England 2 – Ukraine 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here, ITV highlights here.) He may have been only England’s fifth choice striker, but Peter Crouch was the toast of the nation when the beanpole striker smacked home the opener after a Lampard corner was header back into the mixer by John Terry. (Watch out for Crouch’s “rope” celebration.) The game then petered out as England failed to build on their 1-nil lead, and the Three Lions were punished by Andrei Shevchenko’s 74th minute snap-shot in the box after England failed to deal with a free-kick. But just as it looked like the night would end in tears for England, Beckham swung in a free-kick, Gerrard headed the ball across goal and captain John Terry was able to turn in the winner.
Wales 0 – Germany 2 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) (Alternative highlights here.) Having majorly disappointed against Finland, Wales fell behind after just 11 minutes against Germany as Michael Ballack crashed home a fierce 25-yarder that ripped into the net. Wales conceded a horrible second minutes after the break, Mario Gomez chased down a lost cause by the dead-ball line, the striker managing to send an aimless cross into the box and Ashley Williams clumsily turned the ball into his own net.
Italy 1 – Republic of Ireland 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) The Republic got a fantastic early boost when Pazzini was sent off after four minutes. But the Azzurri still managed to take the lead when Pirlo played Grosso in down the left, the full-back fed the ball into the box and Vincenzo Iaquinta swept the opener past Given. As sweet as you like Ireland netted a last-gasp equaliser, Given hurled a ball into the Italian box, Folan knocked the ball down and Robbie Keane was on hand to claim a famous leveller.
Northern Ireland 1 – Slovenia 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Northern Ireland remain top of their World Cup qualifying group thanks to Warren Feeney’s 73rd minute glancing header the nestled in the far corner of the net.
Scotland 2 – Iceland 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Ross McCormack scored high into the roof of the net in the 39th after receiving a pass from defender Alan Hutton. Iceland levelled in the 54th when Palmi Palmason hit the post with a long-distance shot and Indridi Sigurdsson scored from the rebound. Steven Fletcher earned the Tartan Army the points with a 65th minute header.
Turkey 1 – Spain 2 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) The European Champions fell behind midway through the first half in Turkey, Arda Turan slipped a ball into the near post where Tuncay retrieved possession and, with the Spain defence all at sea, the ball fell to Semih Senturk to turn home. Spain pulled level from the spot in the second half, Mike Dean had little choice after Uzulmez saved a Torres header with his hands and Xabi Alonso stepped up to convert the penalty. Spain then showed their true class bagging an injury time winner, Guiza ran down a loose ball before picking out Liverpool winger Albert Riera bursting into the box who made no mistake in front of the target.
Holland 4 – Macedonia 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Macedonia were taught a footballing lesson in the first half in Holland. Dirk Kuyt opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark, before patient build-up play was sped up by Arjen Robben with Klaas Jan Huntelaar grabbing the second. The Oranje had time to grab a third, Dirk Kuyt cutting in from the left to claim a first half brace. Rafael van der Vaart grabbed a fourth for the Dutch at the death.
Liechtenstein 0 – Russia 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Russia broke through the Liechtenstein defence in the 38th minute when Konstantin Zyrianov burst into the box to nip the ball past the keeper.
Poland 10 – San Marino 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) After their humbling defeat in Northern Ireland, Poland took their frustrations out on Sam Marino as Rafal Boguski scored inside sixty seconds and Ebi Smolarek slid in the second after 18 minutes. Boguski and Lewandowski made it 4-0 at half-time and in the second-half a further six goals were added. Jelen (51), Smolarek (60), Lewandowski (62), Smolarek (72), Smolarek (81) and Saganowski (88).
Austria 2 – Romania 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Romania took the lead in Austria in comical fashion, a long punt upfield was miscued by home keeper Michael Gspurning, the ball fell to Cristian Tanase and the number 10 lobbed the stranded keeper from 25-yards out. But inside sixty seconds Austria drew level, Erwin Hoffer managed to ride a couple of challenges in the box to toe-poke in the equaliser. (Both Tanase & Hoffer goals here.) Hoffer soon completed the turnaround to send the hosts into the break ahead.
Greece 2 – Israel 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Israel crashed to defeat in what couldÂ potentially beÂ crucial to sink their World Cup dreams after 32 minutes in Greece, Dimitris Salpingidis crashed home a low drive from the edge of the box after a corner was only partially cleared. On the hour mark Omer Golan equalised, cracking home a shot after the hosts failed to deal with a free-kick. But Israeli hearts were broken by Celtic’s Georgios Samaras who scored the winner from the spot.
Bosnia 2 – Belgium 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Get prepared to hear a lot more about Edin Dzeko. Once again the Bosnian striker was in buoyant mood against Belgium, heading home the opener after 12 minutes before Dzeko doubled his country’s lead with a clinical finish into the top corner just two minutes later. Gill Swerts netted a late consolation for Belgium.
Czech Republic 1 – Slovakia 2 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Stanislav Sestak put Slovakia ahead in the 23rd minute with a low shot past Cech from inside the area. The Czechs leveled seven minutes later when Marek Jankulovski diverted in a corner from Jaroslav Plasil. Erik Jendrisek dribbled through on goal in the 83rd minute before his initial shot was stopped by Petr Cech, but the striker tapped in the loose ball to claim the winner.
