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By Jonathan Stevenson
2150: That, my friends, is a wrap. It's been a delight, as per usual - and congratulations to Scotland and Northern Ireland for keeping their World Cup dreams very much alive. Back on Wednesday, when England can seal their place in South Africa and lots more besides. Until then, have fun.
2145: Spain continue on their merry way to South Africa, embarrassing all the other countries (England/Holland/some others apart) stumbling along. David Villa, who earlier won and then missed a penalty, bags in La Coruna and they lead Belgium 1-0.
2141: Result from a friendly in Cologne tonight, and Germany have beaten World Cup hosts South Africa 2-0. Mesut Ozil, their prodigiously gifted young playmaker, has bagged one of the goals. If the Under-21 tournament in the summer is any indication, that boy is all set to become a monster of football.
2137: Don't forget, there is a very, very important World Cup qualifier happening a long way away in Rosario, Argentina tonight (actually 0130 BST on Sunday), as Diego Maradona's boys take on Brazil. Lose, and Lionel Messi and co could be heading the same away as Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. It's live on Sky Sports if you can be bothered to stay up.
From Dawson in Chorzow, via text on 81111: "Never recovered from losing Lafferty and Patterson's miss was the turning point. Bring on Slovakia on Wednesday!"
N Ireland captain Aaron Hughes: "We're a little bit disappointed we didn't get all three points. We kept them quiet before the break but they put us under quite a lot of pressure after, though we defended very, very well. However, we're pleased we didn't lose and the other result might have gone well for us."
2122: Full-time Poland 1-1 Northern Ireland Do you know what? That was a cracking game of football and it's a magnificent display from Nigel Worthington and his boys, who were put under some terrific pressure at the death. This Group Three - it's still wide open.
2121: A potentially crucial game in Slovakia is about to end with Milan Baros notching a late leveller for the Czech Republic, which is clearly good news for Northern Ireland. It's 2-2 and all four goals have come in the last half hour, while Marek Hamsik has been sent off for the hosts. Potential cupsets elsewhere, with Switzerland set to head to the top of Group Two as they lead Greece 2-0 and Romania now holding France 1-1 after Iulian Apostol's goal.
2120: The Republic of Ireland keep up the pressure on Italy at the top of Group Eight with a 2-1 victory away at Cyprus. That's full-time.
2119: Just as we creep into injury time in Poland, Pawel Golanski turns inside a defender only to blaze high over Maik Taylor's crossbar. Desperately tense times.
2117: A cross from the Northern Ireland right from Martin Paterson is horribly spilt by Artur Boruc, but a Poland defender manages to clear as Grant McCann looked like getting in a shot.
2115: Northern Ireland are under serious pressure in Poland now - they have four minutes plus injury time to hang on to what would be a fabulous point.
2113: Massive news from the world of England's group - Vedran Corluka has been sent off for Croatia in their home game against Belarus, meaning he'll be banned for the match at Wembley on Wednesday.
2111: As Northern Ireland suffer, the Republic of Ireland whoop with delight - Damien Duff flights over a cross from the right and Robbie Keane clips a header into the net with the goalkeeper in no-man's land. It's 2-1 to the Rep of Ire with just over five minutes left.
Poland goal: It's been coming, and it's a decent goal when it finally arrives. A couple of neat passes helps send Pawel Brozek away on the left-hand side of the box and his ball across the penalty area is bundled in by Mariusz Lewandowski, under pressure from Aaron Hughes and Gareth McAuley.
2108: GOAL Poland 1-1 Northern Ireland
2107: OK, let's try this again: France 1-0 Romania, and Thierry Henry, please God, this time has scored for the hosts. Hasn't he?
From Andy, bored at work, via text on 81111: "N Ireland struggling to get out their half. I feel a goal coming. Let's hope not."
2101: It's all over in Tbilisi and Italy have Kakha Kaladze to thank for a 2-0 victory. The Georgian clearly had other things on his mind as he bags himself a couple of own goals and three points for the Italians, who go four points ahead of the Republic as it stands.
2100: Poland are exerting some pressure again and Michal Zewlakow lashes wide with his left foot. Far from over.
2059: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Not everyone's cup of tea Zlatan Ibrahimovic notches deep, deep into injury time for Sweden and just before the full-time whistle. Still plenty of work to do for the Swedes to qualify, but that is a lifeline if ever there was one.
2058: Jonny Evans tries to head the ball back to Maik Taylor but it falls instead for Ebi Smolarek, who can only divert it across the face of goal.
2056: We are halfway through the second half in Poland and the job is 75% done for Northern Ireland. Cross everything.
2053: Good break from Northern Ireland and Martin Paterson finds himself just outside the area, but he shoots tamely at Artur Boruc. Moments later Paterson is played clean through onside, but he slots it around the advancing Boruc and wide of the far post. Two massive, massive moments.
