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Clockwatch: Euro 2008 qualifiers
Croatia 2-0 England
Northern Ireland 1-0 Latvia Republic of Ireland 1-1 Czech Republic Ukraine 2-0 Scotland Wales 3-1 Cyprus


By Charlie Henderson

  • Highlights of the Northern Ireland game will be on Match of the Day on BBC One at 2240 BST, when you can also catch the action from the England and Scotland defeats.

    2153: FULL-TIME Northern Ireland 1-0 Latvia
    And there goes the final whistle in Belfast to wrap up the action. The win means Northern Ireland stay third in Group F level on seven points with Denmark, who beat Liechtenstein earlier. Sweden lead the way after beating Iceland for their fourth successive victory.

    2152: FULL-TIME Wales 3-1 Cyprus
    That is it in Cardiff. A first win and the first points for Wales in Group D which is enough to see them leapfrog the Republic of Ireland and join Cyprus on three points.

    2150: Rob Earnshaw races clear and after rounding the keeper a fourth Wales goal looks a dead cert. But Lambros Lambrou has other ideas and makes a last-ditch block to divert the goal-bound shot.

    2149: Lawrie Sanchez makes another change. Goalscorer David Healy is replaced by Warren Feeney. A substitution in Cardiff sees Paul Parry replace Craig Bellamy.

    2147: A big cheer at Windsor Park as James Quinn comes on for his 50th cap in place of Kyle Lafferty. He joins Aaron Hughes in picking up a half-century of international appearances this evening.

    2145: Time ticks down to the last five minutes of a busy night of international action and Keith Gillespie fizzes a shot wide for Northern Ireland.

    2144: Northern Ireland get some momentum going again and Steven Davis lines up a shot from outside the box on the left which is blocked.

    2141: GOAL Wales 3-1 Cyprus
    Cyprus pull one back and it is a good finish. Marinos Satsias plays in Yiannis Okkas and the skipper dinks a neat chip over Lewis Price. The goal cuts short the "Oles" which had just begun ringing round the Millennium Stadium.

    2139: Sammy Clingan, who has been watchful throughout in front of his back four, makes a rare sortie forward but the Northern Ireland midfielder drags a low shot well wide.

    2136: A change for Wales with Rob Edwards replacing Richard Duffy.

    2131: GOAL Wales 3-0 Cyprus
    Skipper Craig Bellamy finally gets some reward for his tireless running. Simon Davies slips him through and he clips a shot just inside the near post for his first goal since John Toshack's first game in charge in February 2005. It is enough to make Toshack smile.

    2130: No wonder Lawrie Sanchez is not looking too happy. Latvia are having a good spell and outplaying Northern Ireland. Maik Taylor stands big to deny Girts Karlsons.

    2129: Lawrie Sanchez's sartorial elegance is not up there with the big Welshman. He is wearing a raincoat, but, like John Toshack, he looks pretty stern.

    2127: Wales boss John Toshack, hands in pockets, is looking serious on the touchline despite the two-goal cushion.

    2123: Passive or active? It's that old offside debate and the decision goes against Northern Ireland. Kyle Lafferty was the man standing offside, but Steven Davis was the player who ran through from an onside position on the right and slotted a neat finish only to be deprived by the linesman.

    2120: Simon Davies charges down a Michalis Morfis clearance and Loukas Louka looks to have illegally denied Rob Earnshaw a simple tap in. Referee Jacek Granat of Poland waves play on and Wales' players and fans are furious. The Pole has not endeared himself to the Welsh tonight.

    2120: And then there were two.

    2119: FULL-TIME Republic of Ireland 1-1 Czech Republic
    Despite his best efforts Damien Duff cannot fashion that little something to spark his side and the match ends all square. But that in itself is a cause for celebration for the Irish after their torrid recent run of form. It is a first qualifying point for Steve Staunton's side who avoid what would have been a record fifth successive loss.

    2118: The Craig Bellamy- Rob Earnshaw combination opens up the Cyprus defence again. This time the skipper works himself some room on the right and swings in a perfect cross but Earnshaw's downward header is kept out by Michalis Morfis' feet.

    2116: There are three minutes of added time at Lansdowne Road and the home side are looking to Damien Duff to spark something special.

    2113: And it is the Republic of Ireland who almost take the lead. Another great delivery from the right by Damien Duff but skipper Robbie Keane makes a right old hash of the header - and he knows it. The Tottenham striker stays face down on the turf, head in his hands.

    2011: Just five minutes remaining at Lansdowne Road for the Republic of Ireland or Czech Republic to find a winner. The Czech's are defending a 100% qualifying record.

    2107: Girts Karlsons makes a meal of a challenge and Kyle Lafferty's booking means he becomes the sixth Northern Ireland player one card away from a ban. The others? David Healy, Warren Feeney, Maik Taylor, Jonny Evans and Keith Gillespie.

    2104: Wales come out for the second-half still asleep but luckily goalkeeper Lewis Price is alert enough to keep out a Yiannis Okkas shot with his feet and Efstathios Aloneftis fires the rebound wide.

    2102: The ball is rolling again at Windsor Park in Belfast and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff where two home nations could lift spirits after the earlier losses on the road for Scotland and England.

    "Northern Ireland have played well, created chances and could have been two up. David Healy's a real poacher and Kyle Lafferty could have done better with a couple of half chances but it is all part of a learning curve for him. It's a good partnership."
    Gerry Armstrong, BBC Sport NI analyst

    2055: The hosts have responded well to the disappointment of being pulled back to all square at Lansdowne Road. The last time these two met in 2004 it was 1-1 until injury time when Robbie Keane struck, so hope springs eternal.

    2052: The Republic of Ireland have won the last two meetings against the Czech Republic, but they still trail in the head-to-head standings 3-2. Add in matches as Czechoslovakia and the gap goes up to 7-3.

    2050: GOAL Republic of Ireland 1-1 Czech Republic
    Well, that lead did not last long. The home team are caught napping by a quick free-kick on halfway and Tomas Rosicky plays in Jan Koller who holds off Paul McShane and fires in a low shot across goal. There was one minute and 48 seconds between goals.

    2049: GOAL Republic of Ireland 1-0 Czech Republic
    Lansdowne Road erupts and Kevin Kilbane is mobbed on the touchline as he peels away from the penalty area and celebrates. It was a neat side-footed finish from Damien Duff's pull back.

    2048: HALF-TIME:
    The whistles in Cardiff and Belfast go almost simultaneously.

    2047: Republic of Ireland midfielder Andy Reid is bearing down on the Czech goal but his shot from outside the area, with defenders closing, in screws off the outside of his boot and goes wide.

    2045: Jason Koumas is booked for a late tackle Loukas Louka.

    2044: Latvia scored their first goal of 2006 at the weekend and made up for the drought of the previous 10 months by banging in four against Iceland - the same Iceland who humiliated Northern Ireland a month ago. If Latvia are England in disguise they will not be finding the net tonight.

    2042: Northern Ireland have the measure of Latvia and the home fans are loving it. "Are you England in disguise?" they sing.

    2039: GOAL Wales 2-0 Cyprus
    Wales double their advantage and the man dancing in delight is Rob Earnshaw. Craig Bellamy races on to a long ball and squares it for his diminuitive strike partner to slide in and score under defensive pressure. The finish is better than the dance moves that follow.

    2038: It is almost two for Northern Ireland but Kyle Lafferty fires wide from the left.

    2037: GOAL Northern Ireland 1-0 Latvia
    Keith Gillespie's hooked pass down the right for David Healy who races on to his own flick-on and finishes with cool aplomb, firing low inbetween the legs of the on-rushing Aleksandrs Kolinko. That nutmeg adds to the rogue's gallery of goalkeeping mis-haps tonight.

    2034: GOAL Wales 1-0 Cyprus
    Absolutely shocking goalkeeping from Cyprus stopper Michalis Morfis and Wales are in front. Simon Davies bursts down the right and his deep cross is met by the head of Jason Koumas. It should have been saved, but it was not.

    2032: Who put what in the Irish half-time drinks at Lansdowne Road? The Republic of Ireland have come out of the blocks super fast, but still no goal.

