Sav some of that

Saviola puts paid to France as Spain find form and inflict more misery on England.

    Saviola has been back in form lately [AFP]

    Argentina played incisive, attractive football throughout the match to give coach Alfilo Basile his first win of his second spell in charge of the national team.

    Saviola netted his 11th goal for his country at the end of a beautiful move he started himself.

    Esteban Cambiasso collected a backheel from the striker to set up Hernan Crespo, whose attempt was parried away by Gregory Coupet. Saviola, however, was ready to pounce and put the ball in the empty goal.

    Sub-standard England

    At Old Trafford the scoreline was also 1-0 as Spain inflicted more misery on England, as in France the goal came from a Barcelona player.

    This time it was Andres Iniesta who fired past England debutant Ben Foster in the 63rd after sloppy defending allowed David Villa to cross into the penalty area.

    England had a night to forget [AFP]

    England were insipid and lacking in thought throughout, creating only one chance of note for Peter Crouch at the end of the first half.

    Another listless display under new manager Steve McClaren once again raised more questions than it answered.

    The result was a boost for Spain who have had a poor start to their campaign to qualify for Euro 2008, losing twice already.

    One of next year's hosts, Switzerland, were beaten by neighbours Germany, 3-1 in Dusseldorf.

    The Germans were far too sharp for the Swiss, with goals from recalled Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi, Stuttgart's Mario Gomez on his debut and Torsten frings.

    Gutsy minnows

    Co-hosts next summer, Austria, also had a shocker on Wednesday being held 1-1by minnows Malta.

    Germany share a tough Euro 2008 Group D qualifying group with the Czech Republic, who won 2-0 in Belgium.

    Group D saw the night's only Euro 2008 qualifier and it nearly produced a stunning upset as San Marino held the Republic of Ireland deep into stoppage time.

    But a Stephen Ireland goal four minutes into injury time spared their blushes and broke San Marino hearts denying them their first ever point in 38 European qulifiers.

    San Marino have not come this close to a
    point in 37 qualifiers [AFP]

    Elsewhere Guus Hiddink's problems, including investigations for tax fraud, were compounded by his countrymen as Holland thumped his Russia side 4-1 in Amsterdam, all the goals coming in the second half.

    Bulgaria, in Holland's group, had a good night at home, beating Cyprus 3-0.

    One notable absentee from the evening's proceedings was Italy, whose game with Romania was called off last week following the death of a policeman at a Serie A match.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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