Ireland 1 – Bulgaria 1 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Ireland stormed to a lead over Bulgaria inside thirty-five seconds, Richard Dunne thundering home a back-post header – his first international goal – from a Hunt free-kick. But the Republic couldn’t hang on, Kishishev’s 73rd minute cross found Stilian Petrov, whose strike deflected off of Kevin Kilbane into the net.
Northern Ireland 3 – Poland 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Playing at fortress Windsor Park, Northern Ireland took a 10th minute lead over Poland after Warren Feeney swept home Damien Johnson’s head. But the Poles were soon level, Ireneusz Jelen broke the home offside trap beat beating Maik Taylor. After the break the hosts restored their lead, Jonny Evans scoring inside the six-yard box after Grant McCann’s corner fell at the defenders’ feet. And then came one of the worst goals conceded in Artur Boruc’s career, Michal Zewlakow played a 30-yard backpass to the Celtic keeper, only for the number one to totally balls up his kick with the ball rolling under his foot and into the net. Saints’ Marek Saganowski scored a diving header in injury time.
Wales 0 – Finland 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Jonatan Johansson ran through on to a Litmanen through ball and squeezed his shot past Hennessy to put Finland into the lead against Wales. (First-half highlights here.) Crystal Palace striker Shefki Kuqi claimed the second and put the Welsh out their misery in the 90th minute.
Holland 3 – Scotland 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) After dominating the early possession Holland moved ahead of Scotland when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was given too much space at the back-post to head home a Mark van Bommel cross. On the stroke of halftime the Oranje bagged a killer second as Robin van Persie rose unchallenged to head in the second from Robben’s corner. Dirk Kuyt scored from the spot in the 76th minute after Christophe Berra had fouled Huntelaar.
Spain 1 – Turkey 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) After a goalless first half against Turkey, Gerald Pique proved the hero for the European Champions scoring after a free-kick bounced off Sergio Ramos at the back post.
Germany 4 – Liechtenstein 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Germany asserted their superiority over Liechtenstein in the opening ten minutes, Michael Ballack crashing home stunning volley from the edge of the box after four minutes with Marcell Jansen quickly chalking up the second. The goals continued to flow after the break, a stunning team move that included nine-passes ended with Bastien Schweinsteiger turning in the third. Appalling defending then gifted Lukas Podolski the fourth.
Montenegro 0 – Italy 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) The Azzurri took an early lead in Montenegro when Andrea Pirlo stuck away a 11th minute penalty. In the second half Giampaolo Pazzini doubled the lead with a clinical header.
Portugal 0 – Sweden 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Portugal were the better team but continue their poor start to World Cup qualification under Carlos Queiroz and with Denmark and Hungary winning they may not make South Africa.
Romania 2 – Serbia 3 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Serbia continued their brilliant qualifying campaign early doors in Romania, Milan Jovanovic in the right place to score after Krasic hit the post. Krasis was also involved in Serbia’s second, whipping in the corner that Dorel Stoica planted in his own net. Ciprian Marica gave the Romanians hope nipping in to pull a goal back at the start of the second half. Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic managed to score a scrappy overhead volley to restore the Serbians’ 2-goal cushion. Dorel Stoica made up for his earlier own-goal with a late second for the hosts but it was too little, too late.
Russia 2 – Azerbaijan 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Roman Pavlyuchenko scored the first from a free-kick just after the half hour and the Spurs striker was heavily involved in the second, playing in Konstantin Zyrianov for the goal.
Belgium 2 – Bosnia 4 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Whether its a Bundesliga match or a World Cup qualifier Edin Dzeko is on fire, the Bosnian firing home a beautiful curler past Belgium’s keeper Stijnen. But Belgium have a international team with a lot of promise, and Moussa Dembele levelled scoring at the near post after a fine attack from the hosts. But then Belgium fell apart, Sanel Jahic swept Bosnia back into the lead from a free-kick and Zlatan Bajramovic then knocked in the third after the visitors tore through the home defence. Zvjezdan Misimovic then twisted his covering defender inside-out before firing in the fourth. Wesley Sonck’s late penalty was mere consolation.
