World Cup qualifying wrap: Dutch crush Romania, Russia win again
By Football News
The Netherlands maintained their perfect World Cup 2014 qualification record with a 4-1 win in Romania on Tuesday.
A thrilling first half saw Jeremain Lens and Bruno Martins Indi put the visitors two goals ahead in the opening half hour, before a brilliant solo effort from Ciprian Marica pulled the hosts back into the tie.
However, the Dutch would take a two-goal lead into the interval with Rafael van der Vaart converting from the spot in added time.
And a late strike from Manchester United striker Robin van Persie sealed the victory and handed Romania their first qualifying defeat.
Elsewhere in Group D, Hungary recovered from a goal down as they overcame Turkey 3-1, while Estonia secured a 1-0 win in Andorra.
An 84th minute penalty from Roman Shirokov gave table-topping Russia a 1-0 victory over a resilient Azerbaijan outfit.
The result, which saw Fabio Capello's men keep a fourth successive clean sheet, preserves Russia's 100 percent record in the first round of qualifying.
Russia remains five points clear in Group F following Israel's comfortable 3-0 win against Luxembourg, while Northern Ireland held a sluggish Portuguese side to a 1-1 draw as Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 100th cap for the national team.
In Group A, Macedonia stunned 10-man Serbia courtesy of a 59th minute penalty from Agim Ibraimi.
Macedonia, who had managed two defeats and a draw in three games, moved level with Serbia on four points after four games.
Belgium and Croatia continue to set the pace in that group after the two nations recorded 2-0 victories over Scotland and Wales respectively.
First-half goals from Vedad Ibisevic, Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic were enough for Bosnia-Herzegovina to see off Lithuania and consolidate their position atop of Group G.
The Bosnians lead the group on goal difference after European Championship quarter-finalists Greece edged Slovakia 1-0, while Latvia claimed a 2-0 win against Liechtenstein in the battle of the cellar-dwellers.
Ireland bounced back from their 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany with a 4-1 rout of minnows Faroe Islands and fellow Group C opponents Austria secured their first win of qualifying after cruising to a 4-0 victory over Kazakhstan.
In Group E, Switzerland stayed top following two second-half goals from Tranquillo Barnetta and Mario Gavranovic.
Switzerland remain three points ahead of Norway who claimed a 3-1 win in Cyprus, while Albania defeated Slovenia by a solitary goal.
Montenegro earned their second win in three Group H games with a narrow 1-0 victory in Ukraine as Moldova handed lowly San Marino their third consecutive defeat.
In other results, Group B opponents Czech Republic and Bulgaria played out a goalless draw, while Belarus registered a 2-0 win against Georgia in Group I action.