Euro 2012 qualifying wrap: Germany triumph, France held

Germany took a stranglehold on Group A of Euro 2012 qualifying with a 2-1 win over Austria on Friday, as Belgium drew 1-1 with Turkey.A brace from Bayern Munich forward Mario Gomez – the second of which was an 89th-minute winner – secured the points for Joachim Loew’s side at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna on Friday.

Hosts Austria had pulled level through an Arne Friedrich own-goal four minutes into the second half, but they were rendered helpless by Gomez’s late header.

The win sends Germany seven points clear at the top of Group A, with a game in hand over second-placed Belgium.

Defeat puts a further dent in Austria’s already slim hopes of qualifying, but Turkey will take heart from their draw in Brussels.

Home side Belgium took an early lead through Racing Genk striker Marvin Ogunjimi just four minutes in at the Stade Roi Baudouin, before Turkey levelled through Trabzonspor forward Burak Yilmaz.

Belgium should have taken all three points, but Standard Liege midfielder Axel Witsel missed a 75th-minute penalty.

The valuable away point sees third-placed Turkey remain just one point behind Belgium.

And with a game in hand over their immediate rivals, Guus Hiddink’s side remain in with a chance of securing second place and a chance to qualify via the playoffs.

Elsewhere on Friday, France were held to a 1-1 draw away to Belarus.

Laurent Blanc’s visitors trailed after Eric Abidal put through his own net and they needed an equaliser from Chelsea forward Florent Malouda to secure a point.

The draw keeps Group D leaders France four points clear of second-placed Belarus.

Also in Group D, Romania moved third with a 3-0 win at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Italy stayed five points ahead of Slovenia at the top of Group C after a 3-0 win over Estonia.

Strikers Giuseppe Rossi, Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini were all on target in the victory for Cesare Prandelli’s side at Stadio Alberto Braglia.

Slovenia kept pace with the leaders after beating the Faroe Islands 2-0 away from home, despite playing with 10 men for over an hour of the match following Marko Suler’s 25th-minute red card.

Striker Johan Elmander struck a brace as Sweden managed a comprehensive 4-1 win over Moldova, but they remain six points back from Group E leaders the Netherlands.

Croatia regained the lead from Greece in Group F after coming from behind to beat Georgia 2-1 at home.

Sergei Gridin’s brace gave Kazakhstan their first win in Group A, 2-1 at home to Azerbaijan.

And finally, Liechtenstein secured a rare competitive victory – their first since October 2007 – beating Lithuania 2-0 in Group I.

 


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