Russia Qualifies For World Cup With Draw
England, Spain, Bosnia, Russia qualify for World Cup; Greece, Portugal in playoffs
“With such a strong opponent as Portugal in our group, we grabbed the top place.” Capello still had some concerns, saying it was the third time that Russia conceded a goal in the last minute. “We should look ahead and improve our game,” he said. Portugal also had to go through the playoffs to qualify for its last two major tournaments, the 2012 European Championship and 2010 World Cup. It was a semifinalist at Euro 2012. The Portuguese have been dogged by inconsistency. They have won just eight of their 16 qualifiers and friendly games since Euro 2012. Their qualifying campaign was spoiled by a 1-1 home draw against Northern Ireland and two draws against Israel. Portugal, playing without suspended Cristiano Ronaldo in Coimbra, struggled to find a way through the Luxembourg defense until Aurelien Joachim was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Andre Almeida in the 28th. Two minutes later, Joao Moutinho set up Silvestre Varela for his fourth international goal. Nani made it 2-0 in the 36th after Moutinho set him up with a neat backheel. Helder Postiga made it 3-0 in the 78th, making him the top scorer in qualifying with six goals.
Bosnia (8-1-1) won 1-0 at Lithuania on Vedad Ibisevics 68th-minute goal to win Group G on goal difference over Greece. Bosnia-Herzegovina gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1992. Almost 10,000 fans jumped, cried and screamed Vamos Bosnia or Go Bosnia when Ibisevic scored in Kaunas. Fans headed to the airport after the game to wait for their team to arrive in the middle of the night and join the party. Greece (8-1-1) defeated visiting Liechtenstein 2-0 as Dimitris Salpingidis scored in the seventh minute and Giorgos Karagounis added a goal in the 81st. Russia (7-2-1) won Group F with a 1-1 tie at Azerbaijan as Roman Shirokov scored in the 15th. Portugal (6-1-3) finished a point back after defeating visiting Luxembourg 3-0 on goals by Silvestre Varela, Nani and Helder Postiga. Italy, which already had clinched, tied Armenia 2-2 at Naples. Former Real Salt Lake forward Yura Movsisyan scored in the fourth minute for the visitors. Alessandro Florenzi and Mario Balotelli scored for the Azzurri, and Giueseppe Rossi entered in the 73rd minute for his first international appearance since Oct. 7, 2011. A 26-year-old forward who was born and lives in New Jersey, Rossi had been sidelined until last May by a knee injury late that October, which required three operations. After clinching last week, Germany rallied for a 5-3 win at Sweden as Andre Schuerrle had a second-half hat trick following goals by Mesut Ozil and Mario Goetze. Later Tuesday, Ecuador, Chile and Uruguay competed for South Americas final two automatic berths, with Uruguay and Venezuala having a chance to finish fifth which earns a playoff against Jordan.