Villa sets scoring record as Spain fight back to win
Spain striker David Villa became his country's record goalscorer when he scored twice as the world champions came from behind to beat the Czech Republic in their Euro 2012 qualifier in Granada last night.
The Barcelona forward beat keeper Petr Cech with a low shot in the 69th minute and then converted a penalty in the 73rd to reach 46 international goals for Spain – two ahead of former Real Madrid striker Raul.
Jaroslav Plasil had given the visitors a surprise lead with a powerful drive in the 29th minute that went in off a post before Villa's second-half goals turned the match around. The victory gave Spain a perfect 12 points from four games in Group I.
Patrice Evra and Franck Ribéry were booed by travelling France fans on their return from suspension in the 2-0 Group D win over Luxembourg.
Evra and Ribéry were banned for five and three games respectively for their roles in last year's discord in South Africa where France players went on strike to support Nicolas Anelka after he was sent home for insulting then-coach Raymond Domenech.
The two former rebels were booed by the 2,000 French fans who had crossed the border, and made low-key comebacks in a soporific game. France took the lead when Samir Nasri delivered a precise free-kick into the penalty area for Mexes to head home in the 28th minute. They doubled their lead 18 minutes from time when Yoann Gourcuff volleyed in a Ribéry cross.
Italy beat Slovenia 1-0 in Ljubljana with a Thiago Motta goal that stretched their lead at the top of Group C to six points. Motta struck his first international goal in his second Italy appearance after 73 minutes, firing into the corner from just inside the box.
The Netherlands hammered Hungary 4-0 in Budapest to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group E. Tottenham's Rafael van der Vaart opened the scoring after eight minutes when Wesley Sneijder set him up for a shot from 13 metres out that goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly could only tip into the left-hand corner.
Ibrahim Afellay added a second on the stroke of half-time before Robin van Persie set up Dirk Kuyt in the 54th minute for the third and then scored the fourth himself eight minutes later.
Police made more than 10 arrests and fired teargas at bottle-throwing Poland fans as the Euro 2012 co-hosts were beaten 2-0 by Lithuania in a friendly in Kaunas last night. Local media reported that a security guard was in a serious condition after being stabbed. They said riot police used teargas and dogs to control several hundred Polish supporters outside the Darius and Girenas stadium before and during the match.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'