England 2 Croatia 3 ( Wembley European qualifier )
On a soaking night at Wembley England waved goodbye to Euro 2008 losing 3-2 to Croatia. A Scott Carson goalkeeping error brought back memories of Zagreb as Nico Kranjcar's innocuous looking shot found the back of the net in the 8th minute. Two minutes later Shaun Wright-Phillips had his shot blocked by the Croatia keeper, and in the 14th minute Eduardo played a clever pass into the box for Olic who rounded the keeper and put England further behind. England waited until the second half to show any urgency and were rewarded with a penalty which Frank Lampard tucked away in the 56th minute. Wayne Bridge intercepted a Croatia attack sending the ball off the England crossbar in the 58th minute and Carson made an excellent reflex save from a point-blank Olic header which followed the ensuing corner kick. David Beckham delivered a perfect cross in the 65th minute for Peter Crouch to chest down and volley into the bottom corner for the all important England equaliser, but with 13 minutes away from qualification England allowed substitute Petric space and were punished with a left-foot shot from 25 yards. England's failure to qualify resulted in the sacking of their coach Steve McClaren.
Croatia celebrate Wembley win as dejected England crash out of Europe
Russia who had Andre Arshavin sent off late in their match in Andorra took advantage of England's shortcomings to qualify behind Croatia with a 1-0 win through a 39th minute Dmitri Sychev goal. Portugal did enough to qualify with a 0-0 draw at home to Finland, while Poland who had already qualified, let a 2 goal lead slip as they drew 2-2 in Serbia. Italy signed off with a 3-1 win over the Faroe Islands to finish ahead of France who drew 2-2 in Ukraine. A Steffen Iversen hat-trick helped Norway to a 4-1 victory in Malta, but a gaol from Nihat in Bosnia and Herzegovina was enough to see Turkey through at the expense of the Norwegians. Germany finished behind the Czech Republic after a goalless home draw against Wales as the Czechs won 2-0 in Cyprus. Northern Ireland's slim hopes were extinguished with a 1-0 deafet in Spain while Sweden claimed 2nd spot after a 2-1 home win against Latvia with Kim Källstrom scoring the winner after Jurijs Laizans had whiped out Marcus Allbäck's first minute goal. Romania topped their group with a 6-1 trouncing of Albania as the Netherlands were beaten 2-1 in Belarus. In South America's World Cup qualifiers Giancarlo Maldonado scored twice in the last minute adding to Daniel Arismendi's 2 goals and another from Alejandro Guerra as Venezuela came 3 times from behind in an exhilarating match in front of their home crowd to overcome Bolivia 5-3 after the visitors had taken the lead through Marcelo Martins (twice) and Carlos Arce. Lionel Messi responded to the early dismissal of Tevez with an individual goal for Argentina, but their unbeaten record came to an end when hosts Colombia replied with 2 goals in the second half. Peru suffered an embarrassing 5-1 defeat in Ecuador as Marlon Ayovi and Edison Mendez scored 2 apiece and Paulo da Silva also scored a double as Paraguay enjoyed a 3-0 win in Chile. Uruguay stunned Brazil with a 9th minute goal from Abreu, but Luis Fabiano hit back with 2 goals to give the hosts a 2-1 win