England 5-1 Croatia
England qualified for South Africa with two games in hand after a classy display, and probably their best to date under Fabio Capello, saw them thrash Croatia.
Aaron Lennon was the first half star, earning a 7th minute penalty which was disptached by Frank Lampard and then crossing for Steven Gerrard to double England’s advantage 11 minutes later. Further headers from Lampard and Gerrard put England four up before Eduardo pulled one back for the visitors. Wayne Rooney ended the scoring after picking up a poor clearance from Croatia ‘keeper Vedran Runje.
Wayne Rooney scored England’s fifth goal against Croatia at Wembley
The win delighted capello who said afterwards:
Both of our performances against Croatia pleased me. We need to press hard, play fast and develop our movement on and off the ball – and we showed that in both games.
Germany 4-0 Azerbaijan
Germany cruised to victory over Azerbaijan. Ballack (pen), Klose (twice) and Podolski were on target. The win keeps the Germans a point above Russia in the table.
Wales 1-3 Russia
Less than 12,000 supporters watched Wales go down to Russia. With no hope of qualification Wales worked hard and Russia were flattered by the scoreline, although Arsenal’s Arshavin was said to be worth the ticket price.
Russia now prepare for the arrival of Germany on Octover 10th, the winner of the game will gain automatic qualification.
Scotland 0-1 Netherlands
Holland’s win means Scotland have not qualified. Norway take the runner-up spot on goal difference. However, qualification for Norway is still in the balance, as the second-placed team with the worst record misses out on the play-offs.
Italy 2-0 Bulgaria
Italy increased their lead at the top of Group 8 and have moved within a point of qualification with a 2-0 win over Bulgaria. Goals from Juventus pairing Fabio Grosso and Vincenzo Iaquinta puts them four points ahead at the top.
Spain 3-0 Estonia
Spain are through to next year’s World Cup finals having seen off Estonia with a comfortable 3-0 win. Spain qualified as group winners with two matches to spare and have won eight out of eight.
Serbia 1-1 France
France came back from a goal down and a man down after goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was sent off in the ninth minute, to earn a point. Thierry Henry was responsible for the French goal.
Serbia are guaranteed second spot and look likely to claim the automatic qualification, while France still have a bit of work to do to qualify.
Albania 1-1 Denmark
Group 1 leaders Denmark were only able to gain a point away to Albania. Bendtner was on target again for the Danes who need two more points to secure qualification.
Malta 0-1 Sweden
Sweden were thankful to Ian Azzopardi’s own-goal on 81 minutes. The Swedes are now within three points of Denmark with two matches to go.
Hungary 0-1 Portugal
Ronaldo could still strut his stuff next summer after Pepe’s header was enough for a 1-0 win over Hungary. The result puts Portugal back in the running for a play off place.
Paraguay 1-o Argentina
Argentina, managed by Diego Maradona, could miss their first World Cup since 1970 after losing 1-0 to Paraguay. The result meant that Paraguay qualify.
Argentina are now 5th in their group, a point behind 4th place Ecuador. Only the top 4 sides are guranteed a place in South Africa, with the team in 5th having to go through a play-off with a rival from the North, Central America and Caribbean group