2047: Portugal are piling the pressure on and one of England's Euro 2000 tormentors Nuno Gomes has a goalbound shot bravely blocked. Ferocious stuff.
2045: The Poles create a chance out of nothing, Pawel Brozek turning Aaron Hughes and slashing wide from 10 yards. Meanwhile in Denmark, Liedson - isn't he Brazilian? - bangs in a header from a corner and Portugal have a World Cup lifeline. It's 1-1, three minutes of normal time left.
2042: Kyle Lafferty limps off, a big blow for Northern Ireland, and Martin Paterson comes on in his place in Poland.
2041: Apparently, on 11 September 2008 when Portugal last played Denmark, there were four goals in six astonishing minutes at the end of the game - we're coming up to that time now and it's still Denmark 1-0 Portugal.
2038: Kyle Lafferty needs a bit of treatment in Poland but the goalscoring hero should be good to continue.
2036: I'm being reliably informed that Kakha Kaladze still plays for AC Milan. Tut, tut Stevo. Told you those conspiracy boys would be out in force. No, he hasn't bagged his hat-trick yet.
2033: Scrap that Thierry Henry goal - we've been given a bum steer on that one, it's still France 0-0 Romania. Can't get the staff... meanwhile, they're back out and playing in Poland. Northern Ireland are 1-0 up, and the hosts have brought on Ebi Smolarek.
2031: There is truly unbelievable news coming out of Tbilisi: Kakha Kaladze, who used to play in Italy, has now scored TWO OWN GOALS to give the Italians a 2-0 lead against Georgia. Conspiracy theorists will be having an absolute field day.
From memnoch666 on 606:
"If N Ireland have to qualify through the play-offs and Scotland get the miracle we need, hopefully they avoid each other and we get Scotland, N Ireland and England at the World Cup."
From Dawson in Chorzow, via text on 81111: "Great stuff by the boys. Solid when under pressure and quick and composed on the break. Deserve to be in front, but I've no voice left for the second half."
2022: Sofia so good (oh come on) for Bulgaria as they go 3-1 up late on against Montenegro thanks to a Dimitar Berbatov penalty. Meanwhile, more bad news for the Irish as Italy take the lead in Georgia thanks to a Kakha Kaladze own goal, and Thierry Henry puts France 1-0 up at home to Romania in Group Seven.
2019: Fabulous news for Scotland fans, as former Chelsea and Barcelona forward Eidur Gudjohnsen bags for Iceland to level them up at 1-1 with Norway in Group Nine.
2017: Half-time Poland 0-1 Northern Ireland Jeers greet the half-time whistle and that will be music to the ears of Nigel Worthington and his team. A classic away performance, Northern Ireland have defended brilliantly and hit Poland on the break and they easily deserve their slender advantage.
2016: The whistle has just gone in Nicosia, it's Cyprus 1-1 Republic of Ireland at half-time.
2015: We're coming up to first-half stoppage time in Chorzow.
2012: A Roger Guerreiro shot is brilliantly blocked by Gareth McAuley, before a follow-up shot is headed off the line by Jonny Evans. First real, intense pressure on the Northern Ireland boys.
N Ireland goal: They deserve that, and it's a brilliantly-executed goal that sends the visitors in the crowd bananas. Poland's defence is playing a high line and David Healy shows great awareness to slip in Kyle Lafferty. It's a 50-50 call as to whether he's offside but he surges forward and slips the ball cool as a cucumber through the legs of the advancing Artur Boruc. Fabulous stuff.
2008: GOAL Poland 0-1 Northern Ireland
2004: Unlucky. Steven Davis flights a cross to the far stick, David Healy heads it back across goal and Kyle Lafferty just fails to get proper contact on his attempted shot, well marshalled by a defender. Good stuff from Northern Ireland, though.
2003: Goals starting to go in all over the shop and it's not great news for either England or Scotland. Ivan Rakitic has put England's nearest challengers Croatia 1-0 up at home to Belarus, while in Scotland's group John Arne Riise has scored for Norway away to bottom side Iceland.
2002: Over in Group Five, Tuncay and Sercan Yildirim have helped Turkey recover from an early Vladimir Voskoboinikov goal to take a 2-1 lead at half-time against Estonia. The Turks desperately need a win ahead of Wednesday's crucial game away to Bosnia to remain in the mix for qualification.
2001: To be fair to the crowd, as the Poles usually do, they are making one hell of a noise in Chorzow. The players look like they need some inspiring as well - can't believe there wasn't room in their squad for in-form Nottingham Forest midfielder Radoslaw Majewski.
2000: Hold your horses - Cyprus get themselves back on level terms in Nicosia against the Republic of Ireland and it is Marios Elia who gets it. 1-1.
1954: The Poles are still enjoying slightly more possession, but Northern Ireland are holding firm so far and David Healy and Kyle Lafferty look dangerous on the break, too. Going well.
