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International Results Round-up. (+tables)

 McFadden joy at Scots win McFadden: ‘ave it’.

Well it was a dramatic night in Europe as the Euro 2008 qualification groups began to really heat up, with some groups incredibly tight entering the last three games.

Group A:

  • Poland – 21 (11)
  • Finland – 19 (11)
  • Portugal – 17 (10)
  • Serbia – 16 (10)

Portugal will be kicking themselves after blowing a fantastic opportunity to close in on leaders Poland. Poland were held to a 0-0 draw earlier on the Wednesday meaning Portugal hosted Serbia in a game both sides knew was vital to their qualification chances. But just as the weekend produced 2draws between the top-4, Wednesday followed suit with Serbia’s 88th minute equaliser crushing Portugal’s hopes as Poland had done on the Saturday with a late equaliser of their own. Simao gave Portugal an early lead with a free-kick, however when Dejan Stankovic swung over a free-kick of his own late on, Ivanović was able to turn the ball in from close range leaving Group A tighter than a……

Group B:

  • Scotland – 21 (9)
  • Italy – 20 (9)
  • France – 19 (9)
  • Ukraine – 13 (8)

Scotland produced the shock of the night when they defeated France by a goal to nil for the second time in this group, this time away from home. James McFadden’s sublime strike ensured that Scotland took two wins from two over the four days and are now top, as our delightful little league table shows you (see above). While France possibly can’t take anymore sporting defeats after their shock loss to Argentina in the hosts opening game of the ‘fakey jokey’ World Cup last Friday, Scotland know that they are in a phenomenal position to make next years tournament. Italy are also in a better position after a 2-1 victory in Ukraine. Shevchenko scored his first goal of the season (he still gets a game at International level) but Antonoio Di Natale struck either side of the hosts’ goal to send Italy second. Scotland still have work to do, Italy and Ukraine must visit Hamden Park, while France face the tricky trip to Kiev, but the Tartan Army have given themselves the best possibly chance, although Darren Fletcher was ruled out of the Ukraine game after another yellow card last night.

Group C:

  • Greece – 19 (8)
  • Norway – 17 (9)
  • Turkey – 17 (8)
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina – 13 (9)

In another tight group, Norway and Greece drew 2-2 at the Ullevaal Stadium, giving Turkey the opportunity to close the gap, thanks to a 3-0 win over Hungary at home.  While Bosnia can still qualify mathematically, their shock defeat at home to Moldova looks like it’s ruled them out of the running. Turkey face Greece at home and Norway away in vital remaining fixtures which will decide this group.

Group D:

  • Germany – 22 (8)
  • Czech Republic – 20 (9)
  • Republic of Ireland – 14 (9)

It’s all over barring a miracle for Steve Staunton’s men after another away defeat, this time 1-0 to the Czech Republic. Despite a Kevin Doyle effort which hit the post and several other chances, Stephen Hunt’s harsh red card just past the hour mark effectively ended any hope Ireland had of getting a crucial goal. Marek Jankulovski’s fine effort seperated the teams, and a tearful Staunton admitted after the game that it had probably ended Irish chances for 2008, with the focus now on rebuilding for the 2010 World Cup. Whether Staunton remains in charge is up for discussion though, with the media likely to be on his back following one point from two vital games in the week. Germany should wrap up the group as they have a game in hand, however should Ireland reclaim some pride by beating them in Croke Park, they will face the Czechs to decide who goes through as group winner.

Group E:

  • Croatia – 23 (9)
  • England – 20 (9)
  • Russia – 18 (9)
  • Israel – 17 (9)

Yep, you guessed it, it’s a little too tight to call. England’s two 3-0 successes have blown the group right open again, but Croatia’s 6-0 hammering of Andorra leaves them well in control of their own fate. England must travel to Russia and host Croatia in two vital games left to play, while Croatia host Israel in what will be the away sides last chance of qualifying next month. Game on…….

Group F:

  • Sweden – 19 (8)
  • Spain – 19 (9)
  • Northern Ireland – 16 (9)
  • Denmark – 14 (8)

Spare a thought for poor old Northern Ireland fans this morning. Successive defeats to Latvia and Iceland have probably ended their chances yet again, after new boss Frank Worthington was unable to replicate Lawrie Sanchez’ previous successes in this group. Spain won 2-0 at home to Latvia while Denmark hammered Liechtenstein 4-0 to set up next month’s home tie with Spain as the vital key to remaining in the qualification hunt. Spain host Sweden in November in an attempt to reel in the group leaders who have a game in hand to go three points clear at the top.


  • Romania – 20 (8)
  • Netherlands – 20 (8)
  • Bulgaria – 18 (9)

Bulgaria remain in the hunt for qualification after a comfortable 3-0 win over Luxembourg at home last night. However the night was almost perfect for Bulgaria and Romania before Ruud van Nistelrooy popped up in the 91st minute to secure a 1-0 away win over Albania, after it had looked as though the minnows would throw a spanner in the Dutch hopes for going level on points with leaders Romania. Next month’s clash between Romania and the Netherlands is now even more significant, with the winners likely to end up as automatic qualifiers from the final group. Romania still have a tricky trip to Bulgaria to contend with in November though so there’s still plenty to play for for each of the top three sides.

So there it is. Group D is the only one which we can comfortably say we know who the top two will be. For the remaining groups it is game on and there will be plenty more twists and turns to come no doubt.

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