Category: Archive

Euro 200 Roundup Yugoslavia close in on Group 8 clincher

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

Yugoslavia regained the lead in Group 8 of the Euro 2000 qualifiers after Savo Milosevic’s lightning strike 10 seconds into the match sparked a 4-2 victory over Macedonia in Skopje last Wednesday.

The victory, four days after the Yugoslavs had vanquished the Macedonians 3-1 in Belgrade, put the East Europeans back at the top of the group with 16 points — one ahead of Ireland, who scrapped past Malta, 3-2.

Macedonia never recovered from Milosevic’s early goal, one of the quickest recorded in international soccer. They fell further behind three minutes later when defender Boban Babunski scored a spectacular own goal, inadvertently volleying a cross past his own goalie.

Dejan Stankovic (14th) and Ljubinko Drulovic (38th) gave the Yugoslavs a 4-0 halftime lead that the home side couldn’t overcome, despite pulling back two goals through Artem Saciri (60th) and Sasa Ciric (90th).

Yugoslavia can win the group, and a place in the finals, with a victory over third-placed Croatia (14) in Zagreb, in their final match on Oct. 10. A draw will suffice if Ireland fail to beat Macedonia in Skopje on the same day.

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Ziege zips North

Middlesborough midfielder Christian Ziege went on a rampage against Northern Ireland in Dortmund, reeling in a hat trick in a 4-0 German romp that almost assures the defending European champs a ticket to the finals. Ziege (16th, 33rd, 45th) stole the show after Olivier Bierhoff had drawn first blood in the second minute.

"This was one of the greatest matches of my entire career," said Ziege. "I had never scored a hat trick since I turned professional."

The North’s best scoring chance came in the 79th minute, when substitute James Quinn was put clear but lost a duel with goalie Jens Lehmann.

Germany (7-0-1, 18 points) moved two points clear of Turkey at the top of Group 3. The Turks, who now need to win their last match in Germany next month to take the group, could only draw 1-all away to Moldova. Tayfur Havatchu (76th) canceled out Serghei Epureanu’s go-ahead goal for Moldova.

English in peril

England’s qualification hopes now lie in Sweden’s hands after Kevin Keegan’s side completed its schedule with an ill-tempered goalless tie in Poland. The English (3-4-1, 13) remain second in Group 5, but Poland, who also have 13 points, can claim the runners-up position and a playoff berth with a draw in Stockholm on Oct. 10.

"If we had taken our chances, we wouldn’t have to rely on someone else now," said England’s disappointed captain, Alan Shearer.

Niclas Alexandersson scored for the second time in four days to book Sweden’s place in the finals. His 39th minute effort in a 1-0 decision over Luxembourg brought the Swedes’ points tally to an unassailable 19.

Scots cling on

Scotland stayed on course for the playoffs following their 0-0 draw with third-placed Estonia (11) in Tallinn. The Scots remain second in Group 9 (3-3-2, 12) with two home matches — Bosnia on Oct. 5 and Lithuania on Oct. 10 — pending. Estonia (11) sign off against Bosnia in Tallinn on Oct. 9.

Group winners the Czech Republic improved to 9-0 (27) with a 3-0 romp over Bosnia. Jan Kollar (26th), Patrik Berger (59th pen.) and Karel Poborsky (67th) connected.

In Torshavn on the Faroe Islands, Tomas Ramelis’ goal (55th) consigned the hosts to a 1-0 defeat in front of 450 fans.

Italy upset

Denmark edged Italy 3-2 in a wild match to end their schedule atop Group 1 with 14 points. The Italians, who also have 14 points, can still clinch the group with a tie from their final game in Belarus next month.

Denmark trailed 2-0 in Naples on goals by Diego Fuser (9th) and the Australian-reared Christian Vieri (35th), before Martin Jorgensen (38th) ignited a rally. Michael Schjoenberg, (53rd) and Jon Dahl Tomasson (63rd) turned it around on the restart to send the Azzurri crashing to their first defeat in the qualifiers.

Switzerland (11) remained in the hunt with a 2-0 result over Belarus in Lausanne, courtesy of Kubilay Turkyilmaz (68th, 86th). The Swiss still have a game to play.

Norway qualify

A 4-0 thrashing of Slovenia in Oslo confirmed Norway’s first-ever appearance in the European Championship. The Norwegians, whose Erik Hoften (16th), Steffen Iversen (18th), Ole Gunnar Solskj’r (29th), and Oyvind Leonhardsen (67th) scored, won Group 2 with a 7-1-1 (22) record. Slovenia finished five points behind and go into the playoffs.

Also in the group, Latvia and Georgia drew 2-2 in Tbilisi. Shota Arveladze (30th) and Mikhail Kavelashvili (51st) had the Georgians ahead before Latvia leveled through Imants Bleidelis (61st) and Igor Stepanovs (89th).

French revival

With one game remaining, world champions France kept their qualifying hopes alive in the tough Group 4 with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Armenia in Yerevan.

Youri Djork’ff, the grandson of Armenian immigrants, started the French revival with a 45th penalty after Karafet Mik’lyan (6th) had shot Armenia in front. Zinedine Zidane (67th) and Lilian Laslandes (74th) bagged it for French who conceded a late penalty, converted by Armen Shakhgeldyan (90th).

France (18) remained third on goal difference after second-placed Russia managed to pip Andorra 2-1 in La Vella on Viktor Onopko’s brace (22nd, 57th). Justo Ruiz (39th pen.) tallied for Andorra.

Leaders Ukraine, meanwhile, maintained their one-point advantage over both France and Russia with a 1-0 victory over Iceland in Reykjavik. Serhiy Rebrov’s 43rd minute penalty decided the match.

Spanish fiesta

Ism’l Urzaiz (18th, 25th, 38th) and Julen Guerrero (34th, 42nd, 54th) each notched a hat trick in Badajoz as Spain (18) crushed Cyprus 8-0 to win Group 6. Defenders Cesar Martin (81st) and Fernando Hierro (89th) were the other scorers.

Isr’l also pasted San Marino 8-0 in Tel Aviv to slip into second position (13). Teenage striker Yossi Benayoun, who’s 19, had the requisite hat-trick (25th, 46th, 70th). Alon Mizrahi (38th), Haim Revivo (40th, 68th), Nir Sivilia (84th), and Yossi Abuksis (89th) were the other marksmen.

Isr’l can make the playoffs if Cyprus (12) fail to beat Austria in their final game on Oct. 10.


The Romania-Portugal standoff at the top of Group 7 continued with the two sides battling to a 1-all tie in Bucharest. Adrian Ilie (37th) scored for Romania (6-3-0, 21) while Luis Figo (45th) netted the equalizer for Portugal (6-2-1, 20).

Other Group 7 results were Slovakia’s 2-0 win over Liechtenstein, on goals by Szilard Nemeth (3rd) and Miroslav Kerhan (55th), and Azerbaijan’s 3-0 defeat by Hungary. Vilmos Sebok (28th), Gabor Egressy (51st), and Thomas Sowunmi (55th) were the Hungarian heroes.

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