World Cup qualifiers: Crouchino at the double to see England past Belarus; Ukraine & Portugal reach the play-offs; Argentina beat Uruguay to qualify

England 3 – Belarus 0 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) England’s new strike force combined in the fourth minute as Agbonlahor crossed for Peter Crouch to put Fabio Capello’s side in front at home to Belarus. Just before the hour mark Beckham played a short corner to Shaun Wright-Phillips who swerved his shot past the keeper. Five minutes later Peter Crouch bagged his second of the night, following up a Carlton Cole shot that had been saved.

Uruguay 0 – Argentina 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) The crunch match between Uruguay and Argentina was locked in stalemate at the break. (First half highlights here.) With five minutes remaining Argentina finally found the breakthrough as defender Mario Bolatti fired the ball over the line to confirm their qualification to the World Cup.

Portugal 4 – Malta 0 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Carlos Queiroz’s side saw off Malta and qualified for the play-offs. Nani got the ball rolling with a fine long range effort, Simao continued his recent good goal scoring run with the second on the stroke of half-time. Miguel Veloso added the third after the break and Edinho claimed the fourth in the 90th minute.

Liechtenstein 0 – Wales 2 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Wales had gone ahead on 16 minutes courtesy of David Vaughan’s first strike for his country. Ten minutes from time Wales wrapped up the win as Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey cracked home a free-kick after Tottenham’s Gareth Bale was tripped just outside the box.

Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 – Spain 5 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Spain took control of the match against Bosnia Herzegovina with two goals in the 12th and 13th minute. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique headed home the opener and David Silva nutmegged the keeper for the second. Alvaro Negredo confirmed his predatory skills with goals on 50 minutes and 55 minutes to double Spain’s lead at the start of the second half. Juan Mata added the fifth before the Wolfsburg pair of Dzeko and Misimovic scored consolations for the home side.

Italy 3 – Cyprus 2 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Yiannis Okkas put Cyprus in front on 12 minutes and Chrysis Michael doubled the lead on 49 minutes. Gilardino was the hero for Italy with an incredible hat-trick which came in the final 12 minutes. The Fiorentina striker headed home the first on 78, added the second at the near post on 80 and in the 90th minute won the match from close range.

Poland 0 – Slovakia 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Slovakia produced a lacklustre performance in horrific weather conditions but an own goal by Polish defender Seweryn Gancarczyk in the third minute sent them through to their first ever World Cup. At the fulltime whistle Slovakia staged a pitch invasion to celebrate.

Andorra 0 – Ukraine 6 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Andriy Shevchenko settled the nerves just after the half hour, Oleg Gusev doubled the lead on the hour and an og from Antonio Lima nine minutes later put Ukraine in control. Three goals in as many minutes late on sealed the rout with Evgen Seleznov (the goal of the game), Yaroslav Rakytskyi and Andriy Yarmolenko on target.

Germany 1 – Finland 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Veteran striker Jonatan Johansson gave Finland a shock lead on ten minutes, Lukas Podolski spared Germany’s blushes with the equaliser in the final minute of the match.

Azerbaijan 1 – Russia 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin tapped home Russia’s opener in the 13th minute. Vagif Javadov beat Akinfeev for the equaliser early in the second half.

Kazakhstan 1 – Croatia 2 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Ognjen Vukojevic put Croatia in front with a header from a corner on ten minutes, Sergey Kizhinchenko equalised for the home side sixteen minutes later. Tottenham’s Niko Kranjcar won the game with a header in the 90th minute.

France 3 – Austria 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) A diving header from Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema put Les Bleus in front, Thierry Henry doubled the lead from the penalty spot. Marc Janko pulled one back in the second half but Andre Pierre Gignac pulled out another cracking shot with his right foot for a late third.

Bulgaria 6 – Georgia 2 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) The home side ran riot in the first 45 and scored all their goals in 38 minutes. Dimitar Berbatov claimed a hat-trick, Martin Petrov a brace and the other came from Stanislav Angelov. Dvalishvili and Kobiashvili (pen) scored for Georgia.

Czech Republic 0 – Northern Ireland 0 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Northern Ireland finish fourth in Group Three.

Lithuania 2 – Serbia 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Serbia were beaten by penalties from Mindaugas Kalonas and Marius Stankevicius. Manchester United’s Zoran Tosic netted a screamer for the visitors, but it was not enough to prevent a second defeat in their pool.

