Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

UEFA World Cup 2014 qualifying: Several groups have tightened up in the wake of Friday's results

It was a busy day in Europe as qualifying for the 2014 World Cup continued in UEFA. Here's a recap of all the action across the continent.

Group A

Macedonia 2-1 Wales

Wales probably weren't going to the World Cup before today's loss against last placed Macedonia, but there's basically no doubt now. Ivan Trickovski and Aaron Ramsey exchanged first half goals, but it was Jovan Kostovski's strike in the 80th minute that proved the difference.

Serbia 1-1 Croatia

Croatia allowed Belgium to extend their lead at the top of the group with a 1-1 draw against Serbia. Mario Mandzukic put Croatia ahead in the 53rd minute but Serbia's Aleksandar Mitrović answered back 12 minutes later. Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic was shown a red card in the 77th minute, but they were able to hold on for the draw.

Scotland 0-2 Belgium

Group B

Czech Republic 1-2 Armenia

Armenia prevented the Czechs from gaining any ground on second place Bulgaria thanks to a stoppage time winner from Gevorg Ghazaryan. The Armenians went ahead in the 31st minute when Karlen Mkrtchyan scored and held the lead until Tomas Rosicky equalized in the 70th minute.

Malta 1-2 Denmark

A late own-goal by Malta's Ryan Camilleri gave Denmark a 2-1 victory in a battle between two of Group B's bottom dwelling teams.

Italy 1-0 Bulgaria

Group C

Kazakhstan 2-1 Faroe Islands

Second-half goals from Kairat Nurdauletov and Andrei Finonchenko prevented the Faroe Islands from claiming their first points of qualifying, despite holding a 1-0 lead at halftime.

Germany 3-0 Austria

Republic of Ireland 1-2 Sweden

Ireland took the lead in the 21st minute thanks to always-dependable Robbie Keane, but the defense couldn't hold up in the end as Sweden fought back for the win. Johan Elmander equalized before halftime and Anders Svensson scored the winner early in the second half.

Group D

Romania 3-0 Hungary

Romania tightened their grip on second place in Group D with a 3-0 thumping of Hungary. Ciprian Marica, Mihai Pintili and Cristian Tanase scored for Romania.

Turkey 5-0 Andorra

Turkey kept their outside hopes of catching Romania in second place alive with a 5-0 demolition of Andorra. Umut Bulut had a hat trick for Turkey with Burak Yilmaz and Arda Turan adding goals as well.

Estonia 2-2 Netherlands

Group E

Norway 2-0 Cyprus

Norway moved into second place in the group thanks to a 2-0 win over Cyprus that featured goals from Tarik Elyounoussi and Joshua King.

Slovenia 1-0 Albania

A 19th-minute goal from Kevin Kampl led Slovenia to am important victory over Albania.

Switzerland 4-4 Iceland

Meet your game of the day. Switzerland remained at the top of Group E despite blowing a 4-1 lead and settling for a draw against Iceland.

Iceland took the lead in the 3rd minute on the first of three goals from Johann Berg Gudmundsson but quickly went to pieces, surrendering four straight goals over the next 50 minutes. Stephan Lichtsteiner scored twice along with strikes from Fabian Schär and Blerim Dzemaili as the Swiss opened a three-goal lead by the 53rd minute.

Iceland roared back, though, as Kolbeinn Sigthorsson made it 4-2 in the 56th minute and Gudmundsson completed his hat trick, scoring the equalizer in stoppage time.

Group F

Russia 4-1 Luxembourg

Russia kept pace with Portgual thanks in large part to a brace from Alexander Kokorin.

Northern Ireland 2-4 Portugal

Portugal survived a wild six-goal, three-red card match against Northern Island to keep their advantage at the top of Group F.

Portugal went ahead early behind a goal from Bruno Alves but conceded an equalizer in the 35th minute to Gareth McAuley. Hélder Postiga was sent off just before halftime and Northern Ireland took advantage, going ahead 2-1 in the 51st minute when Jamie Ward score.

It was all downhill from there for Northern Ireland, though. In the final 30 minutes Chris Brunt and Kyle Lafferty both saw red card and Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick to give Portugal the victory.

Group G

Lativa 2-1 Lithuania

First-half goals from Nauris Bulvitis and Arturs Zjuznis were enough for Latvia as they held on in the second half to defeat Lithuania.

Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-1 Slovakia

A 77th-minute goal from Viktor Pecovsky gave Slovakia an important victory over the leaders of Group G. Slovakia remain a point behind Greece for second place and a spot in the playoffs.

Liechtenstein 0-1 Greece

Greece remained safely in second place thanks to a 72nd-minute goal from Kostas Mitroglou. Both sides finished with 10 men as Greece's Jose Holebas and Liechtenstein's David Hasler were both sent off in the second half.

Group H

England 4-0 Moldova

Ukraine 9-0 San Marino

That's not a typo. Ukraine won, 9-0.

Poland 1-1 Montenegro

Montenegro's lead at the top of Group H dwindled to two points after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Poland. Dejan Damjanovic put Montenegro ahead in the 12th minute, but Robert Lewandowski equalized four minutes later.

Group I

Georgia 0-0 France

Finland 0-2 Spain

Follow @SBNationSoccer on TwitterLike SB Nation Soccer on Facebook

More in Soccer:

Full coverage of UEFA World Cup qualifying

England aren’t suited to beautiful football

Let’s stop making fun of Everton’s management

Toronto FC fires Kevin Payne

Ozil gives Arsenal a dash of much needed quality

UEFA World Cup 2014 qualifying: Several groups have tightened up in the wake of Friday's results

This article originally appeared on SBNation.

Click here for the full article »
SBNation
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected