Oct 16, 2012, 8:37 PM EDT
Comebacks in Madrid and Berlin will steal headlines, but when you have a 53-nation confederation, there are going to be a ton of matches to touch on:
Elsewhere in Europe
- England’s match in Poland was postponed until Wednesday because of torrential rain that flooded the field in the hours before the game.
- After Friday’s huge win over Portugal, Russia had to rely on a late spot kick from Roman Shirokov to get by minnows Azerbaijan, 1-0.
- In what is likely Giovanni Trapattoni’s final game, Ireland downed the Faroe Islands, 4-1.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina stay at the top of their group, their 3-0 home win over Lithuania hinting the team have solved the lack of consistency that plagued them in previous cycles.
- In the same group, Greece recovered from their home draw with Bosnia to post a 1-0 win in Slovakia. Dimitris Salpingidis had the match’s only goal.
- Ukraine continued to put their draw at Wembley behind then with a 1-0 home loss to Montenegro.
- Romania suffered their first defeat of the tournament, losing 4-1 at home to a Netherlands side that quietly went back to their dreaded two defensive midfielder setup.
- Turkey’s disappointing campaign continued. Four days after a shock home loss to Romania, Abdullah Avci’s team fell 3-1 in Hungary. How much longer will it be his team?
- Belgium stayed golden. Second half goals from Christian Benteke and Vincent Kompany gave the Red Devils a 2-0 win over Scotland.
- Croatia, in the same group as the Belgians, kept pace with their own 2-0 home win over Wales.
- A late goal from Hélder Postiga salvaged a 1-1 for Portugal against visiting Northern Ireland.
- And finally, an eventful day for Italy. First half goals four minutes apart from Ricardo Montolivo and Daniele de Rossi gave the Azzurri a 2-0 lead over Denmark. When William Kvist made it 2-1, the score started to fall in line with the play. When (in the 46th minute) Pablo Osvaldo volunteered to sit out the second half by throwing an elbow, Denmark seemed to have their window of opportunity. Mario Balotelli, however, closed that, putting home an nice ball from Andrea Pirlo to give Italy a 3-1 win.
How they stand
In, if the tournament ended now:
G: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Would qualify for the playoffs:
- Simeone praises Klinsmann’s US program that “seduces us as coaches” 2
- Neymar’s recovery from World Cup back injury “almost 100 percent” 0
- Reports: Jermaine Jones coming to Chicago, move welcomed by Fire 1
- Atlético Madrid latest club linked with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández 4
- Romelu Lukaku completes permanent, $47 million move to Everton 11
- Report: US to play friendly vs. Colombia in San Antonio 1