    2027: Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is showing well tonight and harrying the defence but after holding the ball up well on the edge of the area the finish is not quite there after a neat turn and he shoots wide.

    2026: Ecstasy and agony for Wales as Robert Earnshaw's sweet control from a hopeful ball forward is followed by a curling shot that is only kept out by Michalis Morfis' fingertips and the outside of the post.

    2024: Until now the best thing about Latvia has been their maroon shirts, but they finally make something happen in their attacking third. Genadijs Solonicins looks to pick out Maris Verpakovskis but cannot quiet gets his left-wing cross on the striker's head.

    2022: Wales' defence is all at sea as Konstantinos Makridis makes a one-man foray into the box, and there will have been a collective sigh of relief as he fails to add a finishing touch with a gaping goal in front of him.

    2021: Bad defending from Latvia, with former Arsenal centre-back Igors Stepanovs involved, but Kyle Lafferty is unable to take advantage and give Northern Ireland an advantage.

    2019: Craig Bellamy's pass releases Jason Koumas in the area on the right and his right-footed shot across goal shaves the post. Wales are looking good.

    2018: A flowing move from Wales ends with Rob Earnshaw earning himself a shot on goal. He looks to have been fouled in the box but stays on feet and manages to lift the ball over Michalis Morfis, but it is just over the bar.

    2017: HALF-TIME
    Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton looks relaxed as he heads for the dressing rooms at the break at Lansdowne Road and the crowd give the home side a generous send off.

    2014: The ball breaks for Damien Duff on the right but his side-footed shot curls just wide of the Czech Republic goal.

    2012: Cyprus' first attack of the game sees George Theodotou pick out Yiannis Okkas with a square pass across goal, but Okkas fails to get a clean connection and scuffs wide.

    2011: Steve Finnan's goal-line clearance keeps it all square at Lansdowne Road for the Republic of Ireland. Milan Baros fails to get a killer touch on a loose ball and the Liverpool full-back is on hand to scoop the ball away.

    2009: But do not be deceived by that five star show. Cyprus do not travel well. The only countries they have beaten away from home in the last four years are the Faroe Islands and Malta.

    2007: It is quite noisy at the Millennium Stadium as well, despite the hammering they endured against Slovakia at the weekend. Wales have not won since May and when you take in the five goals they scored against the Republic of Ireland at the weekend that run of poor form could continue..

    2005: Take in a late summer friendly in Finland and it is two wins from four games and only one loss. No wonder the atmosphere is so good at Windsor Park.

    2004: Just over a month ago Lawrie Sanchez and his Northern Ireland team were booed off Windsor Park after a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Iceland. But 120 minutes of football later and a win over Spain and a draw with Denmark and Sanchez is being hailed a genius.

    2001: An early penalty shout for Wales after Cyprus stopper Michalis Morfis brings down Craig Bellamy on the edge of the area. Polish referee Jacek Grant waves play on.

    2000: Two down, three to go. Wales kick off against Cyprus and Northern Ireland get the ball rolling at home to Latvia at Windsor Park.

    "Scotland will be sore about this one, especially as Kenny Miller missed a good chance with the goal at his mercy. It was a gritty performance and there are many things to suggest that Scotland are the awkward squad in this group."
    Roddy Forsyth, BBC Five Live in Kiev

    1953: FULL-TIME Ukraine 2-0 Scotland
    And there goes Scotland's 100% record in their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. They could stay top depending on what happens between France and the Faroe Islands who kick off at 2000 BST.

    "England stifled Croatia in the first half, but there's nothing positive to say about their performance in the second half. They had a very, very poor game and we got absolutely zero from them in the second half. Croatia didn't have to play that well. I think 3-5-2 was too much of a gamble."
    Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live analyst in Zagreb

    1952: FULL-TIME Croatia 2-0 England
    Steve McClaren's unbeaten record goes up in smoke. England have not lost by two goals in a competitive game since losing to Holland in 1993. Croatia take top spot in the group.

    1951: Ukraine are not sitting on their advantage. They want more goals and the pony-tailed Andriy Voronin fires wide.

