England batter Croatia to qualify for South Africa; Scotland’s dream is squashed by the Oranjes; Italy down Bulgaria; Portugal beat Hungary to stay alive; Henry helps 10-man France draw in Serbia

England 5 – Croatia 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) England won a penalty after six minutes after Aaron Lennon was hacked down in the box and Frank Lampard netted his second back-to-back penalty with ease. Wembley erupted for the second time in the 17th minute as Lennon, free as a bird down the right, had time to pick out Steven Gerrard in the box and the Liverpool captain headed home number two. (First half highlights here.) Glen Johnson showed his attacking class just before the hour mark, working the right hand side and picking out Frank Lampard who headed in number three. Steven Gerrard confirmed England’s qualification to South Africa with yet another header, before Arsenal’s Eduardo denied Robert Green a clean sheet scooping the ball home from close range. Croatia’s humiliation was completed when their keeper fluffed a kick into Wayne Rooney’s path and he calmly scored into the open net. (Second half highlights here.) (John Terry and Frank Lampard post match interview can be seen here.)

Scotland 0 – Holland 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) The Dutch deserved to take the lead after tearing through the Scots with a series of slick passes only for Dirk Kuyt to see his 20-yard effort cannon off the post to safety. The Scots were next to find the woodwork as Gary Naysmith cracked a shot against the post and Kenny Miller saw his follow up superb saved by Utrecht goalie Michel Vorm. Nine minutes from time tragedy struck, a terrible attempted header from David Weir dropped straight into the lap of Eljero Elia and the talented upstart had little trouble walking the ball into the net.

Northern Ireland 0 – Slovakia 2 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Stanislav Setsak tapped home a Vladimir Weiss cross and Filip Holosko added a powerful second on 67 minutes. Northern Ireland look unlikely to make the World Cup and must win their final game at the Czech Republic to have any chance.

Spain 3 – Estonia 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Cesc Fabrages stole the ball of an Estonian midfielder, played a cute give-and-go with Silva to advance into the box and the Arsenal skipper slotted home Spain’s opener. Santi Carzola grabbed a second for Spain in the final ten minutes and Mata closed out the match with a third in injury time.

Italy 2 – Bulgaria 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) A brilliant one-two between Andrea Pirlo and Fabio Grosso made a joke of the Bulgarian offside trap as Italy took the lead after ten minutes. The Azzurri double their lead with yet another superb set of one-twos, this time from Gilardino and Vincenzo Iaquinta with the Juve striker finishing with style. (First half highlights here.)

Hungary 0 – Portugal 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Fighting for their World Cup lives in Hungary, Portugal made the perfect start as Pepe crashed home a header from a Deco set play after nine minutes.

Serbia 1 – France 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) The writing looked on the wall early doors for France as keeper Hugo Lloris was sent off after nine minutes and Nejad Milijas scored a penalty to give Serbia the lead. Down to 10-mean Les Bleus found an equaliser before the break as Anelka’s pot-shot rebounded out to Thierry Henry who found the net.

Germany 4 – Azerbaijan 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) A Michael Ballack penalty and a neat finish from Miroslav Klose after great work from Lahm down the left hand side handed Germany a 2-nil lead over Azerbaijan after 54 minutes. Klose added his second turning home a cross at the near post, Lukas Podolski notching number four as Germany began to run riot.

Wales 1 – Russia 3 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Arsenal’s Andrei Arshavin worked his magic on the edge of the Welsh box, feeding a pass into Igor Semshov to slot home. James Collins brought the hosts level connecting with a low corner into the near post. Sergei Ignashevich handed Guus Hiddink’s side victory rifling home a low free-kick into the bottom corner with Spurs’ Roman Pavlyuchenko adding a third at the death.

Bosnia 1 – Turkey 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Turkey broke the deadlock after just four minutes in Bosnia as Emre tucked the ball home from close range. Bosnia levelled midway through the half with a superb left-footed Sejad Salihovic free-kick that arched over the wall and into the top corner of the net.

Moldova 1 -  Greece 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Theofanis Gekas fired Greece into the lead at Moldova, but against the odds the hosts pulled out an injury time equaliser as Oleg Andronic volleyed in after collecting a ball over the top.

Latvia 2 – Switzerland 2 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) A simple Alexander Frei header put Switzerland in front away at Latvia, but on the hour mark the host levelled through a fine opportunist strike from Watford’s Aleksandrs Cauna.

Malta 0 – Sweden 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) It may not have been pretty, but Sweden chalked up a crucial three points courtesy of Ian Azzopardi’s unfortunate own goal nine minutes from time.

Romania 1 – Austria 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) A powerful Gigel Bucur header put Romania in front, Franz Schiemer levelling the match eight minutes from time.

Armenia 2 – Belgium 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) BATE Borisov striker Hovhannes Goharyan fired Armenia into the lead against Belgium converting a rebound after 20 minutes. The hosts doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half with a tremendous solo goal from Sargis Hovsepyan, the number four swivelling his hips to beat three men after drifting in from the right and finishing with aplomb. Igor De Camargo netted a late, last minute consolation for the Belgians.