1950: If only we had an as-it-stands table for Group Eight, because at the moment it would have Republic of Ireland top. But we haven't so you'll just have to trust us. It's half-time between Georgia and Italy and it's still 0-0 - that's why. In the other game, goals from Radostin Kishishev and Dimitar Telkiyski have helped Bulgaria come from behind to lead Montenegro 2-1.
1947: So close for Northern Ireland as Kyle Lafferty shows great determination to collect the ball just inside the Poland half, brush off two challenges and drill a shot a couple of yards wide from just outside the box.
1945: A magnificent goal from the Denmark v Portugal game from... Nicklas Bendtner! The big Dane controls a cross on his chest and, quick as a flash, crashes in a screaming half-volley into the roof of the net. If the Portuguese lose, Cristiano Ronaldo is in serious danger of not being at next summer's World Cup. Oh. My.
1943: Good stuff from the hosts in Poland, they've started with a real tempo and Northern Ireland are working very hard to keep them at bay. Well organised, are the visitors.
1941: RKW - Heart and Pole on 606 just asked how long it took to type out the Poland team! Thankfully I didn't have to, God bless the inventor of cut and paste. Can barely even say these boys' names...
1938: Massive news from Nicosia as the Republic of Ireland take an early lead against Cyprus thanks to Kevin Doyle's fifth-minute strike.
1937: Ridiculously late and for that we apologise, but Poland v Northern Ireland line-ups: Poland: Boruc, Golanski, Dudka, Roger, Murawski, Krzynowek, Zewlakow, Obraniak, Blaszczykowski, Mariusz Lewandowski, Brozek. Subs: Zaluska, Bosacki, Gancarczyk, Smolarek, Tralka, Lobodzinski, Robert Lewandowski. Northern Ireland: Taylor, McAuley, Craigan, Hughes, Evans, Johnson, Clingan, McCann, Davis, Lafferty, Healy. Subs: Tuffey, McGivern, Coates, McGinn, Paterson, Ward. Referee: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).
1935: It's a massive game for the Poles too tonight - lose and they are 99.9% certain to not be at the World Cup next summer. As things stand, they are three points behind Northern Ireland having played one game fewer. Poland play Slovenia on Wednesday, while N Ire host Slovakia.
1933: Fans of controversial moments might was to know that the game in Poland is being refereed by Spanish official Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez, who gave a penalty against Polish keeper Artur Boruc in Celtic's Champions League defeat against Arsenal - only for Uefa to later rule that Eduardo had dived.
1931: We are now under way in Chorzow at the Slaski Stadium. Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland are also under way in Cyprus.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "England deserved to win but some defensive slackness to be ironed out before Wednesday's crucial meeting with Croatia. Two big talking points - did Wayne Rooney go to ground too easily to win a first-half penalty and should Jermain Defoe get the nod ahead as his partner against the Croatians? Not sure Rooney dived but it was not a penalty, and yes Fabio Capello must surely think seriously about Defoe now. And Ashley Cole won the man of the match award and was still jeered by some England fans. Utterly senseless."
1924: Unforgivable this I know, but we're still waiting to be sent the Northern Ireland team. I cannot apologise enough.
1921: Full-time England 2-1 Slovenia England defend a late free-kick and they earn a very unconvincing victory ahead of Wednesday's qualifier against Croatia. Not much else to say, really, except stay tuned, because the Northern Ireland game in Poland might just be a cracker.
1919: If you manually refresh this page, you will be able to watch Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifier in Poland right at the top. Can't say fairer than that.
1918: A bit of drama in the keenly contested Group One, with defender Olof Mellberg putting fourth-placed Sweden in front away to Hungary. It's a key evening for Sweden and the rest of the group contenders, with leaders Denmark facing third-placed Portugal in the other game.
1917: We are into three minutes of injury time at Wembley.
From Matt_Utd_FC on 606:
"Johnson is the new Ashley Cole of a few years ago: great going forward but slightly suspect in defence. Just hope he sorts that part of his game out before next summer. If he does we've got two great full-backs, if not he could be England's Achilles' heel."
Slovenia goal: Oooh, you'd be a hard man to say they don't deserve that, but afraid it doesn't look great for Glen Johnson again. He is fooled down the England right and a cross is swung into the England box, Zlatan Ljubijankic stooping to glance a header past Robert Green and into the net.
1911: GOAL England 2-1 Slovenia
1909: The Group Two game between Moldova and Luxembourg has finished 0-0 in Chisnau. The two teams have now gone a combined 975 minutes without a World Cup qualifying goal.
1908: Wayne Rooney tries an audacious 40-yard lob and it's his last action of the game as he is replaced by Carlton Cole.
From Kieran, via text on 81111: "Why do Lennon and Defoe not play every game? With them two and Rooney we have a really good chance in South Africa."
