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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Euro qualifiers: Ronaldo sizzles; Ireland stun Germany with late equaliser

Euro qualifiers: Ronaldo sizzles; Ireland stun Germany with late equaliser

October 15, 2014 08:48 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after scoring during their EURO 2016 qualifying soccer match against Denmark. Photograph: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix Denmark/Reuters

A headed goal in second-half injury time by Cristiano Ronaldo gave Portugal a much-needed 1-0 win over Denmark in their Group I Euro 2016 qualifier on Tuesday.

Ronaldo rose to meet Ricardo Quaresma's cross and bury his header past Kasper Schmeichel to claim all three points after referee Felix Byrch played five minutes stoppage time at the end of the game.

Denmark's best chance of the match came when Pierre Hojbjerg muscled his way through and fed Christian Eriksen, who teed up Michael Krohn-Dehli to fire in a shot that came back off the far post.

Ronaldo's goal lifts Portugal off the bottom of the table and into third in the five-team group on three points. Denmark remain second, level on four points with leaders Albania.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos praised his captain after his late goal, saying: "Cristiano is Cristiano. He is a winner, and there are no adjectives to describe him."

Ronaldo announced his presence as early as the seventh minute with a thumping shot on target before teeing up Danny six minutes later. Both efforts were saved, however, by Schmeichel in the Danish goal.

Denmark lost defender Nicolai Boilesen 10 minutes into the second half when the left back was stretchered off having been knocked out cold by a thundering clearance from Daniel Agger.

The Danes enjoyed plenty of possession after that, passing well on the slick, rain-soaked Parken pitch, but despite being roared on by a sell-out crowd of 36,562 they rarely threatened the Portuguese goal and were eventually punished.

Ireland's O'Shea stuns wasteful Germany with late equaliser

Ireland's John O'Shea

Ireland's John O'Shea, right, scores past Germany's Manuel Neuer during their Euro 2016 Group D qualification match. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Ireland stunned World Cup winners Germany with a stoppage time equaliser by John O'Shea on his 100th appearance to draw 1-1 in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Tuesday.

The Germans were in complete command, as they had been in their 2-0 defeat to Poland in Warsaw on Saturday, and had a bagful of chances against the Irish, but were again missing the finishing touch.

Toni Kroos seemed to have rescued the three points for the injury-hit Germans and settled the nerves of 50,000 fans in Gelsenkirchen with a powerful low drive that went in off the post after 71 minutes.

But O'Shea silenced the home crowd with his stoppage-time goal to punish lacklustre Germany, who have now failed to keep a clean sheet in their four internationals since winning the World Cup in July and have conceded eight goals in the process.

The result left the Germans on four points in Group D with Ireland on seven, the same as leaders Poland.

Northern Ireland stun Greece as history bid gathers momentum

Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward

Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward, right, celebrates with Oliver Norwood after scoring against Greece during their Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Reuters

Northern Ireland’s fairytale start to Euro 2016 qualifying continued in sensational style on Tuesday as Michael O'Neill's side stunned former champions Greece 2-0 at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Athens.

The visitors were left celebrating their third straight victory thanks to goals from Jamie Ward and Kyle Lafferty and, sitting top of Group F, are starting to dream of reaching their first major championship finals since the Mexico World Cup of 1986.

The Irish took a deserved early lead in the ninth minute through Ward's strike with Lafferty adding the decider in superb fashion on the counter-attack six minutes after halftime.

The victory piles the pressure on Claudio Ranieri's side, who are second bottom of the group as Northern Ireland move two points clear of Romania at the top.

For Greece, who were favourites to win the group when the draw was made, it is the worst start to a qualifying campaign since Euro 2004, when they lost their opening twogames before eventually qualifying and going on to win the tournament.

Poland's euphoria dampened by Scottish resistance

Steven Naismith of Scotland celebrates

Steven Naismith of Scotland celebrates his goal against Poland during their Euro 2016 Group D qualifying match. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Poland's fairytale triumph over Germany was quickly overtaken by a touch of anti-climax in Warsaw on Tuesday as they found themselves held to a 2-2 draw by Scotland in a pulsating Euro 2016 qualifier.

A pumped up crowd had expected more of the same from their new heroes in the National Stadium following the historic 2-0 win over the world champions but had to watch them come from behind to earn a point with a 76th minute goal from Arkadiusz Milik.

In the dying minutes, Poland poured forward and another memorable triumph looked on the cards as Kamil Grosicki hit the post and Robert Lewandowski forced a terrific save from David Marshall.

Yet Scotland, who had won a friendly in this same stadium in March, held on stoutly, once again looking like a rejuvenated side under Gordon Strachan's stewardship.

The manner in which they rebounded from the early setback of Krzysztof Maczynski's 11th minute goal, scoring twice through Shaun Maloney and Steven Naismith and counter-attacking with some pace and guile in such a febrile atmosphere bodes well for the rest of their campaign in the now delicately-poised Group D.

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