Press Esc to close
Tuesday 26 May 2015
News updated at 11:11 AM IST
Weather
Max: 33°C
Min : 22.3°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

Spain stutter against lowly Finland

London, march 23, 2013, reuters

Pukki’s equaliser stuns World Champions; Germany, France, England score easy victories

super finish: Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain (centre) is embraced by Lionel Messi (left) and Ezaquiel Lavezzi after scoring against Venezuela during their World Cup qualifying match on Friday at Buenos Aires. AFP

World champions Spain were held by lowly Finland but there were wins for England, Germany, France and Netherlands as Europe’s top teams returned to the task of qualifying for next year’s World Cup finals on Friday.

The first of this month’s two rounds of qualifiers -- with another 20-plus matches scheduled for Tuesday -- went according to plan for the big guns apart from Spain who lost top spot in Group I to France after Finland forced a 1-1 draw in Gijon.

England scored their biggest victory for 26 years when they triumphed 8-0 in San Marino, Germany won 3-0 in Kazakhstan, France beat Georgia 3-1 in Paris and Netherlands scored three second-half goals to beat Estonia 3-0 in Amsterdam.

The rapidly maturing Belgium team took another step towards next year’s finals in Brazil when they won 2-0 -- albeit with a nervy performance in Macedonia -- to stay top of Group A, level on points with Croatia who won a passionately intense derby against bitter Balkan rivals Serbia 2-0 in Zagreb.

There was also an important win for another former part of the old Yugoslavia with Bosnia beating Greece 3-1 in Zenica to move three points ahead of the Greeks at the top of Group G.

Other teams with their eyes on Rio who stumbled included Portugal, who trailed 3-1 in Israel before recovering for a 3-3 draw and Sweden, who lost ground on Group C leaders Germany when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Ireland in Stockholm.

The biggest surprise, though, came in Gijon where Teemu Pukki scored 11 minutes from time to give Finland their second point in the group and help knock Spain off top spot.

Pukki fired past Victor Valdes on a rare counter-attack after they had withstood waves of pressure from the hosts.

Spain’s Sergio Ramos, winning his 100th cap, broke the deadlock with a header from a corner just after halftime but Vicente del Bosque’s side struggled to make their dominance count.

The draw leaves World and European champions Spain under pressure to get a victory next Tuesday when they visit their closest rivals France, who were too strong for Georgia in Paris.

Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery scored for France who lead the group on 10 points, two more than Spain.

England were the highest scorers on the night, showing San Marino no mercy in a demolition in Serravalle for their biggest win since a victory by the same score over Turkey in 1987.

An own goal by San Marino’s Alessandro Della Valle after 12 minutes started the rout with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jermain Defoe (2), Ashley Young, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge all finding the net.

The hosts were spared a double-figure defeat but did nothing to counter the argument they should enter a pre-qualifying tournament -- managing only one half-hearted attempt at goal.

In Zagreb, strikers Ivica Olic and Mario Mandzukic scored as Croatia beat Serbia to stay level with group leaders Belgium

The match was played under tight security amid fears of crowd trouble but apart from sporadic abuse from home supporters towards Serbia’s players, it was incident-free after both federations agreed not to take away fans to either fixture.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson (R) talks with 91-year-old World War Two veteran Russel

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson (R) talks with 91-year-old World War Two veteran Russel

Nepalese people walk across the damaged temple area one month after the deadly 7.8 magnitude ...

Nepalese people walk across the damaged temple area one month after the deadly 7.8 magnitude ...

Police charge Congress activists who were staging a protest at the residence of Madhya Pradesh ...

Police charge Congress activists who were staging a protest at the residence of Madhya Pradesh ...

AISA activists holding a protest against HRD Minister Smriti Irani on concerns over the choice ...

AISA activists holding a protest against HRD Minister Smriti Irani on concerns over the choice ...

Pramodadevi Wadiyar and Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar at a press conference in the ...

Pramodadevi Wadiyar and Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar at a press conference in the ...

Indians watch a chopper carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi leave after addressing a rally at ...

Indians watch a chopper carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi leave after addressing a rally at ...

Gujjar community people sleep on train track as they agitating to demand reservation in ...

Gujjar community people sleep on train track as they agitating to demand reservation in ...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets to crowd as actress and BJP MP Hema Malini and other leaders ...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets to crowd as actress and BJP MP Hema Malini and other leaders ...

Mumbai India and CSK Cricketers with IPL Trophy during photo session ahead of their IPL 2015...

Mumbai India and CSK Cricketers with IPL Trophy during photo session ahead of their IPL 2015...

Organically grown fruits and vegetables at ‘Pilikula Vasanthothsava’ at Pilikula in Mangaluru...

Organically grown fruits and vegetables at ‘Pilikula Vasanthothsava’ at Pilikula in Mangaluru...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523