1905: Stuart Pearce is now talking to Carlton Cole. They're talking about Zlatko Zahovic on BBC Radio 5 live, the former Slovenian great. I loved that boy. Anyone with both names beginning with 'z' has got to be good. Zahovic, Zinedine Zidane... need I go on?
1903: Just under 15 minutes of normal time to go at Wembley. Doesn't look like David Beckham will be getting on now.
From blueJ2 on 606:
"I must say I prefer Lescott to Upson. Upson seems too similar to Terry. Lescott has more pace."
1900: Great chance for Zlatko Dedic for the Slovenians, but he glances a header wide from Valter Birsa's left-wing cross.
1859: Damn it, I wish we had a miraculous goalline-saving block graphic. Aaron Lennon scampers away down the England right again and pulls it back for Wayne Rooney six yards out - it looks all ends up a goal but Marko Suler is in the right place to boot it away from danger.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "Jermain Defoe is doing exactly what Fabio Capello wants every player in his squad to do - state a compelling case for inclusion in his starting line-up. And he does it again with another goal, following on from his double against the Netherlands. If Capello wants the man in form, then Spurs striker Defoe must be seriously pressing his claims to face Croatia."
1854: According to the official figures, there are 67,232 people inside Wembley this evening.
1852: England have brought on Joleon Lescott for Matthew Upson. Only one more change left in the bank for Fabio Capello.
England goal: I may or may not, five seconds before, have shouted "England, do something" at my telly screen. Wish it worked like that every time. Aaron Lennon speeds forward and tees up Jermain Defoe - he takes a touch and slams a right-foot shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards via a slight deflection, his 11th goal for England.
1850: GOAL England 2-0 Slovenia
1849: England coach Stuart Pearce talks Joleon Lescott through some things on the bench, the world's third-most expensive defender of all time (stop it) is about to come on.
1848: A couple of World Cup results to fill you in with. Russia ran out 3-0 winners over Liechtenstein in Wales's group to close the gap on leaders Germany to one point. The two teams meet next month in Moscow. Massive. Meanwhile, Bosnia-Herzegovina won 2-0 away to Armenia in Group Five to keep their dream of a place in South Africa alive. Leaders Spain still have some work to do to book their place.
1845: Robert Koren swings over a free-kick from the Slovenian left, but Robert Green gets up well and gets good distance on his punch too, good news for him after that shaky start earlier.
1844: After a good start to the second half, the tempo has slowed again. England lead Slovenia 1-0, but it's not great fare for the paying punters.
1843: Slovenia bring on striker Zlatan Ljubijankic. David Beckham and Joleon Lescott, meanwhile, have been warming-up.
From Hammydigrassi on 606:
"Finally starting to show some pace - that's what we needed in the first half. Defoe, Lennon and Rooney all have very good pace, Heskey just slows us down."
1837: England's Ashes-winning captain Andrew Strauss (who may be a more than interested spectator at the World Cup next summer), Paul Collingwood and James Anderson are watching on at Wembley. Apparently, it's only the second ever game of football Strauss has been to. Poor choice.
1835: Good approach play from England, switching it from left to right and Aaron Lennon eventually winning a corner, after a lovely flick-on earlier in the move by Jermain Defoe. It comes to nothing.
1832: We're back under way at Wembley. No further changes from the Slovenians.
1831: Jermain Defoe comes on for Emile Heskey, James Milner for Steven Gerrard, Aaron Lennon for Shaun Wright-Phillips and Michael Carrick for Frank Lampard. Very good changes, those.
From Isaac, via text on 81111: "Rooney's non-penalty is a perfect example of where the Big Question Law would have excelled - ask the player if he was fouled. Punish him later if he says yes and was wrong."
From Paul Foster on 606:
"Heskey, Gerrard and SWP are having really quiet games, I would bring on Defoe, Lennon and possibly Carrick. Also why does Heskey get in the squad - he never scores and he falls over every time."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "England got better as the half wore on but still too many moments of carelessness. The pattern of the game looks set now with Slovenia running out of steam and ideas after a lively start. A few half-time changes and preservation for Wednesday's crucial date with Croatia should be the order of the day for Fabio Capello now."
Ex-England boss Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 live: "On the replays, you see the arm of Slovenia defender come across Rooney and that's the only thing I can assume the referee saw - there was nothing else after. It wasn't a penalty."
1816: Half-time England 1-0 Slovenia After our game of two halves in Scotland earlier, this was a half of two halves, with the Slovenians dominant in the opening stages and England forcing their way back into it. It should still be 0-0, though - it wasn't a penalty in one million years.
1813: Only two minutes left of normal first-half time, crikey it's gone quickly - especially for a friendly. Expect a fair few changes at the break.
From GregBoon on 606:
"Another two mistakes from Glen Johnson there, looks like he can't be bothered. Does he know he plays in defence?"
