Fifa Brazil World Cup 2014: European Qualifying
Wednesday, 12th September 2012 at 09:06am
Round two of European qualifying for the 2014 Brazil World Cup took places in stadiums across the continent last night as teams looked to take another positive step towards qualifying for the finals in two years time.
The most impressive win of the night came in Novi Sad where Serbia thumped a hapless Wales side 6-1 to reach four points after two matches.
The Serbs led 3-1 at half time, with Wales' solitary goal coming from Gareth Bale before the hosts grabbed another three after the break to complete the rout.
Elsewhere in Group A, Belgium were held 1-1 at home to Croatia. The share of spoils in Brussels means that the two teams join Serbia on four points, trailing top spot on goal difference.
Scotland could only record another draw, this time against Macedonia, Kenny Miller canceling out Nikolce Noveski's strike before halftime.
Four-time World Cup champions Italy moved joint top of Group B, thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Malta. The Azzurri took the lead in the 5th minute through Mattia Destro but had to wait until the second minute of stoppage time for their second, an own goal from Andrew Cohen.
The Italians were joined on four points by Bulgaria who overcame Armenia 1-0 in Sofia with a goal from Stanislav Manolev.
In Group C, Germany made it two wins from two with a 2-1 win over neighbours Austria. Goals either side of halftime from Marco Reus and a Mesut Oezil penalty gave the three-time winners a two goal cushion but a Zlatko Junozovic strike after 57 minutes ensured an anxious last third of the game.
Group rivals Sweden got their campaign off to a winning start with a 2-0 win over Kazakhstan. Rasmus Elm gave the home side the lead after 37 minutes and the Swedes grabbed their second of the match in time added on at the end of the second half through Marcus Berg.
In Group D, Romania and Holland look the two likely contenders for automatic qualification for Brazil 2014.
The Oranje continued their recovery from their woeful Euro 2012 campaign with a fine 4-1 win away at Hungary. Leading 2-1 at halftime through goals from Jeremain Lens and Bruno Marten, the Dutch cruised to victory with another Lens strike and a first for the campaign from Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Romania also hit four, albeit against European minnows Andorra. The hosts led 2-0 until the dying stages before adding two goals in stoppage time to give the score line a more flattering look.
Elsewhere in the Group, Turkey recorded their first win of the campaign, beating Estonia 3-0 at home.
Switzerland have made a positive start towards a place at the finals in Brazil in2014. The only team to beat 2010 champions Spain in South Africa made it six points out of six with a 2-0 win over Albania; Xherdan Shaqiri and Gokhan Inler with the goals.
Elsewhere in the group, Norway picked up their first three points with a 2-1 win over Slovenia, while Cyprus beat Iceland 1-0 in Larnaca.
Russia and Portugal both boast 100% records at the top of Group F after wins over Israel and Azerbaijan respectively.
Fabio Capello's side scored two goals either side of halftime in Ramat Gan with Alexander Kherzakov bagging a brace in a comfortable away win.
After being held 0-0 for more than an hour against Azerbaijan, Portugal eventually broke the deadlock in the 64th minute when Silvestre Varela grabbed the opening goal.
The hosts added two further goals in the final five minutes to put some gloss on the result in Braga.
In the group's other match, Luxembourg and Northern Ireland drew 1-1.
Bosnia-Herzegovina made it two wins from two in Group G, scoring four goals against Latvia to go with the six they put past Liechtenstein on the opening day.
They are joined on maximum points by Greece who trail the table toppers on goal difference after they registered a 2-0 win in Pireaus; Sotiris Ninis and Konstaninos Mitoglu with the goals after halftime.
In the group's remaining match, Slovakia were unable to match Bosnia-Herzegovina's scoring exploits against minnows Liechtenstein, finding the back of the net just twice in a 2-0 win.
Three teams occupy top spot in Group H with four points: Montenegro, England and Poland.
England missed the chance to secure top spot outright when they were held 1-1 at home to Ukraine and had captain Steven Gerrard dismissed for two bookable offences.
The hosts trailed 1-0 to Yevhen Konoplyanka's first half stunning effort until the 87th minute when a Frank Lampard penalty rescued a point for Roy Hodgson's men in front of a far from full Wembley crowd.
Montenegro moved top of the table thanks to a crushing 6-0 win away from home against minnows San Marino, while Poland joined the two sides on four points after a 2-0 win at home to Moldova.
France recorded back-to-back wins to make a strong start to their qualifying campaign in Group I. Les Bleus were held by Belarus in Saint-Denis until four minutes after half time, when Etienne Capoue broke the deadlock.
Christophe Jallet and Franck Ribery completed the scoring for Didier Deschamps' side either side of an Anton Putilo goal for the visitors.
Defending champions Spain made a slow start to their bid to win four successive tournaments with a narrow 1-0 win away to Georgia.
La Roja were kept at bay until the 86th minute when Roberto Soldado scored to give Vincente del Bosque's men all three points.