    1950: A shot on goal for England! Wayne Rooney's effort is easily saved low to his right.

    1949: Another good chance for the Republic of Ireland. John O'Shea heads just over the top from six yards.

    1947: GOAL Ukraine 2-0 Scotland
    Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko rifles in a low penalty with Craig Gordon going the other way after he was pulled down in the box by Robbie Neilson.

    1946: A first chance for the Republic of Ireland. A defensive mix-up gives Jonathan Douglas a sight of goal but Petr Cech is equal to it, saving with his legs.

    1944: RED CARD
    Scotland have been pushing for a leveller but will now have to do so with 10 men. Steven Pressley chops down Andriy Shevchenko in full flight and is given his marching orders.

    1943: Josep Simunic meets a corner but heads over to save England from further embarrassment. The corner came about after Ashley Cole blocked a cross from Jerko Leko. The Chelsea full-back looks to have injured himself in doing so and is hobbling.

    1941: What a chance for Scotland. Kenny Miller is completely unmarked in the box but fails to get enough on Robbie Nielson's cross from the right.

    1940: The Republic of Ireland have started well in Dublin but are not creating much.

    1937: There is only one change in the Northern Ireland team news and as expected Damien Johnson replaces the suspended Michael Duff.

    1936: Goals, yellow cards, kick-offs. It's all happening and you can add team news Wales bring in defender Craig Morgan for his full debut in place of Rob Edwards and goalkeeper Paul Jones makes way for Lewis Price having shipped five goals at the weekend.

    1934: Things are only getting worse for England. Ashley Cole's rash tackle on Ivica Olic means he will miss the group match in Israel.

    1932: An attacking change for Scotland with Kris Boyd replacing James McFadden.

    1931: The response of those notes from Steve McClaren is a triple substitution. On come Kieran Richardson, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jermain Defoe and off go Peter Crouch, Scott Parker and Michael Carrick. That means England revert to a 4-4-2 and Parker is yet to be involved in an England win in three matches - unless there is a remarkable turnaround.

    1930: The Republic of Ireland start their match against the Czech Republic.

    1928: England are in a shambles. What is Steve McClaren's response? He is fastidiously scribbling down notes on the touchline. It is a pose straight out of the Sven-Goran Eriksson book of management.

    1927: GOAL Croatia 2-0 England
    The first goal initially looked like it had been put into his own net by Ashley Cole, but there is no doubt about that one being an own goal. Gary Neville's soft back pass hits a divot and bounces high over Paul Robinson's swinging leg and into the goal.

    1923: Never mind Steve McClaren's time at the helm. That is the first goal England have conceded since Henrik Larsson's late leveller in the World Cup group stages against Sweden.

    1922: Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin is finally smiling on the touchline. England coach Steve McClaren is not. That is the first time he has seen his England side concede a goal.

    1919: GOAL Ukraine 1-0 Scotland
    Andriy Shevchenko curls a free-kick into the box. In a melee of bodies, Graham Alexander looks to get a clearance in but it runs into the path of Vyacheslav Sviderski. His touch runs through to Oleksandr Kucher who drills home from eight yards out.

    1918: GOAL Croatia 1-0 England
    Brazilian-born Eduardo da Silva meets Niko Kovac's cross from the right ahead of Ashley Cole and loops a header back across goal and high over Paul Robinson.

    1915: A swift Ukraine break down the left ends with Andriy Nesmachny firing a shot goalbound, but it is deflected wide off Gary Caldwell.

    1912: A chance for England. Peter Crouch flicks on a long ball and Wayne Rooney gets a sniff of goal as he bursts into the area ahead of a defender, but he shoots well over.

    1910: Andriy Shevchenko, wide on the left, whips in a low free-kick but it bounces straight through to Craig Gordon despite the best efforts of three Ukraine team-mates who arrow in looking for a decisive touch.

    1907: A Scotland mistake at the back and Andriy Shevchenko pounces. The Chelsea man nips in and beats Craig Gordon but his toe poke dribbles towards the post and bounces clear off the woodwork.