1808: Finland's tremendously named Petri Pasanen ends our World Cup qualifying goal drought with what turns out to be the winner in their game away to Azerbaijan. Heartbreak for the home side, who were 1-0 up, as they see hopes of a first win - or even adding to their solitary point in Group Four - ended in the last five minutes.
1806: Steven Gerrard dummies inside a challenge 25 yards out and curls a right-foot shot inches past the post. Lovely stuff from the Liverpool captain.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "Slovenia bitterly upset with the penalty award as Wayne Rooney goes down under the challenge of Bostjan Cesar, who did appear to be having a tugging match with the England striker. Not another diving controversy surely? Slovenia's pace has dropped after a bright start and England now in the ascendancy. Emphatic penalty from Frank Lampard."
1805: How did he miss that? A corner from the England right is flicked on by Matthew Upson and Wayne Rooney finds himself three yards out with the goal gaping - but his left-foot shot slices against the post.
1804: Hammer blow for Slovenia, ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier on Wednesday. Bostjan Cesar limps off injured and he is replaced by Matej Mavric.
From Dan, via text on 81111: "That might not count as a dive, but my gran could have stayed on her feet under pressure like that. Ridiculous decision."
1758: PENALTY TO ENGLAND Wayne Rooney pulls the shirt of Bostjan Cesar and falls along with the defender. To the surprise of everyone at Wembley, a penalty is given.
1757: Not much going on in the World Cup qualifiers around Europe at the moment. Luxembourg against Moldova is goalless at half-time, which shouldn't be that surprising. Neither side has managed a goal in qualifying for the best part of a year - including a 0-0 draw in a meeting of the two sides last October.
1756: Better from England, nice approach play and John Terry pings in a pass to Glen Johnson just outside the Slovenia area - he tries to forge into the box and loses possession.
1752: Steven Gerrard swings over a corner from the England left and captain John Terry climbs high to power a header against the Slovenian crossbar.
1751: Wayne Rooney shows a decent turn of pace to latch on to Emile Heskey's flick on and after turning inside, his shot is deflected by a defender over the Slovenia crossbar.
1749: Andraz Kirm is booked by referee Jonas Eriksson for what seems like the umpteenth foul on Emile Heskey. But for the Villa hitman does go down way, way too easily.
Ex-England boss Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 live: "I think Slovenia have done very, very well, they've passed it sharply and they look organised, they look the better team. It'll be interesting to see if they can keep it going for 90 minutes."
1746: Glen Johnson's cross from the right bounces once before Wayne Rooney cracks a shot well wide from the edge of the area. Up the other end and Valter Birsa gets away down the left - where Johnson might have been - but crosses into the arms of Robert Green.
1743: Valter Birsa has some space outside the England box and checks twice before getting his shot away, but it flies well over from 25 yards.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "Lively start for England keeper Robert Green. After clearly handling outside his area, he then forces Milijove Novakovic wide before he shoots over the bar a couple of minutes later. Fabio Capello is already out in his technical area after some sloppy defending."
1737: Lovely stuff from the visitors and they should have gone 1-0 up. Milivoje Novakovic is slipped through and he rounds Robert Green, but two England players have got back on to the line and he is at an angle, so he checks back and curls a yard over the bar. Again Green is lucky - Novakovic could have gone down there.
1734: Emile Heskey is fouled by Aleksander Radosavljevic, but the free-kick comes to nothing. Moments earlier, Robert Green had come out to collect the ball and was two yards outside his area when he handled. The officials didn't notice.
1732: Emile Heskey's flick finds Steven Gerrard and his cross from the left drifts just beyond Wayne Rooney. Pressure on Heskey to play well today after he was picked ahead of Jermain Defoe.
1730: Slovenia kick off their first ever meeting with England. They are the 81st country England have faced in international football.
1726: The anthems are sung, and we're just a few moments away from kick-off at Wembley in comfortably the least important match (we're covering) of the day.
1724: They're not mucking about at Wembley - the teams are out already. It's not full.
From Billy, Liverpool, via text on 81111: "A slate grey Caledonian afternoon lit up by a goal of individual brilliance by McFadden. He's brought out a rainbow over Hampden - but will the Scots find South African gold at its end?"
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley: "David Beckham may be restricted to a place on the bench today - but he still receives the loudest cheer from England's fans inside Wembley when his name is read out. Big day for West Ham United's Robert Green as questions are still being asked about England's goalkeeper for next summer's World Cup in South Africa... should they qualify, obviously."
1714: George Burley was asked for his take on the incident just before half-time when Scott Brown opted against giving the ball back to Macedonia. The Scots boss went a bit Arsene Wenger, saying: "I don't know what happened. It was a bit of a melee but that was unfortunate. It could have been stopped if the referee had been a wee bit more sensible."
