in the 21st minute to send Slovakia on to 10 points from five games.

But a series of chances to add a second came to nought, setting up a nervous finish for the visitors.

The Republic of Ireland are also part of the three-way tie at the top of the group thanks to a 2-1 win over Macedonia.

Aiden McGeady’s early goal gave them a dream start, before Robbie Keane pounced on a goalkeeping error to double their lead.

Ivan Trickovski pulled one back on the stroke of half-time and it took a brilliant second-half save from Keiren Westwood to earn Ireland the win.

In the final game in Group D, Belarus’ hopes of qualification for Euro 2012 were dealt a blow as they suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Albania in Tirana.

Hamdi Salihi grabbed the only goal of the game for Albania just after the hour mark as they moved level on points with their opponents, although they remain below them on goal difference.

Erik Huseklepp’s goal nine minutes from time maintained Norway’s unbeaten record in qualifying as Denmark missed the chance to pull level with their Scandinavian rivals at the summit of Group H in a 1-1 draw.

A cagey encounter produced little in the way of goalmouth action before Dennis Rommedahl fired the Danes ahead just before the half-hour, and the veteran winger was unlucky not to wrap up the points after the break when he fired against the crossbar.

Norway’s toothless performance made a mockery of their 100% record coming into the match but the hosts got out of jail late on when Huseklepp got in behind the Denmark defence to snatch a barely deserved equaliser.