    1906: Croatia have come out of the blocks fast after the break. Paul Robinson saves well from Mladen Petric and then claws away the resulting corner.

    1904: The action resumes in both matches.

    1903: Walter Smith has finally said his bit and the Scotland team are coming out for the second half.

    1902: Here come the teams in Zagreb. Still no Scotland over in Kiev.

    1900: Ukraine come out before Scotland in Kiev, which is two hours ahead of the UK.

    1856: It is more sedate in Zagreb. On the pitch the pom-poms and dancing girls are out again while a menacing procession of slow-moving cars with hazards on goes round the running track.

    1855: Wow, what a scene in Kiev. The pitch is covered with people, all those flags are back out and that band is making a good noise with some adept trumpet trilling. The visiting fans are lapping it up.

    1850: Team news from Dublin. With 14 players unavailable, the Republic of Ireland hand a debut to centre-back Paul McShane and first competitive starts to right-back Stephen Kelly and goalkeeper Wayne Henderson and Lee Carsley returns to the side in a five-man midfield. The Czech Republic bring in defender Radoslav Kovac for striker Marek Kulic.

    "Scotland looked stretched at times with the Ukraine using forwards in rotation, but they grew into the game and have attacked cautiously, exploiting openings when they come. It is a familiar story for Scotland under Walter Smith."
    Roddy Forsyth, BBC Five Live in Kiev

    "England have made one or two careless passes and they are basic mistakes - nothing to do with formations. It's basic because they've done it not just in their own half but in their own third. That is something they must omit from their game."
    Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live analyst in Zagreb

    1846: HALF-TIME
    That is it for the time being in Zagreb for Croatia and England and the whistle for the break goes moments later in Kiev where Ukraine and Scotland turn for the tunnel.

    1845: Vyacheslav Sviderski could do worse than watch a video of Neville's cross after shinning one out for a goal-kick with Ukraine pressing.

    1844: Gary Neville flights an inviting cross into the box and a less experienced defender than Robert Kovac may have had problems, but he just slams it out on the volley.

    1842: Not long to half-time and you do not need a stopwatch to tell you that in Kiev. A huge band is assembling on the running track behind the Ukraine goal.

    1840: A chance for Scotland at one end but Barry Ferguson fires a free-kick wide. At the other end Craig Gordon goes down well at the near post to deny Andriy Voronin.

    1837: Walter Smith is doing his nut on the touchline. Whatever it is that he has seen, the Scotland manager does not like it. Maybe he just wants to see his side maintain possession in the opposing half for a while.

    1836: Scotland are being tested by a series of free-kicks and corners, but there is still no way through for Ukraine.

    1834: England relieve the pressure and give their own fans something to cheer about with a corner. Frank Lampard's delivery straight to keeper Stipe Pletikosa gives the home support something to cheer.

    1831: Croatia are building up a head of steam. Milan Rapaic leaves Ashley Cole standing on the right and his pull back is met by Niko Kranjcar. His effort is blocked by Rio Ferdinand, but the impressive midfielder gets a second chance moments later which Paul Robinson saves.

    1829: Hands on heads time again in Kiev. Maksim Kalinichenko causes chaos in the box but somehow it does not go in and Craig Gordon gratefully grabs at the bobbling ball. A trio of yellow-shirted attackers cannot believe it.

    1827: Niko Kranjcar ghosts into the box to meet Milan Rapaic's right-wing cross but Paul Robinson is equal to the Portsmouth midfielder's low effort and parries it clear.

    1825: An effort goes just over the bar in Kiev. Maksim Kalinichenko flashes a fierce header from a right-wing cross high. Kalinichenko holds his head in his hands, but not because of the wasted chance but due to a clash of heads with Robbie Nielson on the follow through.

    1824: A first attack of note in Zagreb and it is England's. Wayne Rooney plays in Frank Lampard on the left but the ball sits up awkwardly and the Chelsea man, winning his 50th cap, flashes an effort over the crossbar.

    1823: Another Scot is out of that qualifying match against Georgia. Darren Fletcher joins James McFadden in the referee's notebook.

