• Alexander Kerzhakov scores in win for Fabio Capello's team
• Zlatan Ibrahimovic rescues Sweden against Faroe Islands
Alexander Kerzhakov scored an early goal as Russia beat Portugal 1-0 in Moscow to earn their third consecutive win of their World Cup qualifying campaign under Fabio Capello.
Kerzhakov broke clear on goal in the sixth minute following some quick one-touch passing featuring his Zenit St Petersburg team-mates Viktor Faizulin and Roman Shirokov. It was the striker's third goal in the three qualifiers so far.
"Today I saw a Russian team that played with huge desire, huge commitment," said Capello, whose first competitive match in charge of Russia saw them beat Israel 4-0 last month. "Nevertheless, it was a tough match." Russia now lead Group F with nine points after their first victory over Portugal, with Paulo Bento's side second on six points. In the other match in the group, Israel beat Luxembourg 6-0.
In Group H, Moldova and Ukraine, fresh from both facing England last month, played out a goalless draw in Chisinau, while in Group A, Belgium recorded a 3-0 win away to Serbia and Croatia beat Macedonia 2-1 in Skopje.
In Group C Sweden were spared an embarrassing defeat by Faroe Islands after coming from a goal down to win 2-1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic bundled home the winner on 75 minutes after Fulham's Alexander Kacaniklic cancelled out Rogvi Baldvinsson's 57th-minuteopener.
Also in Group C, which contains Republic of Ireland and Germany, Austria drew 0-0 away to Kazakhstan.
In Group B two second-half goals and a late penalty save from Petr Cech allowed Czech Republic to beat bottom-placed Malta 3-1 in Pizen for their first win of this qualifying campaign.
The hosts took the lead with a Theodor Gebre Selassie header in the 34th minute but Malta struck back four minutes later when Roderick Briffa capitalised on a defensive lapse.
The Czechs started the second half with more urgency and were rewarded when Tomas Pekhart directed in Petr Jiracek's cross. Jan Rezek made it 3-1 in the 67th minute before Cech saved a penalty from Michael Mifsud from the last kick of the match.
In the same group Italy maintained their grip on top spot by beating Armenia 3-1 in Yerevan. The Euro 2012 runners-up took the lead via an 11th-minute penalty from Andrea Pirlo before the hosts secured a shock equaliser through Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
But Italy were not to be denied andscored twice after the break, through Daniele De Rossi on 64 minutes and Pablo Osvaldo on 82 minutes. Also in Group B, Bulgaria drew 1-1 with Denmark.
Elsewhere, world and European champions Spain recorded a 4-0 win away to Belarus thanks, in part, to a hat-trick from Pedro. Also in Group I, Finland drew 1-1 with Georgia, while in Group E, a goal from Tottenham's Gylfi Sigurdsson helpled Iceland to a 2-1 victory over Albania. In the same group, Switzerland drew 1-1 with Norway while Slovenia beat Cyprus 2-1.
In Group D, Holland beat Andorra 3-0 thanks to goals from Rafael Van der Vaart, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ruben Schaken. They are level on nine points with Romania, who recorded a 1-0 victory away to Turkey thanks to a goal from Gheorghe Grozav. In the group's other game, Hungary beat Estonia 1-0.
Finally, there are now three teams level on seven points in Group G after Bosnia-Herzgovina drew 0-0 with Greece and Slovakia beat Latvia 2-1 in Bratislava. In the same group, Lithuania won 2-0 away at Liechtenstein.