Scotland manager George Burley: "I thought it was a great team performance, including the whole of Scotland and the fans. Overall the atmosphere was absolutely tremendous. They did their country proud today."
1706: Ukraine have made a decent stab at trying to jump above Croatia in Group Six, with penalties from Yevhen Seleznyov and Artem Milevskiy in the dying stages giving them a 5-0 win. They have come a goal short but their win ends any crazy hopes England had of qualifying this evening.
BBC Sport's David McDaid: "George Burley looks like a very happy man as the full-time whistle blows. That's his third win from 12 matches, but it means Scotland can still qualify for next summer's finals. All the team has to do now is, errr, beat the Netherlands on Wednesday."
From PragueImp on 606:
"Good luck Scotland. I think Norway are going to take six points this week, so you will need something against the Dutch."
1658: It's half-time in Russia but not before Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko helps himself to a second penalty of the game as the home side go in 3-0 up.
1657: Full-time Scotland 2-0 Macedonia What a game of two halves that was, Brian. Outplayed, out-thought and outmanoeuvred before the break, Scotland produced a terrific display full of endeavour and no little quality after and thoroughly deserved their win. Next up, Netherlands.
1655: Goran Pandev spins well again and slams a left-foot volley wide of the near post. He's faded, much like his team-mates, since the interval.
1654: We're into injury time at Hampden Park, and there will be about three minutes.
From Dave, Ipswich, via text on 81111: "So who believes Scotland can qualify now?"
1650: England team to play Slovenia: Green, Johnson, Cole, Gerrard, Upson, Terry, Wright-Phillips, Lampard, Heskey, Rooney, Barry.
1649: It's turning out to be a good day from the penalty spot for expensive-but-underachieving past and present London-based strikers as Roman Pavlyuchenko doubles Russia's lead against Liechtenstein.
BBC Sport's David McDaid: "Miller's miss is forgotten as McFadden decides he'll beat, well, the whole Macedonia team - to roll the ball in for number two. OK - he beat one player and the keeper - but YOU try setting the record straight in the pubs around Glasgow tonight. Needless to say Hampden erupts as optimism returns to Scottish football."
1646: Seven minutes left at Hampden Park and it's celebration time for the Scots. What a prospect the match with Holland on Wednesday now is.
Scots goal: George Burley punches the air 25 times and who can blame him? With the visitors leaving players upfield James McFadden picks it up in his own half, dribbles past one defender, races forward, does two defenders who offer just about the most half-hearted tackles you will ever see, nonchalantly rounds the goalkeeper and slots into an empty net. Game over.
1643: GOAL Scotland 2-0 Macedonia
1642: That would've finished them. Kenny Miller plays a brilliant give-and-go with James McFadden and does his defender down the right, racing into the box and clipping his right-foot shot just past the far post. The keeper actually got a slight touch on it, but goalkick given.
1638: James McFadden bends a left-foot shot inches past the far post. He hasn't scored for Scotland in his last eight international games.
1638: Scotland's opponents for Wednesday's potentially crucial qualifier, the Netherlands, look likely to be without Wesley Sneijder for the game after the Inter Milan midfielder strained ankle ligaments in the friendly win over Japan. Meanwhile, Ukraine are 3-0 up courtesy of an Andriy Shevchenko penalty. They need three more in 20 minutes to leapfrog Croatia in Group Six.
1636: Scott Brown comes off to a hero's reception and Paul Hartley comes on in his place.
1633: The two Scottish subs combine brilliantly as Shaun Maloney finds Steven Whittaker and he rampages into the box on the inside-left channel, only to poke his shot into the side-netting.
1631: Shaun Maloney comes on for Steven Fletcher as George Burley makes another change. We've got 22 minutes left.
1630: Fabulous stuff from James McFadden, who somehow tricks his way into the Macedonia box down the right and pulls the ball back invitingly to where there are precisely no team-mates waiting.
1627: Glorious stuff from the Macedonians as they carve Scotland open down their left and the ball is fed across the box to the onrushing Slavco Georgievski, who blazes horrifically over from 14 yards. A golden, golden chance to level.
1625: Not good news for Wales's slim, slim hopes of sneaking into second place in Group Four, as Russia have taken an early lead at home to Liechtenstein. Vasily Berezutsky is the scorer.
BBC Sport's David McDaid: "The Saltires are out in force as Brown manages to steer that header in. Straight away the Scots are back in attack. Chants of the Tartan Army favourite, 'Doe a Deer' from the Sound of Music ring out. But this crowd knows better than to assume the victory already."
1621: Away from Hampden we have a few World Cup qualifiers under way, including in Group Five where Bosnia-Herzegovina are 1-0 up away to Armenia. If they hold on to win, Miroslav Blazevic's side will cut Spain's gap at the top of the group to three points before the European champions host Belgium later this evening.
