Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva scored as Croatia, England's Group Six opponents at Wembley on 9 September, won 3-1 away against Belarus last night to strengthen their position in pursuit of a play-off slot.
Ivica Olic opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, beating goalkeeper Yury Zhevnov with a powerful header and Eduardo touched home Croatia's second goal from a Darijo Srna cross. Olic added a third after Dmitry Verkhovtsov had reduced the arrears.
Substitute Sam Vokes' second goal for his country was not enough to save Wales from defeat against Montenegro in Podgorica. John Toshack's men could not improve their run of two successive victories despite a spirited display by a young side. The hosts were two up at the break thanks to a Stevan Jovetic penalty and a fine turn and shot from Radomir Dalovic in first-half injury time.
Wolves striker Vokes came on at the break and scored with a neat header seven minutes later, but Wales could not find an equaliser as the intense heat took its toll.
Everton's Australia midfielder Tim Cahill struck twice in seven first-half minutes to inflict a 3-0 defeat on the Republic of Ireland in Limerick. The Irish lacked the required cutting edge to break down a side who have already booked their tickets to the finals in South Africa, and were given a lesson in finishing by Cahill, whose clinical touch after 38 and 44 minutes virtually settled the game.
It was a second defeat under Giovanni Trapattoni since he took charge 15 months ago, and the Italian will have been unhappy with his side's display before their key World Cup qualifier in Cyprus on 5 September.
An impressive Australian performance was given further gloss in stoppage time when David Carney thrashed in an unstoppable 30-yard drive.
David Healy won his 75th cap for Northern Ireland in their friendly against Israel at Windsor Park but for the sixth match running failed to get on the scoresheet in the 1-1 draw. The Sunderland striker was taken off by manager Nigel Worthington in the 59th minute and replaced by Martin Paterson.
Healy has been stuck on 35 goals for months now and his poor form in front of goal will be causing concern. Worthington, who lost Manchester United defender Jonny Evans with an ankle injury yesterday morning, was looking for a morale-boosting win ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Poland next month.
Instead they had to settle for a share of the spoils with Elyaniv Barda cancelling out Grant McCann's opening goal.