Albania

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Rakitic bags a brace to put Croatia back on track
Stuart Austen - 4 years ago

An Ivan Rakitic brace and further goals by Ivica Olic and Luka Modric helped Croatia return to winning ways against Andorra in Zagreb. Slaven Bilic's side had taken a blow to their morale in their Group Six humbling at the hands of England but last night's 4-0 win moved them into second place.

Scotland's qualification hopes were dealt a knock when the Group Nine leaders Holland maintained their 100% record with a 1-0 success in Norway. Mark van Bommel sealed the points. Elsewhere, Iceland secured their first win, 1-0 at home against Macedonia

Andrei Arshavin was on target in Russia's 3-0 win over Finland which took them past Wales into second place in Group Four behind Germany.

In Northern Ireland's group the Czech Republic claimed their first win, 1-0 over Slovenia, but Slovakia are the new leaders of Group Three after two late goals by Stanislav Sestak helped his side come from behind to beat Poland 2-1.

The Republic of Ireland's hopes were boosted when Bulgaria were held 0-0 in Georgia. Giovanni Trapattoni's side stay in touch with the Group Eight leaders Italy, 2-1 winners over Montenegro.

Portugal's chances remain in the balance after Carlos Queiroz's team were held to a surprise 0-0 draw at home by 10-man Albania. Hungary entered the Group One mix after beating Malta 1-0.

Spain preserved their perfect start, coming from behind to win 2-1 in Belgium, David Villa scored the winner for the European champions. Turkey moved second in Group Five after a goalless draw in Estonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Armenia 4-1.

The Group Two leaders Greece lost 2-1 at home to Switzerland but Israel failed to capitalise after being held 1-1 in Latvia. Yossi Benayoun, the Liverpool forward, had given Israel the lead. Luxembourg and Moldova drew 0-0.

Serbia and Lithuania are level at the top of Group Seven after respective wins over Austria and the Faroe Islands.

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