If Berti Vogts thinks he is receiving harsh criticism of his efforts as manager as Scotland, perhaps he should go home. There might soon be a job going there.
His native Germany started the Group Five qualifying campaign as the favourites to qualify for the European Championship finals in Portugal next year, but they have struggled. Last night they managed only a 0-0 draw away to the group leaders, Iceland, to leave them second ahead of Scotland on goal difference. Their next game, on Wednesday, is at home to Scotland, and the heat is starting to tell on for Rudi Völler.
The German coach showed classic signs of feeling persecuted when interviewed by German television, saying: "It was naturally not enough today. We didn't have enough movement. We have to work harder. We're not scoring enough goals, but I can't stand to hear this crap any more about 'another low point' and 'another lower point' for German football. It's below the belt. They [the TV commentators] should get a new job."
The idea of changing jobs is probably not one for Völler to raise. Even when he had calmed down, he had to admit: "Some of the criticism is justified. I'm just trying to do my best for Germany."
Germany's captain, Oliver Kahn, said: "We didn't put in a performance here today that will make us famous, that's for sure. But we still have two home matches to sew up first place. There was a lot of pressure on us. We could not afford to lose against a robust, aggressive team like this. When we saw that we couldn't score a goal against them, it was important that we at least shut them down and didn't let in a goal."
Finland maintained their slim chances of claiming a place in the play-offs when they beat Azerbaijan 2-1 in Wales's qualifying group.
The Finn's task away in Baku was made simpler by the dismissal of Azerbaijan's Tarlan Akhmedov for a dangerous tackle in the 42nd minute and they capitalised on their one-man advantage seven minutes into the second half when Teemu Tainio scored from the edge of the penalty area. Mika Nurmela tapped in the second goal in the 76th minute time and Azerbaijan's goal on the stroke of full-time, through Farrukh Ismailov, offered no more than consolation for the side at the bottom of Group Nine.
In Northern Ireland's section, Greece beat Armenia 1-0 away in Yerevan to stay at the top of Group Six. The Perugia striker Zissis Vryzas scored the only goal eight minutes before half-time, from a pass by the Bolton midfielder, Stelios Giannakopoulos. It was Greece's fifth consecutive victory, and they lead the group on 15 points with only Northern Ireland to play.
Georgia, who have struggled since losing their opening qualifying game to the Group 10 leaders, Switzerland, restored some respectability by thrashing Albania 3-0 at home in Tbilisi.
The Georgians left nothing to chance by scoring all three goals in the first half to move off the bottom of the Republic of Ireland's group at Albania's expense. Shota Arveladze and Mikhail Ashvetia scored in the first 17 minutes and Arveladze added his second after a flowing move of crisp passes three minutes before the break.
The victory was a triumph for the head of the Georgian FA, Merab Zhordania, who appointed himself coach last month.Reuse content