Russia keep heat on Germany; England nearly there (Lead)

June 11th, 2009 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Hamburg, June 11 (DPA) Russia moved to within a point of Germany after a 3-0 win over Finland, while England and already-qualified Netherlands continued their winning runs in World Cup qualifiers.
Two goals from Alexander Kershakov in the 26th and 54th minutes and a third from Konstantin Zyrianov in the 73rd gave Russia a decisive victory over Finland in a Group 4 match in Helsinki Wednesday.

Guus Hiddink’s side moves to 15 points, one behind Germany, who will be visitors to Moscow, Oct 10. Finland, who play Germany in Hamburg four days earlier, stay on 10 points.

England breezed to a 6-0 win over minnows Andorra for a maximum seven straight victories - one more from the final three games would secure top spot and automatic qualification.

Serbia also moved closer to qualification with a 2-0 away win over the Faroe Island.

Ukraine meanwhile came from behind to beat Kazakhstan 2-1 to stay in contention while Sweden downed Malta 4-0 for a much-needed fillip.

In Group 6, Ukraine were stunned by a 19th-minute goal from Tanat Nuserbaev against visiting Kazakhstan in Kiev, but midfielder Serhiy Nazarenko levelled in the 33rd and notched the winner three minutes after the break.

The win puts Ukraine level on 11 points with Croatia, but 10 points behind leaders England who had little trouble against Andorra at Wembley.

Two first-half goals from Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard were followed in the second period by a quick brace from Jermaine Defoe and a further strike from Peter Crouch.

Ukraine, Croatia and Belarus, who are on nine points, now appear to be in a three-way race for second place to go into the play-offs for a place at next year’s tournament in South Africa.

Sweden moved to nine points, level with Portugal in Group 1, thanks to their victory over Malta in Gothenburg, but are still four points adrift of Hungary and seven points behind leaders Denmark.

Kim Kallstrom opened the Swedes’ account in the 22nd minute, and three goals followed in a six-minute spell in the second half through Daniel Majstorovic (52), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (56) and Marcus Berg (58).

Serbia took a major step towards qualification with a 2-0 away victory against the Faroe Islands in a Group 7 match in Torshavn.

Milan Jovanovic shortly before half-time and Neven Subotic mid-way through the second half settled it for Serbia who are now eight points clear of France, who have two games in hand and must visit Serbia in September.

In a Group 9 match in Skopje, Macedonia defeated Iceland 2-1 to pull level on seven points with second-placed Scotland, who have a game in hand.

The Dutch, already qualified, moved on to a maximum 21 points with a 2-0 win over struggling Norway in Rotterdam thanks to goals in each half from Andre Ooijer and Arjev Robben.

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