    1821: A booking for Rio Ferdinand after Michael Carrick plays his former West Ham team-mate into trouble and he brings down Mladen Petric. Ferdinand had just been warned by referee Roberto Rosetti so he can have no complaints.

    1819: Andriy Shevchenko's malaise in form has followed him from Chelsea to Kiev. The skipper drops deep to get things going but his pass goes astray.

    1815: Maksim Kalinichenko throws his arms up in disgust at a challenge on the edge of the Scotland box. He gets short shrift from Swedish referee Martin Hansson.

    1814: Now it is Ashley Cole's turn to probe for an opening on the opposite flank, but his cross is too high for those in the middle. Gary Neville follows up and releases Wayne Rooney, but his flat cross is cut out by keeper Stipe Pletikosa.

    1812: Gary Neville, in that advanced position on the right for England, picks out Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney on the edge of the box. Rooney holds the ball up well but can find no way past Josep Simunic.

    1810: Remember those names to look out for? Well James McFadden has already picked up a booking for a needless foul in the middle of the park. He will miss Scotland's next game against Georgia in March.

    1807: At this stage of their meeting at Euro 2004 Croatia were already ahead. None of that this time with England starting solidly. Nothing spectacular but they are seeing enough of the ball and keeping Croatia at arms length.

    1805: Ukraine start well winning an early corner but Scotland stand tall.

    1803: A few names to keep your eye on. In the English corner Ashley Cole and Peter Crouch are a booking away from a ban, while in the blue corner Darren Fletcher, James McFadden and Gary Caldwell need to watch their step.

    1801: Both matches are up and running. Andriy Shevchenko, back after illness, gets the ball rolling in Kiev where Ukraine are in all yellow and Scotland all blue - a slightly darker hue than Croatia's.

    1759: England are in all white, with Croatia in all blue. Steve McClaren's suited and booted on the touchline.

    1758: Bad news for England. Phil Neville, the only defensive cover on the bench, picked up a hamstring strain in the warm-up and will not be called on. Because the teams had already been submitted he cannot be replaced.

    "I'm perturbed about tonight and a bit worried. Will this formation allow Frank Lampard to make as many forward runs as he wants, or will he help make a midfield three? We'll have to see how they play this formation. Formations do not win or lose matches, but they can help or hinder. It's a brave move from Steve McClaren. The only thing worse than a rigid 4-4-2 is a rigid 3-5-2, because that becomes a 5-3-2."
    Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live analyst

    1757: Anthem time and there are a few jeers when the National Anthem strikes up in Zagreb. Both home versions - in Zagreb and Kiev - get a hearty rendition.

    1756: Ukraine and Scotland emerge in Kiev.

    1755: Here they come, just as another result comes in from Group E. Russia have beaten Estonia to move a point behind England, Macedonia and Israel.

    1754: The pitch is empty in Zagreb, but the home fans have been given red and white placards to hold up in a striped formation before the players emerge.

    1753: There is an amazing exhibition of flag waving by mascots in Kiev. The away fans respond with a pushing some huge flags across their end of the ground above their hands. There is a far healthier number of supporters in the Dynamo ground now.

    1752: And England have not lost in more than a year since being beaten 1-0 by Northern Ireland. More of them later when they play Latvia at 2000 BST.

    1751: And while the France win won the headlines, it was not a flash in the pan. Walter Smith's men have been in fine form for the past 12 months during which they have lost just once, against Switzerland in March.

    1749: Scotland won that night as well, at home to Lithuania. OK, they may not be Ukraine but let's think positively and not focus on these remarkable unbeaten records of the two hosts.

    1747: Talking of Turkey, the last time England play on the 11 October was three years ago when a 0-0 draw in Turkey was enough to send England through to the Euro 2004 finals.

    "If this ground and atmosphere doesn't lift England and make them want to stuff it down their (home fans) throats nothing will. Keep your cool, get the points and get off the pitch. It reminds me of Izmir in Turkey."
    Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live analyst

    1746: The Maksimir is close to capacity and the massed ranks of England fans are in position behind one of the goals. There are an estimated 3,500 visiting fans in the Croatian capital.