Czech Republic 7 – San Marino 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Milan Baros was the star of the show grabbing a hat-trick in the rout. Isn’t it about time that San Marino was forced to qualify for the qualifiers?

Slovenia 3 – Poland 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Zlatko Dedic put Slovenia in front after 12 minutes in Maribor and Milivoje Novakovic added a second on the stroke of halftime before Valter Birsa put the match beyond reach of Poland.

Albania 1 – Denmark 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Nicklas Bendtner had given Denmark the lead with a header past Albania goalkeeper Saimir Ujkani in the 40th, Erion Bogdani equalising for the hosts in the 51st minute.

Liechtenstein 1 – Finland 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Former Liverpool striker Jari Litmanen put the Fins ahead from the penalty spot, Polverino equalised with a deflected effort.

Belarus 0 – Ukraine 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Andriy Shevchenko saw a first half effort saved by the Belarus keeper.

Cameroon 2 – Gabon 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) The Indomitable Lions completed back-to-back wins over Gabon with goals in each half from Jean Makoun and Samuel Eto’o. Hull striker Daniel Cousin grabbed an injury time consolation goal for Gabon.

Saudi Arabia 2 – Bahrain 2* (Agg. 2-2) (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) A free-flowing Saudi attack after 13 minutes was finished by Al-Shamrani but Bahrain equalised through Okwunwanne just before the break. The match had a thrilling finish, Al Montashari put the hosts back in front in the 89th minute only for Latif to levelled in injury time. Bahrain are now set for a play-off against New Zealand after winning the two-legged play-off against Saudi Arabia on away goals.

Brazil 4 – Chile 2 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Villareal striker Nilmar was the star of the show for Dunga’s side with a hat-trick. Nilmar got his first from an Alves cross and the lead was doubled by Julio Baptista. Chile came back into the match through a Humberto Suazo penalty and then looked well placed when Felipe Melo was sent off for a poor challenge on Sanchez. Suazo equalised four minutes later with a fine left-footed volley but two goals in two minutes from Nilmar won the match. Sanchez was also sent off for Chile. (Second half highlights here.)

Paraguay 1 – Argentina 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Nelson Valdez was the hero for the home side, finishing off a blistering first-half move. Juan Veron was sent off for two bookable offences in the second half and Maradona and Argentina are under real pressure after two defeats in four days. Paraguay qualify for a fourth straight World Cup finals.

Uruguay 3 – Colombia 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Ajax’s Luis Suarez curled home the opener for Uruguay, Jackson Martinez headed home the equaliser before goals from Andres Scotti and Sebastien Eguren put Uruguay just one point behind Argentina in qualifying.

Bolivia 1 – Ecuador 3 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia was on target in the Ecuador win.

Venezuela 3 – Peru 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Venezuela are also a point behind Argentina, level with Uruguay thanks to a brace from Nicolas Fedur Miku. Ronald Vargas also scored for the home side, Peru’s goal was scored by Juan Fuenmayor.

Mexico 1 – Honduras 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) A closely fought encounter was decided with fifteen minutes remaining when Wigan’s Maynor Figueroa fouled Tottenham’s Giovani Dos Santos in the box. Cuauhtemoc Blanco stepped up to convert the penalty. Guillermo Ochoa was also called upon to make a smart stop late on for the home side.

Trinidad & Tobago 0 – USA 1 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) Ricardo Clark was the hero for the USA, scoring a howitzer in the 62nd minute. T&T are now officially out of contention to make the World Cup.

El Salvador 1 – Costa Rica 0 (2010 World Cup qualifier, September 9, 2009) A 90th minute winner from Rudis Corrales was the difference between the two sides.

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England U19 2 – Russia U19 1 (European U19 Championship qualifiers, September 8, 2009) Russia took the lead after nine minutes as Irakliy Logua latched onto a left-wing cross from Nika Piliev to fire home clinically past Declan Rudd. England drew level less than ten minutes into the second half when Newcastle’s Nile Ranger picked a ball up in the box before turning and drilling a low shot into the bottom corner. Just five minutes later and England were ahead as a Reece Brown (brother of Wes) free-kick from 30-yards took a deflection en route to goal.

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Japan 4 – Ghana 3 (International Friendly, September 9, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) After an entertaining opening forty-five minutes, the Black Stars took a 1-nil lead into the break after Asamoah Gyan slotted home a penalty on the half hour. (First half highlights here.) Gyan then doubled Ghana’s advantage early in the second period, Kengo Nakamura soon brought Japan back into the game, only for Matthew Amoah to restore the Africans two goal advantage. But a terrific effort from Japan in the final ten minutes turned the match on its head as Shinji Okazaki, Keiji Tamada and finally ex-Arsenal midfielder Junichi Inamoto scored three goals inside four minutes.

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DC United 1 – Kansas City Wizards 0 (MLS, September 9, 2010)


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