Spain, Netherlands, Germany Maintain Winning Streak in Euro '12 Qualifiers
Defending champion Spain, the Netherlands and Germany won to maintain perfect starts to qualifying for soccer’s 2012 European Championship, according to Bloomberg.
Spain won 3-2 at Scotland, the Netherlands was a 4-1 winner against Sweden and Germany won 3-0 in Kazakhstan. England and Montenegro tied 0-0, while the game between Italy and Serbia in Genoa was abandoned early in the first half because of crowd trouble.
Fernando Llorente’s goal in the 79th minute gave world and European champion Spain the win in the Group I match in Glasgow. David Villa and Andres Iniesta scored to give the visitors a 2-0 lead before Scotland drew even on a score from Steven Naismith and an own-goal from Gerard Pique.
Spain tops the group with nine points after its third straight win. The Czech Republic moved into second place with six points after a 2-0 win in Liechtenstein.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay each scored twice as the Netherlands made it four wins out of four in Group E by routing Sweden in Amsterdam. Hungary won 2-1 in Finland to move into second place, three points behind the Dutch.
Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski scored as Germany won in Kazakhstan. The Germans have 12 points to top Group A, five more than Austria, which tied 4-4 at Belgium. Azerbaijan beat Turkey 1-0 in the other group match.
Montenegro and England both lost their perfect records in Group G with their goalless draw in London. Milan Jovanovic hit the crossbar for the visitors with seven minutes left.
Montenegro tops the group with 10 points, three more than England, which has played one fewer game. Switzerland beat Wales 4-1 in the other group game.
Italy’s Group C game with Serbia was halted after six minutes by flares thrown onto the field by the visiting fans, according to the website of European soccer’s governing body UEFA. The match had been delayed 35 minutes at the start by crowd disturbances, UEFA said.
Slovenia won 1-0 at Estonia and shares the group lead with Italy, which has played one fewer game. Northern Ireland rallied for a 1-1 tie at the Faroe Islands in the other group match.
Karim Benzema and Yoann Gourcuff scored as France beat Luxembourg 2-0 in Group D. The French maintain their one- point lead over Belarus, which also won 2-0 against Albania.
Russia moved atop Group B with nine points after a 1-0 win in Macedonia. Armenia beat Andorra 4-0 to sit in a second-place tie with seven points with Slovakia and Ireland, who tied 1-1.
Greece Atop Group
Greece defeated Israel 2-1 to move one point ahead of idle Croatia at the top of Group F. Georgia is two points behind after a 1-1 draw in Latvia.
Portugal won 3-1 at Iceland to close within two points of Norway in Group H. Denmark beat Cyprus 2-0 in the final group game.
The next round of qualifying matches in all groups will be played in March. The nine group winners, along with the second-place team with the most points, qualify for Euro 2012 with hosts Poland and Ukraine. The remaining eight second-place teams will have playoffs for the final four spots.