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Euro 2012 Qualifiers Round-up Group E - I: Hungary beat Sweden with dramatic injury time goal whilst Norway leave it late to overcome Iceland

Greece extended their lead atop Group F with a narrow win over fellow hopefuls Israel, while their were wins for Croatia, Hungary and Norway as they aim for the finals next year

 Euro 2012 Qualifiers: Group E - I

Tables

GROUP E
          
GROUP F
          
Hungary - Sweden
1-1  
 Israel - Greece
 0-1 
 Finland - Moldova 4-1
Georgia - Latvia
 0-1
 
Malta - Croatia  1-3
GROUP G

GROUP H

Bulgaria - England
 0-3
 Norway - Iceland 1-0
Wales - Montengro
 2-1



 
 
                GROUP I
    
    Lithuania - Liechtenstein  0-0   
 

GROUP E | Hungary 2-1 Sweden
Hungary scored an injury time winner to move level on points with Sweden in second place behind the Netherlands.

The hosts opened the scoring in the first half through Imre Szabics, who got the better of Andreas Isaksson with a well-taken goal, but they were pegged back in the second half as they tried to hold on to their slender lead.

Sweden punished their opposition's defensive approach on the hour mark when Christian Wilhemsson skilfully turned the ball home to level the game. The Scandinavians finished the stronger of the two but they were made to pay for their mistakes when Rudolf Gergely scored a dramatic injury time winner to give Hungary all three points.

The Magyars move level on points with Sweden following Gergely's dramatic late goal but they remain behind Erik Hamren's side because of a weaker head-to-head. Sweden still have the table toppers the Netherlands to come leaving Hungary with the realistic prospect of qualifying for Euro 2012.


GROUP E | Finland 4-1 Moldova
Finland kept alive their slim hopes of qualifying from Group E with a resounding 4-1 victory against Moldova.

A brace from Kasper Hamalainen gave the Finns a deserved two-goal lead at the end of the first-half, which they extended soon after the break. Mikeal Forssell coverted a penalty kick after he had been felled; the scoreline worsened for Moldova in the 70th minute when Igor Armas could only put the ball into his own net.

Serghei Alexeev's late goal proved nothing more than a consolation goal as Moldova were resigned to leaving Helsinki empty-handed and, ultimately, on the brink of elimination as they lie nine points behind the qualification places with three games to go.

Finland face the Netherlands and Sweden in their next two games, and they will have to secure all six points if they are to have any chance of making the finals in Ukraine & Poland next year.
 

GROUP F | Israel 0-1 Greece
Greece managed to extend their lead at the top of Group F with a hard-fought victory in Tel-Aviv by a solitary goal.

There was a fiery feel to the game from the off as a total of ten yellow cards were shown, but despite several chances for the referee to produce the red card the contest remained 11 v 11 until the full-time whistle.

The only goal came midway through the second-half when Panathinaikos’ midfielder Sotiris Ninis beat Dudu Aouate with a well-taken shot, cementing Greece’s place at the summit of Group F, four points clear of Israel, and making Fernando Santos’ team favourites to qualify from the group.

Israel’s position is precarious, as having played a game more than their rivals, are three points behind Croatia, who they play in a campaign defining match next Tuesday.


GROUP F | Georgia 0-1 Latvia
Latvia secured their first win away from home during the current qualifying campaign with a tight 1-0 victory over Georgia.

Aleksandrs Cauna’s 65th minute strike proved the difference between the two sides as Georgia succumbed to their first defeat at home in the qualifying programme despite managing seven shots on target.

Latvia are unlikely to qualify for the finals next year despite the victory, as they still find themselves ten points adrift of top spot, whilst Georgia must win all of their remaining matches if they are to have a chance of qualifying.


GROUP F | Malta 1-3 Croatia
Croatia kept the pressure on Greece at the top of Group F with a 3-1 victory over pointless Malta.

Ognjen Vukojevic opened the scoring just 12 minutes into the game with a well-taken finish before Milan Badelj took advantage of hesitancy in the Maltese defence to double Croatia’s lead.

Michael Mifsud dragged his side back into it six minutes before half-time, as the host scored just their third goal of their qualifying campaign. Croatia were put under pressure when the two teams emerged for the second half until Dejan Lovren scored from a corner kick to inflict Malta’s sixth consecutive defeat.

Following Greece’s narrow victory over Israel this became a must-win tie for Croatia, who remain a point behind the Greeks with a trip to Athens still to come for Slaven Bilic’s side. Malta meanwhile will hope to leave the exclusive club of “zero points” before the end of the campaign, having suffered defeat in each of their matches so far.


GROUP H | Norway 1-0 Iceland
Norwary narrowly defeated bottom of the table Iceland thanks to an 89th minute spot-kick after the away side had appeared to steal a point from Oslo.

Iceland had fought valiantly until the 89th minute when John Carew was felled by Stefan Magnusson gifting Mohammed Abdellaoue the chance to score from the spot and break Icelandic hearts. The Norway striker hammered the ball beyond the guilty ‘keeper to move to 13 points at the top of the table.

With three teams locked on ten points before the round of matches Norway knew that had to overcome the challenge of Iceland; the win will maintain the pressure on Denmark and Portugal – who beat Cyprus - to move alongside Norway as the joint-leaders of the group.


GROUP I | Lithuania 0-0 Liechtenstein
Both teams’ faint hopes of qualifying from Group I diminished further in Kaunas after neither side managed to score the vital goal that would have lifted them to within touching distance of the top two.

Lithuania, who seemed the more likely to take all three points, saw their chances disappear when they were reduced to ten men after Edgaras Cesnauskis’ rash challenge on Martin Buchel resulted in the midfielder being shown a straight red. The away side had much of the play in the remaining 30 minutes but were unable to beat Zydrunas Karcemarskas, who was in a determined mood.

The point a piece leaves Liechtenstein rooted to the bottom of Group I, whilst Lithuania climb above Scotland into fourth place but have played two games more than Craig Levein’s side, who take on the Czech Republic on Saturday.


 Netherlands - San Marino

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