The first half of the Qualifying Round for the Euro 2012 is over. Let’s take a quick look at each game of this Saturday.
Euro 2012 qualifying – Group A
Germany 4-0 Kazakhstan
As expected, Die Mannschaft had no problem crushing a weak opponent. Miroslav Klose and Thomas Müller scored two goals each to get their fifth victory in five qualifying matches.
Quick Analysis: Germany has a foot-and-a-half in the Euro 2012. They have an eight-point lead over Austria and Belgium.
Euro 2012 qualifying – Group B
Armenia 0-0 Russia
Andorra 0-1 Slovakia
Ireland 2-1 Macedonia
The Russian squad was frustrated all night by a tenacious home team that had a couple of good chances to take the three points.
In Andorra, a single goal by Filip Sebo at the 21st minute was enough for Slovakia to claim the victory, although they should have done more considering the difference between both squads.
Macedonian keeper Edin Nuredinoski had a terrible night, making two big mistakes that allowed Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane to give Ireland a comfortable 2-0 lead in the first 21 minutes.
Ivan Trichkovski brought the visitors back to life just before the break and had a one-on-one against Irish keeper Keiren Westhood with 15 minutes on the clock, but the home team managed to preserve the victory.
Quick Analysis: What a group. Ireland, Russia and Slovakia are in a three-way tie with 10 points, followed closely by Armenia with eight. Russia has a slight edge because they still have four home matches and just one away in their schedule, while Slovakia has three games at home and Ireland only two.
Euro 2012 qualifying – Group D
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 Romania
Albania 1-0 Belarus
The days when Romania used to hang out with the world class squads seem so distant right now. Ciprian Marica opened the mark at 21st minute, but the hosts turned the score in the second part thanks to Vedad Ibisevic and Edin Dzeko.
In Tirana, Hamdi Salihi scored the only goal of the match at the 62nd minute.
Quick Analysis: The weirdest thing about the Albania-Belarus match is that it actually mattered. They are tied at second place of the group with eight points, one more than Bosnia-Herzegovina, although the Balkan side has one less match.
France shouldn’t have problem in winning this group, while Romania is now worried about not falling to last in a group that includes Luxembourg.
Euro 2012 qualifying – Group F
Georgia 1-0 Croatia
Israel 2-1 Latvia
Malta 0-1 Greece
A last-minute goal by Levan Kobiashvili gave the hosts a surprising victory over Croatia.
Israel also won thanks to a late goal (81st minute) by Beram Kayal. Elyaniv Barda had opened the mark at 16th, but Kaspars Gorkss equalized at the 64th minute.
Greece was close to an embarrassment in their trip to Malta, but Vasilis Torosides headed home from close range in the fifth minute of added time to send his team to the top of the group.
Quick Analysis: In all cases we could just have jumped to the last 10 minutes. Greece is in the lead with 11 points, while Croatia has 10 and surprising Georgia now has nine. Israel still has some hope with seven points.
Euro 2012 qualifying – Group G
Wales 0-2 England
Bulgaria 0-0 Switzerland
England needed just 15 minutes to finish the game. Frank Lampard kicked a penalty at seven minutes in, and Darren Bent added the second in the 15th minute.
Fabio Capello’s men controlled the rest of the match, settling with the advantage they already had.
In Sofia, Bulgaria and Switzerland neutralized each other for a goalless draw that has both teams on the verge of elimination.
Quick Analysis: Incredibly, England is not alone at the top of this group. They are tied surprisingly with Montenegro, a team that already rescued a 0-0 draw at Wembley. Anyway, the British side should secure their ticket to Poland-Ukraine in the second half of this round.
Euro 2012 qualifying – Group H
Norway 1-1 Denmark
Cyprus 0-0 Iceland
Dennis Rommedahl scored the first goal of the night with a great volley at the 27th minute, but Eric Huseklepp equalized nine minutes before the end of the Scandinavian derby.
I guess nobody cares about what happened in the Cyprus-Iceland draw.
Quick Analysis: This was a great chance for Norway to escape at the top of this group. They are still leaders with 10 points, three more than Portugal and Denmark. The problem for Norway is that they now have to visit their two rivals.
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