Football: Spain move up to second with destructive display

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The Independent Online
SPAIN EASED their way to an unspectacular but efficient 5-0 victory at home to part-timers San Marino in their Group Seven World Cup qualifier in Almeria last night.

San Marino held them at bay for a quarter of an hour before midfielder Joaquin drilled in from the edge of the area to put the home side into the lead. Fernando Torres made it 2-0 shortly after the half hour with Raul, Guti and Asier del Horno also adding their names to the scoresheet. The victory lifted Spain into second place in the group with eight points from four games, two behind leaders Serbia & Montenegro.

In Group Two, the European champions, Greece, revived their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Denmark in Piraeus. The Greek captain, Theodoros Zagorakis, gave the hosts the lead after 25 minutes with the midfielder Angelos Basinas converting from the penalty spot to make it 2-0, before the Danes pulled one back through Dennis Rommedahl. But Greece still have much to do if they want to usurp leaders Ukraine who beat Albania 2-0 in Tirana.

Northern Ireland went down 1-0 to a 10-man Canada in their friendly at Windsor Park. Oliver Occean peeled away from his marker to score for the visitors, leaving Lawrie Sanchez's charges to contemplate a night of missed opportunities.

At the Stade de France, the Arsenal midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg put Sweden ahead in the 11th minute in their friendly, but the French striker David Trezeguet headed home just before half-time to leave honours even.

Emerson's impressive display during Brazil's 7-1 victory over Hong Kong in Rio de Janeiro, prompted the national coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, to say that the midfielder will start for Brazil in the World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Peru. It was a triumph for Emerson who had been out of the side for the last 15 months.