score football magazine

Crouch creates comfortable conclusion

England 3 Belarus 0 (Wembley 14 October 2009)
England ended their World Cup qualifying campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Belarus. After only 3 minutes Agbonlahor delivered a low cross for the long legs of Crouch to bundle over the line, but England failed to make their dominance count until the 58th minute introduction of David Beckham who immediately took a short corner finding Shaun Wright-Phillips who created himself space to drill the ball in from just outside the box. Belarus made promising moves from time to time coming close in the 64th minute when Foster brilliantly kept out a powerful effort from Omelyanchuk, but England sealed victory in the 76th minute when Carlton Cole's low shot was parried by Zhevnov and Peter Crouch poked in the rebound. James Milner came agonisingly close to making it 4 in the 87th minute when after some good work in the box his effort came off the inside of the post and was knocked out for a corner from which Beckham rolled the ball out off the other upright.

Peter Crouch
Crouch opens scoring for England

In other matches:

A 3rd minute own goal in Poland gave Slovakia the win they needed to qualify while Slovenia secured a play-off spot with an easy 3-0 win in San Marino, and Northern Ireland earned a 0-0 draw away to the Czech Republic. Portugal put 4 past Malta for a place in the play-offs ahead of Sweden, while Denmark who had already qualified from that group lost 1-0 at home to Hungary. A goalless draw against ten-man Israel in Basel gave Switzerland a place in South Africa, while Greece made the play-offs with a narrow 2-1 home win against ten-man Luxembourg . Germany who had already qualified needed a 90th minute Lukas Podolski goal to cancel out Jonatan Johansson's early strike and avoid defeat at home to Finland, while Russia who were already in the play-offs could only draw 1-1 in Azerbaijan. Alberto Gilardino scored a late hat-trick as Italy came from 2 goals down to win 3-2 in Cyprus and Demitar Berbatov also netted 3 in Bulgaria's 6-2 demolition of Georgia. Belgium suffered a 2-0 defeat in Estonia and World Cup team Serbia lost 2-1 in Lithuania.

The South American group reached its conclusion with Argentina scoring a late goal in Uruguay to claim a place in the finals and send their hosts into the play-offs against Costa Rica who were leading 2-0 in America but conceded an equaliser 5 minutes into stoppage time to be denied an automatic place in the finals as 3rd team which went to Honduras who were victorious by a single goal in El Salvador.
Shinji Okazaki scored a hat-trick as Japan destroyed Togo 5-0 among a handful of friendly matches played in other parts of the world.

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