Selasa, 15 November 2011

International night, Euro 2012 finalists set

The final lineup for next summer's European Championship in Poland & Ukraine is now set after tonight's playoff second legs, with a strong field of sixteen heading for Eastern Europe.

There were no winning fightbacks following the first legs and Portugal, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Ireland and Croatia all advanced to Euro 2012, eliminating respectively Bosnia & Herzogovina, Montenegro, Estonia and Turkey.

The sixteen qualifiers are thus:

Poland, Ukraine
, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, England, Portugal, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, Eire, Czech Republic, Greece and Russia.

All the big guns are there, and Croatia, Sweden, Russia and Ireland make the boat having missed out on the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

The Netherlands' Klaas-Jan Huntelaar finished as top scorer in Europe with twelve goals, followed by Germany's Miroslav Klose with nine.

England were the best supported team with an average home crowd of 77,000, followed by France with 65,000.

The draw for the finals takes place in Kiev on the 2nd of December and the tournament itself is from the 8th of June until the 1st of July.

***

* World Champions Spain's lukewarm friendly form continued when they scraped a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica. Trailing 2-0 at the interval, David Silva pulled one back in the 83rd minute and David Villa spared their blushes with a leveller three minutes into injury time. As with Saturday's defeat to England, Spain fielded a full-strength team for the clash in San Jose, Costa Rica.

In other European friendlies, Germany blanked the Netherlands 3-0 in Hamburg, Italy lost 0-1 to Uruguay in Rome, England beat Sweden for the first time since 1968, 1-0 in London, while France drew 0-0 at home to Belgium. The USA won 3-2 in Slovenia while there were home wins for both Euro 2012 hosts: Poland beat Hungary and Ukraine Austria, both by 2-1 scorelines.

* Argentina overturned a half-time deficit to beat Colombia 2-1 in their 2014 World Cup qualifier in Barranquilla, Colombia. Lionel Messi equalised Dorlan Pabon's opener on the hour mark and Sergio Aguero bagged the winner with five minutes to play. In another CONMEBOL qualifier, Ecuador beat Peru 2-0 in Quito.



* Asian giants Japan and South Korea both lost in 2014 qualifying tonight - Nippon lost 1-0 away to North Korea, while the Korean Republic lost 2-1 away to Lebanon. Australia won 1-0 in Thailand, China won 4-0 in Singapore and Iran won 4-1 in Indonesia. There were also qualifiers among the lesser nations of Africa and the CONCACAF region.

* In the pick of tonight's African friendlies, Nigeria beat Zambia 2-0, Ghana beat Gabon 2-1 and Zimbabwe beat neighbours South Africa 2-1.

(c) Sean O'Conor and Soccerphile

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