    1744: That match is one in a run of five unbeaten, although only two of those have resulted in wins - a 2-0 friendly win against world champions Italy and a 7-0 hammering of Andorra at the weekend.

    1741: Croatia went out of the World Cup at the group stages after drawing with Australia when they needed to win.

    1738: As in Kiev, the Maksimir Stadium has a running track between the stands and the pitch. Both teams are going through their paces out in the middle.

    "The Scots have demonstrated they can cope with this level of opposition, but can they cope with the fatigue."
    Roddy Forsyth, BBC Five Live

    1735: And Ukraine have been boosted since that 2-0 reverse in the Italian capital with the return of skipper Andriy Shevchenko.

    1733: Since losing to Italy in the World Cup quarter-finals Ukraine have played three and won two. They have beaten Azerbaijan and Georgia but lost in Rome against Italy in their last match at the weekend.

    1732: Ukraine and Scotland have never met before and this promises to be a tough match for the visitors. The home side are ranked 13th in the world and reached the last eight of the World Cup.

    1730: For those clock-watching England and Scotland fans this is the time to start that mad rush for the office door and a decent spot in the pub.

    1727: The Scotland squad are warming up at the Dynamo Stadium in Kiev. It is an 83,000 capacity ground with a running track, but there are a dearth of spectators - apart from in the away section which is a sea of blue.

    1723: Finally some Scotland team news. Kenny Miller returns to lead the line in a 5-4-1 formation, while in defence Robbie Neilson is drafted in for the suspended Christian Dailly. James McFadden drops into midfield in place of Lee McCulloch.

    Scotland: Gordon, Neilson, G Alexander, Pressley, Weir, Ferguson, Fletcher, G Caldwell, Miller, Hartley, McFadden.

    1721: And Walter Smith's men are in fine company. The other teams that have won all their games are Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Germany and the Czech Republic - who play the beleaguered Republic of Ireland at 1945 BST.

    1720: Scotland are still basking in the glow of that fantastic weekend win over France which means they top Group B. In fact they are one of six teams still boasting a 100% in the qualifying campaign.

    1717: You also have to flick back a little over two years in the history books to find the last time Ukraine lost at home. It could be a tough night for Scotland as well as England.

    1715: If you thought that was impressive, what about this? Croatia have not conceded a goal in a competitive home match for over two years.

    1713: Croatia have never lost a competitive match at home. That record stretches back 12 years and 29 games - 20 wins and nine draws.

    1710: But this match is in Croatia and there is something every England fan has learned about these opponents in the past few days. No, not that Zagreb is the only capital in the world beginning with a Z, but that Croatia do not lose there.

    1704: England have also hosted Croatia in two friendlies at home. The first was a 0-0 draw at Wembley in 1996 and the second a 3-1 win in Ipswich in 2003. David Beckham, Michael Owen and Frank Lampard scored on that occasion.

    1701: There are five survivors from the last time England played Croatia - John Terry, Gary Neville, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney - in what was their only previous competitive meeting. It came at Euro 2004 in Portugal and England won 4-2 with two goals from Rooney and one apiece from Paul Scholes and Lampard.

    "In terms of this formation Scott Parker has a good chance to impress everyone, but there are a few knives being sharpened. I have vibes that if things do not go well then Steve McClaren is in for a fair amount of criticism. So for him and for England I hope they win."
    Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live analyst

    1654: Just 300 people watched that showdown high in the Pyrenees in Andorra La Vella. There are already more than that in the Maksimir Stadium watching some dancing girls go through the routine on the pitch.

    1649: England start the game in Group E level on seven points with Israel and Macedonia, who beat Andorra 3-0 in one of Wednesday's early matches.

    1645: The first bit of team news for the 1800 BST games filters through. It is England and it is as expected with boss Steve McClaren opting for a 3-5-2. Jamie Carragher and Rio Ferdinand join John Terry in a back three and Scott Parker comes in.

    England: Robinson, G Neville, A Cole, Carragher, Ferdinand, Terry (captain); Carrick, Lampard, Parker; Rooney, Crouch.

    International photos
    11 Oct 06 |  Football


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