Scots goal: They've been so much better since the break, and for that reason they probably deserve to go in front. Steven Fletcher's cross from the left is glanced into the far corner by the head of that man Scott Brown, who scores his first goal for his country.
1618: GOAL Scotland 1-0 Macedonia
1618: We're hearing reports that Emile Heskey and Shaun Wright-Phillips start for England today.
1615: Thick and fast now, these chances, this time Kenny Miller's right-foot shot is tamely heading for keeper Jane Nikoloski, who proceeds to spill it and is only saved by one of his more alert defenders.
1614: Goran Pandev is slipped into the Scotland box and before you can put your house on him to score, Craig Gordon spreads himself and makes the save. How crucial could that prove to be for Scotland?
1612: That is incredible. Scotland break and Steven Fletcher's ball from the right to the edge of the box falls for James McFadden and he beautifully turns inside a defender to create a clear scoring chance, but proceeds to balloon it high and horribly wide - it's a shocking miss.
BBC Sport's David McDaid: "The stadium announcer just roared that this is a massive half of football for this country. He ain't wrong."
1611: Alan Hutton goes on a raid down the Scotland right and the ball breaks to Graham Alexander 25 yards out, but his shot lacks power and direction and drifts tamely wide.
1608: No changes at the break and we are back under way at Hampden Park.
1607: There is a heavier security presence in the tunnel because of that Scott Brown-induced altercation before and at the break. Don't, go, anywhere. This could kick off.
1606: Before half-time, Ukraine doubled their lead at home against Andorra in England's group, the extremely gifted Artem Milevskiy scoring.
From zippy27 on 606:
"No problem with what Scott Brown done, probably just as frustrated as the rest of us at the Macedonians rolling around feigning injury for all of the first half. Doesn't escape the fact Scotland are hopeless, however. Really, really poor."
From Daren in Southampton, via text on 81111: "Shameful gamesmanship from Scotland... tant amount to cheating."
1559: In the palaver that took place over 'Scott Browngate', James McFadden was booked by referee Wolfgang Stark, meaning he will miss the match against the Netherlands on Wednesday.
BBC Sport's David McDaid: "Jeers greet the break and tempers flare again as the teams go down the tunnel. This match might just spark to life yet. Let's hope for more proper action in the second period."
1553: Half-time Scotland 0-0 Macedonia A frankly woeful half from the Scots comes to an end and there are more afters - the Macedonians are perhaps rightly disgusted with Scott Brown for that piece of gamesmanship. It's going to be a spiky second half, no doubt.
1552: The corner is fizzed in, flicked on by Kenny Miller and diverted wide by Steven Fletcher.
1550: There's trouble a-brewing at Hampden - the ball is played out so a Macedonia player can get some treatment and instead of giving it back to the visitors, Scott Brown whacks it against a defender and wins a corner. The Macedonians are absolutely furious.
1547: We're into injury time in Scotland now.
1545: There is a growing unease around the stadium as Steven Whittaker goes on a dribble down the Scotland left and promptly runs the ball out of play. At the other end, Goran Pandev's deflected shot forces Craig Gordon to save once more - you have to say, the striker deserves a goal.
1543: Scott Brown has come back on but he doesn't look too hot, while Kenny Miller is hobbling around the Hampden Park pitch. Huge problems for George Burley.
1540: Scotland's worries increase as Scott Brown and Kenny Miller both require some treatment. The halt to proceedings is probably a good thing for them at this time, though.
From redboychris on 606:
"Scotland look like they are coming into this match but Macedonia are looking dangerous and Scotland can not handle Pandev. Also once again the tactics look strange - Scotland are playing quite defensively and seem afraid to give fouls away."
1536: Steven Fletcher tries to play it through to Kenny Miller and the striker is just a fraction offside - very close to being played clean through there. At the other end, Goran Pandev wins another corner. He's brilliant.
1533: Good jinking play from James McFadden enables him to set up Darren Fletcher to cross, but the Manchester United midfielder's effort flies out for a goalkick.
1531: It's teeming with rain at Hampden and Scotland have not started too brightly at all - they look very much second best so far against a technically impressive Macedonian team.
BBC Sport's David McDaid: "George Burley's spent a lot of this match so far prowling around his technical area. Despite the immense pressure he's under to win these two matches, he still finds time to share a joke with the fourth official. The home crowd aren't enjoying how much time Macedonia are spending on the deck either.
1526: Scott Brown turns his marker impressively but from an angle on the right-hand side of the area, he fires into the side-netting.
From memnoch666 on 606:
"It's typical fear factor play under Burley. Scotland look like they have been told not to tackle anywhere near our own box, which allows the opposition to pass it freely and create chances."
1520: Referee Wolfgang Stark shows Igor Mitreski a yellow card for going straight through Steven Fletcher. Could be a few more before close of play.