Bulgaria 2 – Cyprus 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Excellent work down the Bulgarian left wing from Dimitar Rangelov ended with the number 18 sending in a perfect cross into the Cypriot box that Ivelin Popov headed in off the far post. Dimitar Makriev sealed the win with a second in injury time after an incisive counter-attack.
Switzerland 2 – Moldova 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Blaise Nkufo set the Swiss on their way with his fifth goal in the qualifying campaign midway through the first half. Alexander Frei took a Benjamin Huggel pass before scoring the second to make certain of a fourth qualifying victory on the trot.
Hungary 3 – Malta 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) The home side got off to a flying start when midfielder Tamas Hajnal fired them in front after just seven minutes with a superb free-kick. Hungary had to wait until ten minutes from time to make the game safe with Fulham’s Zoltan Gera grabbing the second goal and Roland Juhasz added a third deep into injury time.
Andorra 0 – Croatia 2 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Ivan Klasnic and Arsenal’s Eduardo da Silva sealed the win in the first half.
Latvia 2 – Luxembourg 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Goals from Jurijis Zigajevs shortly before the break and Maris Verpakovskis 15 minutes from time wrapped up an important victory in Riga that keeps Latvia’s World Cup hopes alive.
Estonia 1 – Armenia 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Sander Puri pounced on a loose ball in the area seven minutes from time and converted with a shot to the middle of the net despite defender Robert Arzumanyan’s efforts to block the shot.
Kazakhstan 1 – Belarus 5 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Kazakhstan’s Renat Abdulin scored his team’s only goal with the opening score in the 10th minute from a Ruslan Baltiyev’s free-kick. Three minutes into the second half, Aleksandr Hleb evened the score after a one on one with the goalkeeper. Belarus then scored three times within the next 15 minutes with a goal by Ihar Stasevich and two to Timofei Kalachev. Vitali Rodionov scored the final goal in the 88th minute.
Australia 2 – Uzbekistan 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) The Socceroos had the wait until the final stages of the match to beat the Uzbekis. Josh Kennedy met a Marco Bresciano cross to head the hosts into a 66th minute lead and Harry Kewell made sure of the points slotting home a 70th minute penalty leaving Australia on the verge of qualification for South Africa 2010.
South Korea 1 – North Korea 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Neither the North or South Koreans were able to break the deadlock at the interval (first half highlights here) in the politically charged meeting between the warring nations. After having a goal wrongly chalked off after the break and then holding out for 88 minutes, eventually the North Koreans fell behind to their southern neighbours when Kim Chi Woo’s last-gasp free-kick evaded everyone to nestle in back of the net. (Second half highlights here.)
Bahrain 1 – Qatar 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Fouzi Aaish’s scrappy second half free-kick ensured that Australia will need to wait a little longer to complete their qualification to South Africa.
Saudi Arabia 3 – United Arab Emirates 2 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Abdoh Autef gave Saudi Arabia the lead from the spot after just four minutes, but the hosts could not hold onto the lead as Mohammad Al Shehhi drew the UAE level with a neat header. Ismail Matar then scored one of the goals of the night to send the UAE ahead, whacking a 30-yard shot over the keeper and into the net. The Suadi’s turned the match in the last 20 minutes, a Jumaa own goal brought the sides level and a horrendous decision from the UAE keeper to come for a cross was punished by Hazazi for the winner.
Bolivia 6 – Argentina 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Bolivia recorded one of the truly great upsets destroying Maradona’s side in devastating fashion. Martins’ 12 minute opener was cancelled out by Gonzalez but that was as good as it got for Argentina. Botero restored the hosts lead from the spot before Da Rosa gave Bolivia the 3-1 lead at the break. (First half highlights here.) Botero claimed his second early in the second half with Di Maria seeing red for the visitors with the 64th minute. Botero went on to claim his hat-trick before Torrico’s low drive hit Argentina for six. (Second half highlights here.)
Brazil 3 – Peru 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Luis Fabiano bagged a brace in the first half, the first from the penalty spot after Kaka had been fouled and the second was a fine finish on the turn. Fiorentina’s Felipe Melo completed the win with a driving run and chipped finish in the second half.
Ecuador 1 – Paraguay 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Ten-man Paraguay bagged a crucial point with a last minute goal from Edgar Benitez after Cristian Noboa had given the hosts the lead just after the hour mark.
Chile 0 – Uruguay 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Chile held on for a goalless draw despite playing for nearly an hour with just 10-men.
USA 3 – Trinidad & Tobago 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Jozy Altidore bagged a hat-trick as the Villareal striker ran riot and potentially established himself as the number one American striker for the foreseeable future. First goal here, second and third here.
Honduras 3 – Mexico 1 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Sven’s side suffer another horror show as they go down to a brace from Birmingham striker Carlos Costly with Carlos Pavon scoring the other for the home side. Nery Castillo pulled one back from the spot for the Mexicans.
Costa Rica 1 – El Salvador 0 (World Cup qualifier, April 1, 2009) Despite Andy Furtado’s missed penalty in the first half, veteran Walter Centeno finally broke through for the hosts when he headed in Carlos Hernandez’s cross in the 69th minute of his 127th international match.