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Football: World Cup Qualifiers 09/10/04

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posted on Oct, 9 2004 @ 03:17 PM
Euro 2004 finalists Portugal were held to a shock 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw at little Liechtenstein on Saturday night. The Portuguese went into this Group Three game with a perfect record so far, and everything looked to be going to plan when they took a 2-0 lead. Pauleta opened the scoring on 23 minutes and a Daniel Hasler own goal on 39 made it 2-0. But Liechtenstein produced a spirited response and Franz Burgmeier pulled one back three minutes after the break. The amazing comeback was complete 14 minutes from time when Thomas Beck rescued a famous point for the home side.

In the other games in Group Three Slovakia crushed Latvia 4-1 to stay top despite falling behind early.

Russia were convincing 4-0 winners away to Luxembourg. Poland are only a point behind England at the top of Group Six after a fine 3-1 victory in Austria. Radoslav Kaluzny broke the deadlock just nine minutes in but Markus Schopp levelled after half an hour. It stayed at 1-1 until 11 minutes from time when Jacek Krzynowek struck to give the Poles a priceless lead. And despite having Arek Radomski sent off two minutes from the end they were still able to increase the margin of victory with a goal in injury-time from Tomasz Frankowski.

Sweden boosted their hopes of qualification from Group Eight with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Hungary in Stockholm. Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg opened the scoring on 26 minutes and Barcelona's former Celtic ace Henrik Larsson doubled the advantage on 50. Southampton's Anders Svensson rounded things off with the third goal for the Swedes.

Croatia still top the group a point clear of the Swedes, but will be disappointed to have only drawn 2-2 at home with Bulgaria.
They looked to be well on the way to three points when a brave from Darijo Srna, the second from the spot, put them 2-0 up inside 32 minutes. But Martin Petrov pulled one back 13 minutes from time and Dimitar Berbatov levelled four minutes from the end.

Malta and Iceland meanwhile drew 0-0 in the other game in the group.

The Czech Republic put their recent problems behind them as they chalked up a 1-0 victory in Prague to end Romania's 100 percent start in Group One. The home side prevailed with a first-half Jan Koller penalty which was scant reward for their dominant display . The injury-ravaged Czechs were outstanding, with Liverpool striker Milan Baros irrepressible if goalless.

In the same group, two goals from Ipswich forward Shefki Kuqi helped Finland dismiss Armenia for the second time in just over a month, via a hard-fought 3-1 win in Tampere. First-half strikes from Kuqi and Aleksei Eremenko put the Finns in control before Armen Shahgeldyan's deflected shot set up a tense second half. But a late second from Kuqi secured all three points to put Finland level on points with Romania at the top of the group.

European champions Greece continued to struggle in Group Two as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine. Otto Rehhagel's men looked booked for another defeat when Andriy Shevchenko put the home side ahead on 48 minutes in Kiev. Vassilis Tsiartas did get an equaliser nine minutes from time but the Greeks now have just two points from three games.

Also in Group Two, Turkey boosted their qualification hopes by crushing Kazakhstan 4-0. Gokdeniz Karadeniz opened the scoring 17 minutes in and Real Sociedad ace Nihat doubled the lead five minutes after the break. Then Fatih Tekke netted twice in injury time at the end of the game to round off the rout.

In Group Four Switzerland were held to a 2-2 draw away to Israel. The Swiss were behind inside nine minutes as Yossi Benayoun put the home side ahead, but Alexander Frei levelled on 26. Eight minutes later Switzerland were 2-1 ahead as Johan Vonlanthen found the target. But Benayoun got his second of the night three minutes into the second half to make sure it finished level at 2-2.

In the same group Cyprus were held 2-2 at home by the Faroe Islands.


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