1519: A James McFadden free-kick is only half-cleared and Scott Brown slams a volley a couple of yards wide from the edge of the visitors' box.
1517: Callum Davidson's afternoon comes to a sudden halt thanks to what looks like a possible hamstring injury, with Steven Whittaker taking his place. Shortly after, Aco Stojkov fires over. It's all Macedonia.
1515: Scotland can't cope with Goran Pandev, he's just too quick. David Weir and Stephen McManus have both taken him out already, and now Ilco Naumoski requires some treatment too.
1513: Macedonia find some space down their left to attack Scotland and eventually the ball is laid off to Goran Pandev, who sees a left-foot shot beaten away at the near post by Craig Gordon.
1510: Goran Pandev is causing the Scots problems with his clever movement inside their area already and from his pass, Slavco Georgievski's shot is blocked by Scott Brown, who needs a bit of treatment. From the corner, Ilco Naumoski heads wide.
From Dawson, Belfast, via text on 81111: "On our way to Chorzow for tonight's game. 800-odd Norn Iron fans and about as many police. Going to South Africa? WE BELIEVE!"
1505: Tap-tap from the set-piece gives the Scots the chance to block the free-kick and it comes to nothing. They've started brightly though, the visitors.
1504: David Weir fouls the hugely dangerous Goran Pandev and Macedonia have a free-kick 25 yards out...
1502: At Hampden Park, on a defining day for Scottish football and with the floodlights already on full beam, we are under way.
BBC Sport's David McDaid: "Trying to have a conversation over the Hampden PA system is simply impossible. It must be THE loudest speaker system on the planet. It's getting the crowd going though. I feel for those majorettes out on the pitch, they're not exactly 'dressed for the weather'."
1458: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar makes it Holland 3-0 Japan - the Scots need not only to win today, but get into some serious shape ahead of Wednesday.
1457: The teams are out and it's anthem time. Very respectful.
From Sandy in County Tyrone, via text on 81111: "All us Scots know what'll happen. We'll beat the Macedonians today, get our hopes up for the Holland match and play bravely until conceding a last minute goal off Craig Gordon's buttocks."
1453: The Proclaimers' 500 miles blares out from the Hampden Park loudspeakers; they are making this into the most Scottish fortress imaginable. Remember: only a win will do.
BBC Sport's David McDaid: "It's a miserable, dull, dreich day here at Hampden. Only a Scotland win can warm our cockles. Still waiting for the stadium to fill up, but already there are plenty of St Andrew's flags to be seen on what's been billed as 'Saltire Saturday.' No need to explain - anything but a win will most likely be curtains for Scotland and South Africa 2010."
1440: "We know how massive this game is for the whole country and we're confident we can take a step in the right direction," said boss George Burley to BBC Radio Scotland.
1437: If the Scots see off Macedonia today, they will also probably have to beat the Netherlands on Wednesday to stand a chance of reaching the play-offs. The Dutch are warming up for said encounter with a friendly against Japan, and Robin van Persie has just given them a 1-0 lead.
1430: Stevo's Predos: Scotland 2-1 Macedonia England 3-0 Slovenia Poland 1-1 N Ireland Cyprus 1-2 Rep of Ire
From T-Ali91 on 606:
"Scotland will probably fail to reach South Africa, but I won't give up hope until it's certain they won't go. In football, anything can happen."
1422: Scotland team to play Macedonia: Gordon, Hutton, Davidson, Weir, McManus, Alexander, Brown, D. Fletcher, McFadden, Miller, S Fletcher.
From hickoire, sunny Murcia, via text on 81111: "It's 30 degrees, I am frying my baldy head and looking forward to watching Scotland smash those Macedonians. Up the Tarts."
1417: Celtic's Stephen McManus, who had summer knee surgery and hasn't played for his club yet this term, is in the Scotland team. "The adrenalin will get him through the 90 minutes, I've no worries about him whatsoever," said suspended defender Gary Caldwell talking to BBC Radio Scotland.
1412: And as we all like a good pint of Guinness, let's get the Irish involved too - apparently, they like a good party. Trap's boys meet Cyprus later. If you'd like to play your part in today's proceedings, please fire me over a missive to 81111, or alternatively, type out your thoughts on a handy keyboard and
leave them in the equally useful sphere of 606.
1408: As a proud citizen of the UK, I'm throwing my weight behind all our brave boys - except Wales, who A) Aren't playing and B) Are all-but out already. So come on Scotland and Northern Ireland, let's get at least one of you joining England (probably) at the party in South Africa next summer.
1405: Welcome to an extravaganza of international football, another potentially critical day upon which so many World Cup dreams depend. For Scotland and Northern Ireland, it's now or never. Choose now.
1400: Only once before have Scotland failed to reach the World Cup finals three times in a row. Lose or draw against Macedonia at Hampden Park today, and that is the fate that awaits the Tartan Army.
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