EURO 2008 Qualifying Round-Up

Setanta Sports England’s attempt to qualify for EURO 2008 ended in abject disappointment on Wednesday evening when they went down 3-2 to Croatia at Wembley Stadium in London. Having been gifted a lifeline by Israel’s win over Russia on Saturday, Steve McClaren’s side showed a glimmer of fight to come back from two goals down to level the score at 2-2 thanks to a penalty from Frank Lampard and well-taken Peter Crouch effort. A howler from Scott Carson and a slack offside trap saw Croatia go 2-0 up inside the opening quarter of an hour, and substitute Mladen Petric’s late strike sealed a famous win for Slaven Bilic’s side, as one of world soccer’s big nations have missed out on appearing in a major finals next summer. With co-hosts Austria and Switzerland already qualified - Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and European champions Greece will make up the 16-nation field next June. EURO 2008 qualifying - Group A Portugal booked their spot in the finals thanks to a 0-0 draw with Finland. Cristiano Ronaldo was on top form, as his side somehow failed to score. They join already-qualified Poland, who drew 2-2 with Serbia, as the top two from Group A. Group B Italy and France had already secured their places before Wednesday evening's games. Italy ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over Faroe Islands, while France were involved in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Ukraine in Kiev. Group C Turkey beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0 to edge out Norway in Group C by a point. The Norwegians beat Malta 4-1, with a hat-trick from Steffen Iversen, but it proved a fruitless result for the Scandinavians. Greece, who had already secured top spot in the group, beat Hungary 2-1. Group D Germany were held 0-0 by a courageous Wales side in Frankfurt, but the result mattered little, as Joachim Low's side had already qualified alongside Czech Republic from Group D. Group E England's 3-2 demise at the hands of already-qualified Croatia, coupled with Russia's 1-0 win in Andorra, saw Steve McClaren's side lose out and Guus Hiddink's squad progress to the finals in dramatic fashion. Group F Sweden's 2-1 win over Latvia meant that Northern Ireland's 1-0 defeat in Spain did not matter. Nigel Worthington's men were brave in defeat, but were ultimately outclassed in Las Palmas on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. Group G Romania took top spot with a 6-1 win over Albania, while Marco van Basten's Holland side were defeated 2-0 by Belarus in Minsk. The Dutch, however, still took second spot after already booking their place before Wednesday’s final qualifying game. Click here to see the final EURO 2008 qualifying tables.

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