The first evening of qualifying matches for the 2014 world cup in Brazil went through without any major surprises, as England cruised to victory in Moldova, France struggled but came away with a win in Finland, Germany had no problems against the Faroe Islands and the Netherlands won a tough one at home against Turkey.
Croatia 1 Macedonia 0 - Croatia began the new era under Igor Stimac with a hard earned home win in a match with both teams struggling to create any chances. Nikica Jelavic scored the only goal of the match after 68 minutes with a header of Ivan Persic’s cross.
Wales 0 Belgium 2 - A nice start for Belgium’s golden generation in Cardiff, playing a fantastic match in what could have ended in a much highest scoreline. Despite all the offensive firepower, Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen did the scoring job.
Malta 0 Armenia 1 – Artur Sarkisov scored the only goal after 70 minutes.
Bulgaria 2 Italy 2 - Italy were outplayed by the hosts all match long, giving up on possession and playing too slow to effectively counter with their long balls to Osvaldo and Giovinco, who aren’t really built for this kind of style. Stanislav Manolev scored the opener for the hosts after 30 minutes, but a three minutes double from Osvaldo gave Italy an undeserved lead. Georgi Milanov set things straight after 67 minutes connecting with a cross.
Kazakhstan 1 Ireland 2 - A close call for Ireland against a Kazakh team with only two players who do their job outside of the nation. Kairat Nurdauletov scored for the home side who put up quite a performance during the first half, but two late goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle prevented the embarrassing defeat.
Germany 3 Faroe Islands 0 – Many thoughts it will end up with a much higher scoreline, but the Germans faced a stubborn Faroes Islands side and a good day from keeper Gunnar Nielsen. Mario Gotze and a brace from Mesut Ozil scored for the home side.
Estonia 0 Romania 2 – Estonia hardly came to play, more to disrupt, but two goals from Gabriel Torje and Ciprian Marica gave the visitors a very hard earned but important victory in a tough ground to play on.
Andorra 0 Hungary 5 - Roland Juhasz, Zoltan Gera, Adam Szalai, Tamas Priskin and Vladimir Koman scored in an easy win for the Hungarians.
Netherlands 2 Turkey 0 – The second van Gaal era began with a very tough win against a Turkish side that weren’t afraid to play their football in Amsterdam, creating more chances than the home side. Robin van Persie struck first after 16 minutes; Luciano Narsingh closed out the match in injury time.
Albania 3 Cyprus 1 – Armando Sadiku, Edgar Cani and Erjon Bogdani scored for the home side in an impressive win; Vincent Laban scored for Cyprus.
Slovenia 0 Switzerland 2 – A big start for the favorites to win the group, winning what should be their toughest away match. Granit Xhaka and Gokhan Inler scored.
Iceland 2 Norway 0 - A big start for a team that will be very hard to beat at home and away, coming through with goals from Kari Arnason and Alfred Finnbogason.
Russia 2 Northern Ireland 0 – Fabio Capello enjoyed his debut as Russia’s head coach, with the home side coming through with goals from Viktor Faizulin and a penalty from Roman Shirokov.
Azerbaijan 1 Israel 1 - Bebars Natcho scored the opener for the visitors but Ruslan Abbasov gave the home side the equalizer in a rather surprising result, with Israel very disappointed not to come away with a win from Baku.
Luxembourg 1 Portgual 2 - Portugal never find it easy to make it through the qualifiers, and an early goal from Daniel Da Mota Alves for the home sides made noises of an upset. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Helder Postiga set things straight.
Liechtenstein 1 Bosnia 8 - Mathias Christen scored Liechtenstein’s only goal; Edin Dzeko had a hat trick, and so did Vedad Ibisevic. Zvejzdan Misimovic grabbed a brace.
Lithuania 1 Slovakia 1 - Marius Zaliukas scored for the home side, Marek Sapara equalized.
Latvia 1 Greece 2 – A tough ground to win at didn’t make it easy for the Greeks, as Aleksandrs Cauna put the home side in front just before the half. Nikos Spyropoulos and Theofanis Gekas won it for Greece.
Montenegro 2 Poland 2 – Kuba opened the scoring for Poland after 5 minutes. Two goals from Nikola Drincic and Mirko Vucinic gave the home side just before half time. Adrian Mierzejewski saved Poland a point, connecting with a cross.
Moldova 0 England 5 - A comfortable start for Roy Hodgson’s first qualifying campaign, with a Frank Lampard opening brace, followed by goals from Jermaine Defoe, James Milner and Leighton Baines.
Georgia 1 Belarus 0 - Tornike Okriashvili scored the only goal of the match.
Finland 0 France 1 - A rough start for the French and Didier Deschamps, creating only two shots on goal all match, lucky enough to have Abou Diaby”s shot slip in after 20 minutes, holding on for the win.