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Euro 2012 qualifiers: Spain's golden Silva ruins Scottish hopes

Last updated on: October 12, 2011 11:30 IST

Euro 2012 qualifiers: Spain's golden Silva ruins Scottish hopes

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David Silva struck twice and David Villa netted his 50th international goal as Spain wrecked Scotland's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2012 with a 3-1 win in Group I on Tuesday.

The Scots would have clinched a playoff berth by beating the world and European champions, who had already reached the finals in Ukraine and Poland, but second spot went instead to Czech Republic who triumphed 4-1 in Lithuania.

Spain went ahead in the sixth minute when Villa sent debutant full back Jordi Alba clear down the left and he crossed for Silva to sweep a first-time shot past keeper Allan McGregor.

Manchester City playmaker Silva made it 2-0 shortly before halftime before laying the ball off in the 54th minute for Villa to grab his 50th goal on his 80th appearance.

Substitute David Goodwillie scored a consolation for the Scots from the penalty spot in the 66th minute after he was hauled down by goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

Valdes was making a rare start in place of captain Iker Casillas as coach Vicente del Bosque gave some of his second-string players a runout.

"As you can see we have a lot of options," Del Bosque told a news conference. "It's healthy for the group getting everyone involved and having everyone feel useful.

Spain's victory, their 14th in a row in competitive games since losing 1-0 to Switzerland at the World Cup finals in South Africa last year, meant they completed a second consecutive perfect qualifying campaign with eight wins out of eight.

They also won all 10 of their matches to make it through to the 2010 World Cup.


Image: Spain's David Silva celebrates with teammate Santi Cazorla after scoring against Scotland during their Euro 2012 qualifying Group I soccer match at the Perez Rico Stadium in Alicante
Photographs: Reuters
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Perfect 10 for Germany

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Former champions Germany completed a perfect Euro 2012 qualifying campaign on Tuesday by beating Belgium 3-1 to claim their 10th win in as many matches.

Belgium failed to qualify after finishing third in Group A. Germany were top on 30 points while second-placed Turkey booked a playoff spot following their 1-0 win over Azerbaijan.

Mesut Ozil and Andre Schuerrle struck late in the first half and Mario Gomez added another goal just after the restart, dashing Belgium's hopes of recording their first victory against Germany since 1954.

Marouane Fellaini pulled a goal back for the visitors after 86 minutes.

Triple European champions Germany set a record by improving on the eight wins out of eight they notched in qualifying for the 1982 World Cup.


Photographs: Reuters
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Nasri earns nervy France Euro 2012 berth

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Samir Nasri's second-half penalty sent a nervy France into the Euro 2012 finals after a 1-1 home draw against Bosnia who had to settle for a playoff place following their Group D decider on Tuesday.

The hosts trailed to Edin Dzeko's strike five minutes before halftime and needed a 78th minute spot kick to secure a draw at the Stade de France. Nasri was tripped by Emir Spahic just inside the box and the midfielder clinically scored from the spot.

France began the final qualifier a point ahead of the Bosnians and needing at least a draw to qualify automatically as group winners for next year's finals in Poland and Ukraine.

France finished on 21 points with Bosnia, on 20, heading for the playoffs where they hope to secure a place in a major tournament as an independent nation for the first time.

"We played poorly in the first half and that was partly because of the game Bosnia played," France coach Laurent Blanc, who took charge of the national team in August 2010, told a news conference.

"I told the players that if they wanted to go to the playoffs they'd just have to play like that. It was a nerve racking match."

Bosnia coach Safet Susic said his side "gave everything".

France are unbeaten in their last 15 games.


Photographs: Reuters
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Two for Cassano in Italy stroll

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Italy wrapped up an unbeaten Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Northern Ireland to top Group C by 10 points as visiting coach Nigel Worthington ended his four-year stint with another defeat on Tuesday.

Italy, who had qualified for the finals in Poland and Ukraine last month with two matches to spare, were comfortable winners with two goals for Antonio Cassano and an own goal by Gareth McAuley.

Ending qualification with eight wins and two draws from their ten games, Cesare Prandelli's rejuvenated Italy will go into the finals as one of the favourites, while Northern Ireland, who end their campaign with nine points, begin the search for a new coach.

Estonia finished second in the group on 16 points to go into the playoffs for the first time.

"We dominated possession and were good enough not to concede," Prandelli, whose Italy side conceded just two goals in a record qualifying group, told Italy state broadcaster Rai.


Photographs: Reuters
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Danish delight

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The Group H showdown between Denmark and Portugal started with the teams level on points at the top of the group and the visitors, with five straight competitive wins under coach Paulo Bento behind them, only needing a draw to qualify.

Instead, Denmark eased through 2-1, Michael Krohn-Dehli putting them ahead after 13 minutes and Nicklas Bendtner adding a second just after the hour. The otherwise ineffective Cristiano Ronaldo pulled one back late on with a trademark dipping free kick.

"We were playing against two of the best wingers in the world (Ronaldo and Nani), but we didn't see much of them for almost the entire match," said Denmark captain Thomas Sorensen.

Portugal finished level on points with third-placed Norway, who beat Cyprus 2-1, but crawled into the playoffs by virtue of their better overall goal difference in the group with the two sides being level on their head-to-head records.


Photographs: Reuters
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