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Germany thrash Liechtenstein, France fall to Austria
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14:23, September 07, 2008

Germany and Italy reaped victories on the road but France fell on Saturday when 24 European zone qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup took place.

Germay dismantled Liechtenstein's part-timers 6-0 in Vaduz. Lukas Podolski grabbed a pair of goals in the victory, which brought them to the top of Group 4, where hosts Wales handed Azerbaijan a 1-0 defeat.

Antonio Di Natale ensured Italy a late victory, scoring twice to cap a nervy 2-1 win over Cyprus in Larnaca. Di Natale's winner came two minutes into stoppage time to stand in second in Group 8 behind leaders Ireland who beat Georgia 2-1.

Ireland eased to victory in Georgia as Giovanni Trapattoni's team were ahead on 13 minutes through Reading striker Kevin Doyle, before Glenn Whelan made it 2-0 on 70 minutes. Levan Kenia did pullone back deep into injury time. Mentenegro tied with Bulgaria 2-2.

In Group 7, Austria handed France a wake-up call, winning 3-1 in Vienna. A Philippe Mexes own goal after eight minutes got things off all wrong for the visitors. Rene Aufhauser and Andreas Ivanschitz then added two more to seal the deal, making Sidney Govou's strike mere consolation.

Lithuania became leaders of Group 7 after shocking Romania 3-0 on the road through Marius Stankevicius, Saulius Mikoliunas and Mindaugas Kalanos while Serbia strolled past the Faroe Islands 2-0.Giant striker Nikola Zigic scored the insurance goal with two minutes left on the clock.

England did the job against Andorra on the road in Fabio Capello's first qualifier in charge. Chelsea's Joe Cole was the hero of the day, scoring two goals to seal the English a 2-0 win in a Group 6 play while Luka Modric scored as Croatia beat Kazakhstan 3-0 in Zagreb to head the group. Ukrainians managed a 1-0 win over Belarus.

Portugal eased past Malta on the road to lead Group 1 as Simao and Nani both scoring in a 4-0 win. The other two Group 1 matches all ended in goalless draws as Albania took one Sweden and Hungary faced Denmark.

Recently crowned European champions Spain labored to a 1-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Murcia in Saturday's last European qualifier. After missing a penalty in the first half, David Villa dusted himself off and slammed the winner home from an impossible angle in the 57th minute to move the Iberians to the top of Group 5.

Belgium managed to get the better of Estonia in Liege, but only just. The 3-2 win came by virtue of two goals from Wesley Sonck and one more from Steven Defour.

Turkey ran out 2-0 winners away, second-half goals from Tuncay Sanli and Semir Senturk undoing Armenia in another Group 5 match.

In Group 2, Greece, European champions from 2004, routed Luxembourg 3-0 on their own home soil. Vasileios Torosidis, Thefanis Gekas and Angelos Charisteas were all on target on an easy night for the visitors. Israel drew with Switzerland 2-2 and Moldova lost to Latvia 2-1 in the same group.

Slovakia defeated Northern Ireland 2-1 and Poland was forced to a 1-1 tie by Slovenia in Group 3.

Macedonia beat Scotland 1-0 and Norway drew Iceland 2-2 in Group 9.

Source: Xinhua

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