WORLD CUP REPORT: Europe – Group D

Europe GroupD

groupDtable

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Andorra 0

Turkey 2 (Inan 30, Yilmaz 45)

Turkey breathed life into their faltering qualifying campaign but were made to work hard for a 2-0 victory away to Andorra. Abdullah Avcı’s side initially struggled to find a way through their resilient hosts but Selçuk İnan’s 30th-minute free-kick was unstoppable, finding the top-right corner from 25 metres. Galatasaray club-mate Burak Yılmaz doubled the lead in first half added time, rifling in from an acute angle; from then on it was damage limitation for the hosts.

It earned a welcome triumph for a Turkey side who had been four games without a win, friendlies included. They have endured a disappointing start to Group D too, picking up just three points from their opening four games, but Selçuk and Burak have revived hope. The visitors could not add to their lead with Andorra content to soak up the pressure, ending the game without a shot on target, point-less in the section, but with pride intact.

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Netherlands 3 (van der Vaart 47, van Persie 72, Schaken 84)

Estonia 0

Holland made it five wins out of five qualifiers on Friday after goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Robin van Persie helped secure a comfortable 3-0 victory over Estonia. Substitute Van der Vaart opened the scoring with the Netherlands’ first move of the second half, controlling a pass from Daryl Janmaat before lashing a shot into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the box.

Van Persie added a second goal after 72 minutes, firing home from close range after another pass by Janmaat, before Ruben Schaken scored the third in the 83rd. The Netherlands remains top of Group D, with a perfect record of 15 points from five games, five points ahead of Hungary and Romania. The last time the Oranje lost a World Cup qualifier was in 2001.

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Hungary 2 (Vanczak 16, Dzsudzsak 71P)

Romania 2 (Mutu 68P, Chipciu 90)

With a goal in injury time, Romania’s 89th minute substitute Alexandru Chipciu has kept his team neck and neck with Hungary. The match finished a draw, with Adrian Mutu also scoring for Romania, leaving both teams on 10 points.

The teams started brightly with shots at both ends within 10 minutes, but it was Hungary that got the break through quarter of an hour into the match. Romania’s Vlad Chiriches’ hand ball gave away a free kick and Hungary capitalized, with the set piece setting up Vilmos Vanczak, who scored off a header to put the home team 1 – 0 ahead.

Romania looked hungry as the second half got underway, Mutu again looked lively and after earlier having a shot saved, he was brought down by Zsolt Korcsmár, winning Romania a penalty after 20 minutes of play in the second half. Mutu took the penalty himself and duly leveled the score. But just a few minutes later Dorin Goian fouled Zsolt Korcsmár giving Hungary a penalty. Balázs Dzsudzsák took the penalty and Hungary went ahead again. The game started to look scrappier in the final 20 minutes, with both teams conceding a number of free kicks.

Despite Romania’s efforts, no breakthrough came and as the game went into the final five minutes, it looked like being Hungary’s night. Alexandru Chipciu was brought on with just a minute left, replacing Mihai Pintilii, who’d had a quieter second half. It proved to be a match saving change; Adrian Mutu won a free kick, his shot was stopped, but Chipciu found a way through, beating Hungary’s keeper Gabor Kiraly with a strike to the bottom right corner.

WillBurns

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