Sweden 4 – Albania 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Defender Olof Mellberg set things off and netted twice in the first half for the Swedes, who have qualified for the last five international championships, but eventually had to settle for third place in the group.

Denmark 0 – Hungary 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Akos Buzsaky’s first-half goal gave Hungary a 1-0 victory over group winner Denmark.

San Marino 0 – Slovenia 3 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Milivoje Novakovic gave Slovenia a 24th-minute lead and goals from Dalibor Stevanovic and Marko Suler in the second period wrapped up a comfortable if not especially emphatic victory.

Romania 3 – Faroe Islands 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009)

Turkey 2 – Armenia 0 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Goals from Halil Altintop and Servet Cetin earned Turkey a 2-0 victory against Armenia.

Greece 2 – Luxembourg 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Two headed goals in three first-half minutes from Vasilis Torosidis and Theofanis Gekas, both from Giorgos Karagounis set-pieces, put the Greeks on their way. Ben Payal was dismissed in the 58th minute after picking up a second booking to complete a miserable night for the visitors, who grabbed a consolation goal when Avraam Papadopoulos turned a cross past his own keeper in the last minute.

Estonia 2 – Belgium 0 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Estonia opened the scoring with a header from Raio Piiroja in the 30th minute after good work by Konstantin Vassiljev. Vassiljev then pounced on a cross from Joel Lindpere to make it 2-0 in the 67th minute.

Peru 1 – Bolivia 0 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Johan Fano’s goal in the 53rd minute lifted Peru to a 1-0 victory over Bolivia in a match between the two weakest teams in South American World Cup qualifying.

Chile 1 – Ecuador 0 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Ecuador needed a victory to finish fifth, but their dreams were ended by Humberto Suazo’s winner in the 53rd minute.

Brazil 0 – Venezuela 0 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Brazil twice hit the bar and played the last half hour with 10 men after defender Miranda was sent off for elbowing Giancarlo Maldonado.

Paraguay 0 – Colombia 2 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Second-half goals by Adrian Ramos and Hugo Rodallega saw already-eliminated Colombia finish qualifying on a high.

United States 2 – Costa Rica 2 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Bryan Ruiz scored twice in a four-minute span midway through the first half to give Costa Rica a 2-0 lead, but Michael Bradley cut the U.S. deficit in the 72nd minute. With the United States playing a man short after defender Oguchi Onyewu tore a tendon in his left knee and Costa Rica just 20 seconds or so from qualifying, Jonathan Bornstein headed in a corner kick from second-half substitute Robbie Rogers from about 7 yards.

El Salvador 0 – Honduras 1 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Carlos Pavon’s winner came as he met a cross from David Suazo, striking a firm header to the delight of fans in Cuscatlan Stadium, as Honduras qualified for South Africa.

Trinidad & Tobago 2 – Mexico 2 (World Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Kerry Baptiste opened the scoring for Trinidad in the 32nd minute with a penalty, before Enrique Esqueda came off the bench to  latch onto a through-ball from Cuauhtemoc Blanco and lashed a powerful shot into the roof of the net to equalise in the 57th minute. Trinidad took the lead again just four minutes later when Baptiste nodded in a close range header for his second goal. Mexico drew level again in the 64th minute when a short corner resulted in a low cross finding Carlos Salcido gathered in front of the goal and a simple goal.

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Japan 5 – Togo 0 (International Friendly, October 14, 2009) Japan tore Togo to shreds in the opening exchanges of their friendly. Prolific Shimizu S-Pulse striker Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring after six minutes, and Okazaki soon chalked up his double with a cheeky backheel just two minutes later. By the 11th minute the hosts were 3-up as Catania centre-forward Takayuki Morimoto expertly controlled a cross in the box, turned his marker and fired a low shot into the bottom corner. After the break Shinji Okazaki completed his hat-trick, before Keisuke Honda wrapped up the win with Japan’s fifth at the death.

South Korea 2 – Senegal 0 (International Friendly, October 14, 2009) South Korea took the lead against Senegal just before the halftime interval as Ki Sung-Yong crashed home a well-struck left-footed effort. (First half highlights here.) Ki Sung-Yong claimed the second in the second-half.

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Australia 1 – Oman 0 (Asian Cup qualifier, October 14, 2009) Netting his 19th international goal in just 36 appearances, Everton’s Tim Cahill saved the Aussie’s blushes by converting a left wing cross with 15 minutes left on the clock. Cahill toasted his goal by reproducing his controversial Samoan canoe celebration.

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