Malta 0 – Denmark 3 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Soren Larsen put the visitors firmly in control with two early goals, Morten Nordstrand put a seal on the result with a goal at the death.
Israel 1 – Greece 1 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) The Greeks took the lead on the stroke of halftime, the Israeli defence poorly defending a set-play which Theofanis Gekas turned home. But the Israelis pulled level at the start of the second half, Ben Sahar played in Yossi Benayoun who, despite playing with an injury, found Omer Golan at the near-post and the striker hit the back of the net.
Moldova 0 – Switzerland 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) The breakthrough came in the 32nd minute when Nkufo raced into the area to cut the ball back for Alexander Frei to fire in. The visitors finally made sure of the points as Frei crossed for Gelson Fernandes to head in number two.
Albania 0 – Hungary 1 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Sandor Torghelle fired Hungary a 38th minute lead in Albania.
Luxembourg 0 – Latvia 4 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Latvia took the lead on 23 minutes through striker Girts Karlsons who picked up a deflection in the penalty area following a free kick, and Aleksandrs Cauna, Aleksejs Visnakovs and Andrejs Pereplotkins extended the visitors’ lead after halftime.
Armenia 2 – Estonia 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Henrikh Mkhitarian put Armenia ahead in the 33rd minute but their lead lasted just five minutes before Konstantin Vassiljev equalised. Sergei Zeniov’s 67th minute goal looked to have won it for Estonia but Gevorg Ghazarian pounced three minutes from time to clinch a point for rock-bottom Armenia.
Slovenia 0 – Czech Republic 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) The hosts failed to take their chances and as a result both teams stay on the same amount of points but close the gap on Slovakia in Group 3.
Togo 1 – Cameroon 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Despite being injured, Arsenal’s Emmanuel Adebayor proved the match-winner after 11 minutes, the visiting defence failing to clear a cross and the striker rifled home from inside the box.
Argentina 4 – Venezuela 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Midway through the first-half Lionel Messi opened the scoring before second-half goals from Carlos Tevez, Maxi Rodriguez and Sergio “Kun” Aguero secured Diego Maradona’s first competitive victory as Argentina manager.
Colombia 2 – Bolivia 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Torres and Renteria with the goals.
El Salvador 2 – United States 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) The USA came back from two goals down with late goals from Jozy Altidore and Frankie Hejduk after Quintanilla and Castillo had put the home side in front.
Mexico 2 – Costa Rica 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Omar Bravo and a Pavel Pardo penalty eased the pressure on Svennis.
Trinidad & Tobago 1 – Honduras 1 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) After several previous chances, Carlos Pavon headed Honduras into a scrappy lead midway through the second half. T&T levelled in the last minute of play, Carlos Edwards picked out Khaleem Hyland at the back post and his shot dribbled over the line after the keeper failed to make the save.
Uzbekistan 4 – Qatar 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) The sending off of Qatar’s Bilal Rajab cleared the way for the home side to gain a big win. Zeinaddin Tadjiyev claimed a hat-trick (first, second and third) with Anvar Soliev completing the rout.
North Korea 2 – UAE 0 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) A cracking left-footed strike from Pak Choi Jin followed by a 90th minute goal from Mun In Guk sealed the win for the Asia Group 2 leaders.
Kenya 1 – Tunisia 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) Ammar Jemal’s finish in the seventh minute gave the Carthage Eagles the lead, but 20 minutes from time Auxerre striker Dennis Oliech turned the ball past Tunisian goalkeeper Hamdi Kasraoui to bring Kenya back into the match. But the joy was short-lived as the North Africans went back in front two minutes later through Issam Jemaa.
Iran 1 – Saudi Arabia 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) The home fans went wild when Masoud Shojaei put them 1-up but their great historical rivals hit back late on and strikes from Nayef Hazazi and Al Harbi gave them the victory.
Morocco 1 – Gabon 2 (World Cup qualifier, March 28, 2009) The visitors scored through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Roguy Meye to take control. A late goal from Mounir al-Hamdaoui gave Roger Lemerre’s team some hope, but the Gabonese held on for a shock away win.