England, Germany, Netherlands Win Opening World Cup Qualifiers
England beat Moldova 5-0, while Germany and the Netherlands both won at home, as European qualifying for the 2014 soccer World Cup began.
Frank Lampard scored twice as England won in Group 8. Germany beat the Faroe Islands 3-0 in Group 3 and the Netherlands defeated Turkey 2-0 in Group 4.
The top teams from each of the nine European groups qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, with the best eight runners-up going into a playoff for the remaining four slots.
Poland and Montenegro drew 2-2 in the other group match, with each team having a player ejected.
Mesut Ozil scored twice to lead Germany over the Faroe Islands in Hannover. Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle scored in the final three minutes to give Ireland a 2-1 win in Kazakhstan in the other Group 3 game.
Goals from Robin van Persie and Luciano Narsingh carried the Netherlands, runner-up to Spain in 2010, past Turkey in Amsterdam. Hungary beat Andorra 5-0 and Romania won 2-0 in Estonia in the other Group 4 matches.
Belgium beat Wales 2-0 in Group 1, as Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen scored after James Collins was red-carded in the first half, and Croatia defeated Macedonia 1-0.
Bulgaria got a 2-2 home tie with Italy in Group 2 on Georgia Milanov’s 65th minute goal and Armenia beat Malta 1-0. Switzerland beat Slovenia 2-0, Albania defeated Cyprus 3-1 and Iceland beat Norway 2-0 in Group 5.
In Group 6, Portugal rallied to beat Luxembourg 2-1 on goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Helder Postiga; Israel and Azerbaijan tied 1-1; and Russia, under new manager Fabio Capello, beat Northern Ireland 2-0.
Edin Dzeko and Veedad Ibisevic each scored three goals as Bosnia-Herzegovina defeated Liechtenstein 8-1 in Group 7. Greece beat Latvia 2-1, and Lithuania and Slovakia both finished with 10 men in a 1-1 tie.
Abou Diaby’s first-half goal carried France over Finland 1- 0 in Group 9, while Georgia beat Belarus 1-0.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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