/ Soccer

Qualifier victories for Germany and Sweden

Updated: Wednesday, 12 Sep 2012 12:00

Marco Reus gave Germany a first-half lead against Austria in Vienna
Marco Reus gave Germany a first-half lead against Austria in Vienna

Sweden made a winning start to their World Cup qualifying campaign against Kazakhstan, while Germany recorded a somewhat fortuitous victory against Austria in Group C on a busy night of international action.

Germany, who the Republic of Ireland face in their next qualifier on 12 October, rode their luck to beat Austria 2-1 and continue their perfect start to World Cup qualifying in Vienna.

Marco Reus put Germany ahead just before half-time and Mesut Ozil added a second shortly after the interval from the penalty spot.

Zlatko Junuzovic pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 57th minute and they were unfortunate not to get at least an equaliser as they caused Joachim Low's side numerous problems but failed to find another goal.

Goals from Rasmus Elm and Marcus Berg ensured Sweden saw off Kazakhstan.

The Scandinavians had sat out last week's round of fixtures, but gave their future opponents little food for thought with a workmanlike performance in Malmo.

Sweden dominated the early stages but had little to show for their efforts with the exception of a 12-yard drive from Elm which was high of the target.

Pontus Wernbloom could also have done better with a corner from Sebastian Larsson after 21 minutes which the CSKA Moscow midfielder volleyed past the right post.

Johan Elmander was wasteful with another opening soon after but Sweden's pressure finally paid off after 38 minutes when Mikael Lustig's ball in from the left was turned into the net by Elm.

The same player had another chance two minutes before the interval but this time pushed his shot wide of the right post in another let-off for Kazakhstan.

Sweden should have made it 2-0 at the start of the second half when Larsson whipped in a cross for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the Paris St Germain striker saw his header tipped round the post by visiting goalkeeper Andrey Sidelnikov.

Sweden made sure of the win in the fourth minute of stoppage time when substitute Berg put the finishing touch to Ibrahimovic's cross.

Elsewhere, Roberto Soldado's 86th-minute winner saved Spain from an embarrassing goalless draw with Georgia in the opening match of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Valencia striker, starting for the world champions ahead of Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres, swept the ball home following a short corner to spare the visitors' blushes.

Soldado was the only change to the side that started the Euro 2012 final victory over Italy, but Vicente del Bosque's side were far from at their slick best and almost went behind when Alexander Amisulashvili struck a post.

France topped Spain's Group I after making it two wins out of two with a 3-1 triumph over Belarus.

Etienne Capoue put Didier Deschamps side in front early in the second half and Christophe Jallet added a second.

Les Bleus had a scare when Sergey Kornilenko missed a penalty and Anton Putsila did score a minute later, but Franck Ribery settled the nerves 10 minutes from time.

Italy got their first win in Group B with a 2-0 success over Malta.

After a 2-2 draw with Bulgaria in their opener, goals at either end of the match from Mattia Destro and Federico Peluso gave the hosts three points.

Bulgaria joined them on four points after a bad-tempered 1-0 win over Armenia.

Stanislav Manolev scored the winner, but the highlight of the second half was a flurry of red cards, Bulgaria's Svetoslav Dyakov and Armenia's Marcos Pizelli and Gevorg Ghazaryan all sent off.

The Netherlands, so poor in the European Championship, won 4-1 in Hungary to get their second win in Group D.

Jeremain Lens' early opener was quickly cancelled out by a penalty from Balazs Dzsudzsak, but Bruno Martins Indi scored to give the Dutch a 2-1 half-time lead.

Lens with his second and Klaas Jan Huntelaar struck it the second half to ensure a convincing win.

Romania joined them on top of the group after a 4-0 win at home to Andorra, Gabriel Torje, Costin Lazar, Valerica Gaman and Alexandru Maxim on target.

Turkey were 3-0 winners over 10-man Estonia, the goals from Emre Belozoglu, Umut Bulut and Selcuk Inan. Enar Jaager was sent off for the visitors after 19 minutes.

England needed an 87th-minute equaliser from Frank Lampard from the penalty spot to rescue a 1-1 draw against Group H rivals Ukraine at Wembley.

After Jermain Defoe had a goal disallowed, Yevgen Konoplianka put the visitors in front.

Lampard levelled from the spot after Yevhen Khacherdi was penalised for handball, but there was still time for Steven Gerrard to see red for a second yellow card.

Poland and Montenegro joined England on top of the group with four points.

The Poles saw off Moldova 2-0 thanks to a Jakub Blaszczykowski penalty and a Jakub Wawrzyniak strike.

Montenegro hit minnows San Marino for six, with two goals each from Fatos Beqiraj and Andrija Delibasic and one apiece for Luka Djordjevic and Elsad Zverotic.

Portugal and Russia established a five-point cushion over the chasing pack in Group F.

Portugal recorded their second win of the campaign, 3-0 against Azerbaijan, courtesy of second-half efforts from Silvestre Varela, Helder Postiga and Bruno Alves, the last two coming in the final five minutes.

Russia found the going rather easier in Israel, an Alexander Kerzhakov double and goals from Aleksandr Kokorin and Viktor Faitzulin giving them a 4-0 win.

Also in the pool, Northern Ireland drew 1-1 at home to Luxembourg, for whom Daniel da Mota cancelled out Dean Shiels' opener.

In Group A, Serbia crushed woeful Wales 6-1.

Aleksandar Kolarov, Zoran Tosic, Filip Djuricic, Dusan Tadic, Branislav Ivanovic and Miralem Sulejmani netted for the hosts, with Gareth Bale briefly giving Wales hope by pulling one back in the first half.

Belgium and Croatia joined Serbia on top of the pile after a 1-1 draw, Guillaume Gillet cancelling out Ivan Perisic's opener.

Scotland came from behind to draw 1-1 with Macedonia, Kenny Miller and Nikolce Noveski scoring.

Switzerland continued to lead the way in Group E, Xherdan Shaqiri and a Gokhan Inler penalty giving them a 2-0 home win over Albania.

Konstantinos Makridis scored to give Cyprus a 1-0 win over Iceland, who had Solvi Ottesen sent off late on.

Norway fought back to defeat Slovenia 2-1, John Arne Riise getting the winner with a 90th-minute penalty.

Markus Henriksen cancelled out Marko Suler's opener.

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece won for the second time in Group G.

The former crushed Latvia 4-1, but only after conceding a Kaspars Gorkss' goal after five minutes.

Zvjezdan Misimovic scored twice, including a penalty, while Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko got one each as the hosts recovered.

Greece beat Lithuania 2-0 thanks to goals from Sotiris Ninis and Kostas Mitroglou.

Slovakia recorded a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein, Marek Sapara and Martin Jakubko on target.