World Cup qualification round-up: Scotland take heart on Bosnia's night, while Chris Coleman boosts chances of remaining in job with draw in Belgium
Wednesday 16 October 2013
Scotland completed the double over Croatia to demonstrate the progress they have made under Gordon Strachan, as they finally picked up a home win in this World Cup qualifying campaign.
While Croatia rested a number of players with the play-offs in mind, the Scots still delighted Hampden with a 2-0 win that followed June's victory in Zagreb.
Robert Snodgrass got the winner that night and the Norwich midfielder set the ball rolling, nodding in Charlie Mulgrew's cross just before the half-hour. Steven Naismith made the game safe with 17 minutes to go, by netting the rebound after Barry Bannan's penalty was saved.
Chris Coleman picked up an encouraging draw in what might be his last game as Wales manager after a late Aaron Ramsey equaliser earned a 1-1 draw at already-qualified Belgium.
Coleman, who gave Harry Wilson his debut to make the 16-year-old Liverpool winger the youngest player to ever represent Wales, had seen his side show brave resistance in Brussels, but they looked to be falling to another defeat when Chelsea's Kevin de Bruyne seized on an error from James Wilson to fire Belgium ahead. But Ramsey was picked out by Craig Bellamy, on his 78th and final Wales appearance, and slid the ball under Thibaut Courtois to earn Wales a point.
A rare John O'Shea goal helped the Republic of Ireland clinch a 3-1 victory over Kazakhstan to round off a disappointing qualifying campaign.
The Sunderland defender struck for just the second time in 93 internationals with 26 minutes gone at the Aviva Stadium after captain Robbie Keane's penalty had cancelled out Dmitriy Shomko's 13th-minute long shot.Shomko's 77th-minute own goal then completed the scoring.
Northern Ireland avoided ending their campaign with four successive defeats when Steven Davis' powerful shot with 18 minutes to go earned a 1-1 draw with Israel in Tel Aviv. Michael O'Neill's side, showing six changes to the team beaten by Azerbaijan on Friday, had gone behind to a Eden Ben Basat header on the stroke of half time.
Bosnia-Herzegovina reached their first finals with a nervy 1-0 win in Lithuania to spark wild celebrations back in Sarajevo.
After several near-misses in the past, Bosnia seemed to be heading for another play-off as a packed Lithuanian defence frustrated the visitors before Stuttgart striker Vedad Ibisevic struck midway through the second half, sidefooting home from five yards. Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko said: "I wish to send my regards to Brazil and say that we will show how mighty Bosnia is."
Fabio Capello, who was in charge of England in South Africa three years ago, will also be in Brazil after his Russia side picked up the point they needed by scrapping a 1-1 draw with 10-man Azerbaijan.
Holders Spain confirmed their place with a 2-0 win over Georgia, Alvaro Negredo and Juan Mata scoring the goals that mean France are in the play-offs. Iceland are in their first play-offs after a 1-1 draw against Norway in Oslo proved good enough when Slovenia lost 1-0 to Switzerland, Granit Xhaka's stunning 25-yard shot ending their hopes.
Netherlands were too strong for Turkey in Istanbul, goals from Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder sealing a 2-0 win that confirmed Fatih Terim's side miss out on the play-offs.
André Schürrle scored a hat-trick as Germany, who had already qualified, stormed back from 2-0 down to beat Sweden 5-3.
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