International round-up: Ukraine draw a blank to lift England

 

Ukraine managed to produce just three shots on target as they drew 0-0 away to Moldova in the other game in England's Group H.

In an uninspired encounter, the Moldovan goalkeeper Stanislav Namasco made two good saves from midfielders Denys Garmash and Ruslan Rotan, and Bayern Munich's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk saw his late effort from the edge of the area blocked to give the home side their first point of the qualifying campaign.

In the other fixtures in Wales and Scotland's Group A, there was a 3-0 win for Belgium in Serbia and Croatia secured a 2-1 victory in Macedonia.

A tap-in from the Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, a simple finish from Chelsea's on-loan Kevin de Bruyne and a clinical strike to end a good counter-attacking move from Everton's Kevin Mirallas ensured an impressive away win for the Belgians that took them top of the group.

A strong-looking Croatia side, that included Nikica Jelavic and Luka Modric, needed goals from Vedran Corluka and Ivan Rakitic either side of half-time to take them past Macedonia after striker Besart Ibrahimi had given the home team the lead on 16 minutes.

Ireland's Group C almost saw the Faroe Islands cause an upset against Sweden in Torsvollur.

The home team took a surprise lead midway through the second half with a goal from former Bristol Rovers defender Rogvi Baldvinsson. But two strikes in the space of 10 minutes through Fulham midfielder Alexander Kacaniklic and forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic clinched all three points for the Swedes.

Barcelona's Pedro scored a hat-trick for Spain as they demolished Belarus 4-0 in Minsk during their Group I contest.

Full-back Jordi Alba set the tone for the contest on 12 minutes when, after good work from both Xavi and Pedro on the edge of the penalty area, he found himself free in the area, rounded the goalkeeper and placed a calm finish into the Belarus net. Pedro's subsequent trio of goals mean Spain maintain their 100 per cent winning record in the group.

Elsewhere, in Group F, Fabio Capello's unbeaten start as Russia manager continued as they squeezed past Portugal 1-0 in Moscow. A sixth-minute goal from striker Aleksander Kerzhakov, his third in as many qualifying games, was enough to see his side move top of the group on nine points.

The beaten Euro 2012 finalists Italy needed a penalty from Andrea Pirlo and headers from Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo to win 3-1 in Armenia, where Shakhtar Donetsk's Henrikh Mkhitaryan had managed to equalise for the home team in the first half.

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