Fifa Brazil World Cup 2014: European Qualifying
Tuesday, 11th September 2012 at 03:47am
Among the biggest winners on the night was Roy Hodgson's England. Fresh from yet another penalty disaster at the Euros, the Three Lions put their summer woes behind them with a convincing 5-0 win albeit at the hands of minnows Moldova.
Goals from Frank Lampard (2), Jermain Defoe, James Milner and Leighton Baines were enough to see England kick start their campaign with a win.
Three-time winners Germany made a winning start, putting three goals past the Faroe Islands in Hannover, while their vanquished Euro 2012 group opponents, the Netherlands, made a return to form by beating Turkey 2-0 in Amsterdam.
Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was on the score sheet as his Portugal side came from behind to beat Luxembourg by two goals to one, while Belgium's highly rated young side started their campaign with three points away at Wales.
Russia, now coached by former England manager Fabio Capello, made a winning start, downing Northern Ireland 2-0 in Moscow but there was better news for the Republic of Ireland.
Giovanni Trapatoni's men scored two goals in the dying minutes of the game to squeeze past Kazakhstan 2-1 and get three important points under their belt.
Reigning world and European champions Spain weren't in action but beaten Euro 2012 finalists Italy drew 2-2 in Bulgaria thanks to a first half brace from Paulo Osvaldo, while France beat Finland 1-0 in Helsinki, Arsenal's Abou Diaby with the only goal of the game.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Hungary, Romania, Iceland, Croatia, Switzerland and Greece and there were draws in the games involving Scotland and Serbia, Denmark and the Czech Republic, and Montenegro and Poland.