World Cup runners-up exclude player from Euro 2012 qualifiers over tackle that broke Ben Arfa’s leg in Man City game.
|Score drawers: Vucinic whips off his pants in a bizarre celebration as Montenegro shock Switzerland [Reuters]|
Tiny Montenegro maintained their unexpectedly excellent start when they beat Switzerland 1-0 to preserve their 100 per cent record in Group G of Euro 2012 qualifying.
Norway kept their place at the head of Group H, taking their tally to nine points with a 2-1 win in Cyprus with goals from John Arne Riise and John Carew.
Group leaders Germany and Netherlands also made it three wins out of three but there were shock defeats for Slovakia, who lost 3-1 to Armenia in Group B, and Serbia, who were beaten 3-1 at home by Estonia in Group C.
Former World champions Italy dropped their first points when they were held to a goallless draw by Northern Ireland in their Group C match in Belfast, while Russia held on to beat Ireland 3-2 in Dublin after the Irish hit back with two goals late in the second half of their Group B match.
Two goals from Nani and one by Cristiano Ronaldo earned Portugal a 3-1 victory over Denmark in Group H to give new coach Paulo Bento a winning start following the sacking of Carlos Queiroz, while Russia beat Ireland 3-2 in Dublin.
Friday October 8
Germany 3-0 Turkey
Bulgaria coach Lothar Matthaeus enjoyed a winning start to his tenure with a second-half goal from Ivelin Popov securing a 1-0 victory over Wales in Group G.
Hungary were the highest scorers of Friday’s 21 matches, crushing minnows San Marino 8-0 in Budapest in their Group E game, while Slovenia striker Tim Matavz struck a hat-trick to spur his side to a 5-1 win over the Faroe Islands.
Montenegro’s Mirko Vucinic scored the winner after 68 minutes against Switzerland when he chipped the ball home from a narrow angle, and then celebrated in bizarre style by taking his shorts off and putting them on his head, earning a yellow card.
Montenegro, who have a population numbering well under a million, will face their toughest test so far when they meet unbeaten England at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.
The Swiss were the only team to beat new champions Spain in the World Cup in South Africa.
There was no surprise that Germany also made it three out of three with a 3-0 win over Turkey in Berlin where Miroslav Klose scored twice and Mesut Ozil netted the other to keep the Germans top of Group A with maximum points.
Klose’s goals took his tally to 57 for Germany making him their second highest scorer behind Gerd Muller who holds the all-time record of 68.
Ozil’s goal came against the country where his parents were born.
The Netherlands also won their third straight game in Group E with a 1-0 win in Moldova where Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored the only goal in the 37th minute.
Fernando Llorente powered home two headers and David Silva added a superb third to give world and European champions Spain a 3-1 win over Lithuania.
Rank outsiders Armenia shocked Slovakia 3-1 in the first match of the night, handing their experienced opponents a first defeat in Euro 2012 qualifying.
The Slovaks, who beat defending champions Italy 3-2 in the first round of the World Cup in June, must have fancied their chances of qualifying for the Euro 2012 finals after defeating Group B favourites Russia 1-0 in Moscow last month.
The visitors are usually water-tight in defence but they conceded three goals to the Armenians after keeping clean sheets in their first two qualifiers.
In other early matches, Hungary crushed San Marino 8-0 in a typically one-sided international against Europe’s whipping boys, while Belgium got their first points after three matches with debutant Marvin Ogunjimi netting both in a 2-0 win in Kazakhstan.
One of the biggest upsets came in Belgrade where Estonia won a rare but well-deserved away 3-1 victory against a sluggish Serbia in Group C with superb second half goals from Tarmo Kink and Konstantin Vassiljev to give new coach Vladimir Petrovic a miserable start in his new job.
Surprise packages Albania held on to top spot in Group D after an equaliser by Klodian Duro secured a 1-1 home draw with Bosnia.
The 32-year-old midfielder struck in added time at the end of the first half after Vedad Ibisevic had struck in the 21st minute for the visitors.