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Czech Republic rout Germany to reach Euro 2008

Last updated on: October 18, 2007 12:03 IST

Czech Republic secured a place at Euro 2008 when they thumped already-qualified Germany 3-0 in Group D on Wednesday.

Libor Sionko gave the Czechs a perfect start when he tapped the opening goal past Timo Hildebrand in the second minute at the Allianz Arena.

Marek Matejovsky gave the visitors breathing space with a well taken second in the 23rd minute and Jaroslav Plasil capped an outstanding display, individually and collectively, with the third in the 63rd minute.

Germany had become the first country to qualify for the finals in Austria and Switzerland with a draw in Ireland on Saturday and offered precious little in response.

The result left the two teams with 23 points from 10 games and ended the qualifying hopes of Ireland and Cyprus.

Wednesday's results:

Kazakhstan 1-2 Portugal
Azerbaijan 1-6 Serbia
Belgium 3-0 Armenia
Ukraine 5-0 Faroe Islands
Georgia 2-0 Scotland
France 2-0 Lithuania
Turkey 0-1 Greece
Malta 2-3 Moldova
Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-2 Norway
San Marino 1-2 Wales
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Cyprus
Germany 0-3 Czech Republic
Russia 2-1 England
FYR Macedonia 3-0 Andorra
Denmark 3-1 Latvia
Liechtenstein 3-0 Iceland
Sweden 1-1 Northern Ireland
Luxembourg 0-2 Romania
Netherlands 2-0 Slovenia
Albania 1-1 Bulgaria

Russia roar back to beat England

Substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko scored twice as Russia came from behind to beat England 2-1 in a tense qualifier in Moscow after Wayne Rooney had put the visitors in front and then conceded a penalty.

Rooney's superb volley gave England a 29th-minute lead, and a scoreline that would have put them into next year's finals.

But Pavlyuchenko came off the bench to convert a 69th-minute penalty after Rooney had tripped Konstantin Zyryanov on the edge of the area. He prodded home another four minutes later after keeper Paul Robinson had parried a long-range shot.

Russia's victory puts their qualifying campaign firmly back on track, though England can also reach the finals, along with favourites Croatia from Group E.

Henry gives France 2-0 win over Lithuania

Thierry Henry netted twice in two minutes to give France a 2-0 win over Lithuania in their Euro 2008 qualifier in Nantes, France, and also broke Michel Platini's goalscoring record for Les Bleus.

France now need a draw away to Ukraine in their last qualifier on Nov. 21 to reach next year's European championship finals in Austria and Switzerland.

Barcelona striker Henry scored his 42nd and 43rd goals in his 96th appearance in the 79th and 80th minutes to send France top of Group B with 25 points from 11 matches after Scotland slumped to a 2-0 defeat in Georgia earlier on Wednesday.

Scotland are second one point behind France with world champions Italy, who have a game in hand against the Scots at Hampden Park next month, third on 23 points.

Netherlands back on track

In Eindhoven, A lacklustre Netherlands beat Slovenia 2-0 to get their qualifying campaign firmly back on track in Group G on Wednesday.

The Dutch, who lost 1-0 to Romania on Saturday, opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Wesley Sneijder pounced on a defensive blunder by Branko Ilic and rounded goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sealed victory in the 87th minute after breaking through the Slovenian defence with Ryan Babel.

With two matches remaining, the Dutch are second in the group with 23 points from 10 games, three points behind leaders Romania following their earlier 2-0 win in Luxembourg.

Dutch coach Marco van Basten made five changes after the defeat in Romania, notably due to the absence of three suspended players.

The result was a first half in which only Robin van Persie and Sneijder brought creativity and pace to the Dutch game, with the pair being involved in all their team's best chances.

Sneijder came close to a second goal after 22 minutes and then again nine minutes before the interval when Van Persie's brilliant pass set him up -- only for the midfielder to miss the target when unmarked before the goalkeeper.

There was a lack of confidence in the hosts after the break, with their scoring chances coming only when Slovenia began pushing forward in search of an equaliser.

Ireland, Cyprus fail to make it after draw

Ireland drew 1-1 with Cyprus in their Group D qualifier in Dublin thanks to a last-gasp equaliser but neither country will be at Euro 2008.

With Czech Republic winning 3-0 in Germany, who on Saturday became the first team to qualify for the finals, the Irish and Cypriots were doomed regardless of the result at Croke Park.

Ireland defender Steve Finnan saved the blushes of manager Steve Staunton, who was booed during the match by the home fans, by equalising with a cross shot in added time.

The Irish lost 5-2 away to Cyprus just over a year ago and another defeat was unthinkable for the Ireland manager.

His team battled throughout the match, missing a number of opportunities, but went behind in the 79th minute when Stelios Okkarides connected with a cross to put Cyprus ahead.

The draw leaves Ireland third with 16 points from 11 matches ahead of Cyprus in fourth, who have a game in hand. The Czechs and Germans lead the way with 23 points from 11 games.

Struggling Wales scrape past San Marino

In Serravalle, San Marino, Wales, beaten 3-1 in Cyprus at the weekend, struggled to a 2-1 win over Group D bottom team San Marino.

John Toshack's team took the lead in the 13th minute thanks to a right-foot shot by Robert Earnshaw before Joe Ledley doubled the advantage for Wales in the 36th.

Andy Selva curled in a 73rd-minute free kick to pull one back for San Marino, who had Nicola Albani sent off five minutes from time.

Wales, who cannot qualify for next year's finals in Austria and Switzerland, have 13 points from 10 games while San Marino are without a point.

Group B leaders Scotland beaten in Georgia

In Tbilisi, Georgia wrecked Scotland's six-game winning streak on Wednesday, beating the Group B leaders 2-0.

Levan Mchedlidze headed Georgia in front after 16 minutes before David Siradze's close-range shot made sure of victory in the 64th.

Scotland, who have 24 points from 11 games, are still one point ahead of Italy.

Georgia, out of the running for a place in next year's finals, fielded three teenagers in their team and looked good from the start.

Early pressure paid off when Zurab Menteshashvili's corner was headed past keeper Craig Gordon at the near post by the 17-year-old Mchedlidze, who was winning his second cap.

Stephen McManus and James McFadden went close as Scotland, wearing a new claret strip, surged forward in search of an equaliser but Georgia put the game out of reach midway through the second half.

David Kvirkvelia took on full back Graeme Murty down the left before setting up a straightforward chance for Siradze.

Scotland's qualification hopes now rest on their final game at home to Italy on Nov. 17.

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