Pix: Pedro treble in Spain victory
Spain and hat-trick hero Pedro turned on the style in a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win in Belarus amid a television blackout while Sweden had viewers switching off before rallying in the Faroe Islands on Friday.
The world and European champions' game was not televised in debt-ridden Spain as no broadcaster agreed to pay the price set by rights holders Sportfive to show the Group I match.
Vicente Del Bosque's side got straight down to business and were 2-0 up inside the first quarter of the match in Minsk, with Jordi Alba and Pedro on the scoresheet.Pedro then grabbed two more after the break, outpacing the defence for his second and combining with Barcelona team mate Cesc Fabregas for his third as Spain made it two wins from two ahead of Tuesday's visit of France.
Image: Spain's Pedro celebrates after scoring against Belarus
Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
England beat San Marino 5-0
England laboured to a 5-0 win over San Marino at Wembley. The Netherlands might have expected more than a 3-0 victory over tiny Andorra, in contrast to neighbours Belgium who won 3-0 in Serbia to increase their burgeoning reputation as one of the favourites to reach Brazil 2014 with their talent-packed side.
England's nervy coach Roy Hodgson, whose side make the tricky trip to Poland on Tuesday, had to wait until the 35th minute for a goal which came from a Wayne Rooney penalty.
The striker added another in between Manchester United teammate Danny Welbeck's well-taken double before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted the fifth with his first international goal after 77 minutes.
Image: England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (centre) celebrates after scoring against San Marino
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
Italy struggle past Armenia
Group B leaders Italy also enjoyed a second-half surge to prevail 3-1 in Armenia. They had a similarly awkward-looking encounter but their nerves were settled by an 11th minute Andrea Pirlo penalty.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan wiped the smiles off Italian faces when he skipped past Andrea Barzagli to fire home the equaliser and Cesare Prandelli's Euro 2012 runners-up needed headers after the break from Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo to be safe.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 75th minute winner salvaged a 2-1 victory for the Swedes who were 1-0 down to the 158th-ranked Faroes.
Sweden were feeling far from safe after 57 minutes when a weak Jonas Olsson clearance was punished by Rogvi Baldvinsson as the tiny Faroes celebrated a famous goal on their new artificial pitch against their more illustrious Scandinavian neighbours.
Alexander Kacaniklic's 65th minute equaliser calmed Swedish fears before Ibrahimovic sealed the points in Group C.
Image: Italy's Pablo Osvaldo (right) celebrates with teammate Daniele De Rossi after scoring a goal against Armenia
Photographs: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters
Russia stun Portugal
Russia beat Group F favourites Portugal 1-0 on Friday to maintain their perfect start in their World Cup qualifying campaign under Capello with three wins from three matches without conceding a goal.
The Russians took advantage of Portugal's unfamiliarity with the Moscow stadium's artificial turf, scoring in the sixth minute when Kerzhakov broke clear on goal following a defensive mistake.
After taking the lead, the home team played a tight defensive game, limiting Portugal and their leader Ronaldo to only a few scoring chances.
"We knew we had to contain Ronaldo in order to have a good chance to win," Capello, who replaced Advocaat following Russia's Euro 2012 flop, told reporters after the match.
"We tried to stay as close to him as possible, often put two defenders on him. I think it worked pretty well for us."
The Portuguese blamed the defeat in part on playing on a slick Luzhniki surface.Among other early results on the long road to Brazil 2014, Czech Republic won 3-1 at home to Malta in Group B and Romania beat Turkey 1-0 away to extend their perfect start in Group D.
Image: Russia's players celebrate after scoring against Portugal
Photographs: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters
Germany romp past Ireland
Germany had Irish viewers turning off in droves as they romped to a 6-1 away win on Friday.
Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland were never in the game as they suffered a record-equalling home defeat as a Mesut Ozil penalty, trademark Miroslav Klose [ Images ] finish and two classy Toni Kroos goals completed the rout.
"We had set out for a lot (of goals) in this game," Reus told ZDF television."The coach prepared us well. We had control of the game all the time and the first-half lead gave us the needed confidence."
Image: Germany's Per Mertesacker congratulates Mesut Ozil (front) after he scored against Ireland
Photographs: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters