World Cup qualifying resumed in Europe on Friday with 24 matches that featured a combined 65 goals and six matches decided by three goals or more. Here are a look at the highlights from today's matches.
Russia 1, Portugal 0
Russia moves to the top of Group A despite being outshot 12-7 and with Portugal more than doubling the amount of completed passes with 466 to Russia’s 187. Cristiano Ronaldo was limited to 59 touches, seventh-most on Portugal and was fouled a game-high four times.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov provided the goal for Russia, his 22nd career international goal and third of this qualifying campaign.
England 5, San Marino 0
Wayne Rooney scored twice to move into fifth place all-time on the England scoring list with 31 goals, while Danny Welbeck recorded his first national team brace in England’s 5-0 drubbing of San Marino.
England’s dominant performance was led by their four Manchester United players (Wayne Rooney, Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick, Danny Welbeck). This combination finished with 441 touches, far more than San Marino’s entire team (350).
San Marino has lost its last six matches by a combined score of 34-2 and has been held scoreless in five of those matches.
Spain 4, Belarus 0
Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas extended his personal shutout streak to 698 minutes in Spain’s 4-0 win over Belarus.
Spain was keyed by Pedro, who recorded his first career hat trick for either club or country and recorded Spain’s first hat trick in a competitive match since Fernando Torres in the 2009 Confederations Cup against New Zealand.
Spain brought its usual dominant passing attack, completing 796 passes to Belarus’ 253. Three different Spanish players completed at least 100 passes: Xabi Alonso (106), Jordi Alba (101) and Xavi (100).
Germany 6, Ireland 1
Germany’s win today was its biggest since defeating Azerbaijan 6-1 in Euro qualifying on September 7, 2010 and it was keyed by its passing attack. The Germans completed nearly three times as many passes (705) as Ireland attempted (242) with a completion rate of 92.4.
Italy 3, Armenia 1
Osvaldo’s goal was his third of this qualifying campaign which leads the team. No one else has scored more than one.
De Rossi scored for the second time in three matches after going 18 matches since his last goal on Sept. 7, 2010 vs Faroe Islands in Euro qualifying.
Pirlo’s goal came on a penalty in the 11th minute, Italy’s first goal from a penalty kick since June 20, 2010 vs New Zealand in the World Cup.
Elsewhere in Europe
Netherlands defeated Andorra 3-0 to stay atop Group D. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored his 34th goal for Netherlands, moving fifth all-time on the team’s scoring list. Andorra completed only 44 passes in this match, seven Dutch players completed more than that alone.
Wales’ Gareth Bale scored twice in the last 10 minutes to defeat Scotland 2-1 and give Wales its first win of this qualifying campaign.
Israel defeated Luxembourg 6-0, its first time scoring six goals in a match since defeating Luxembourg 7-0 on September 9, 2009 in World Cup qualifying.