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Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Saturday, 10 October 2009 11:00 UK

Saturday's football as it happened

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

606: DEBATE

To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Caroline Cheese

1923: Right, that's it from me. There are all sorts of crucial games tonight, not least Republic of Ireland v Italy and Argentina v Peru. You can follow live scores right here. Many thank yous for your company on a frankly disastrous day for the home nations - except Northern Ireland. They can give themselves a big pat on the back for not playing.

1919: And I have been assured that in those BBC highlights, Rio Ferdinand will be class personified in a rock-solid defence, England will maintain their brilliant 100% record in qualifying and Emile Heskey will cap a man-of-the-match display with a hat-trick.

OOH, HERE'S SOME NEWS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN: Highlights of Ukraine v England will be on BBC1 at 2215 BST, simulcast on this website and available on iPlayer.

1912: Delight for Ukraine though. They now only need a win over Andorra on Wednesday - and surely that's a given - to book their place in the play-offs and send Croatia out.

1911: England lose their 100% record in qualifying, and Fabio Capello suffers his first competitive defeat as manager. The headlines will go to Rio Ferdinand.

1909: FULL-TIME Ukraine 1-0 England

1909: England have a corner... but it's cleared, and surely that's that.

1906: Three minutes of added time remaining and Ukraine bring off Andriy Shevchenko to use up some seconds.

1906: Just as Graham Taylor is lamenting this performance by Carlton Cole, the West Ham striker ghosts past a defender and sets up Wayne Rooney, who fires just wide.

From Weirdsville on 606: "Don't I speak for every England fan when I say this though? Goodbye Croatia! Revenge is ours!"

1902: For those of you who were pleading for Carlton Cole to replace Emile Heskey. Cole has been just as poor as Heskey since he came on, in my opinion. Wayne Rooney does not deserve to be on the losing side though. In my opinion.

1900: Five minutes remaining now, and England have a free-kick just beyond the halfway line. It's a poor one though and Ukraine clear easily.


World Cup Macca: "Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has pulled a goal back for Bulgaria in Cyprus. They trail 2-1 at half-time. It's all over in Estonia where Bosnia have won 2-0 to secure second place in Group Five."

1857: Glen Johnson caught out of position again as England go upfield in search of an equaliser - but lose the ball. Andriy Yarmolenko skips through on the left but David James keeps out the shot with his leg. Ashley Cole makes a vital interception from the rebound.

Yellow card
1855: Andriy Yarmolenko's laughable dive is punished with a yellow card.

1852: Artem Milevskiy turns and gets away from John Terry with embarrassing ease. His pass for Andriy Shevchenko finds the Ukraine skipper offside.

World Cup Macca: "Switzerland are very close to a place in the World Cup after they wrap up a 3-0 win at Luxembourg. They could even do it later tonight when Greece, who are six points adrift, need a win over Latvia to keep alive their slim hopes of overtaking them."

1849: A mistake by Wayne Rooney - his first of the game - allows Ukraine to win back possession and Anatoliy Tymoschuk fizzes a shot just wide of David James' right-hand post.

1846: More comical defending from England. David James fails to come for the right-wing cross, and no defender bothers to attack it. The ball comes off James Milner's foot and drops narrowly wide. Carlton Cole is on for Emile Heskey.

1844: Evgeniy Hacherydy sends Frank Lampard tumbling just outside the box. Yellow card for the Ukraine man - and another one for another home player (didn't see who), who is delaying the free-kick. Lampard eventually wallops his effort straight into the wall.

1842: Ukraine make a change, with Andriy Yarmolenko replacing goalscorer Sergiy Nazarenko. Still 25 minutes remaining in Ukraine.

1836: Wayne Rooney, who has been brilliant again today, provides the pass for Frank Lampard, who cuts inside the defender but sees the ball roll out of reach and into the arms of the keeper.

1835: Crikey, that's an awful pass from Frank Lampard. He attempts to play it first time for James Milner on the right, but it loops out of play for a goal-kick.

World Cup Macca: "Cupset hopes last barely five minutes as a penalty from Juan Mata puts Spain back in front against Armenia. From one of international football's shortest names, to one of the longest as Konstantinos Charalambidis gets a couple of goals to put Cyprus 2-0 up against Bulgaria. Anything but a Bulgarian win and the Republic of Ireland will seal second place before they even kick off their game against Italy later. It's finished 0-0 in the first-leg of Bahrain and New Zealand's World Cup play-off. The Asia/Oceania clash will be decided on 14 November in Wellington. New Zealand's last appearance in a World Cup finals was way back in 1982, while Bahrain are yet to make their debut."

1829: Maybe not... Yaroslev Rakytskyy takes a touch and lets fly from fully 30 yards. Magnificent strike, brilliantly saved by David James.

1828: Ukraine stroking the ball around at the back, showing no urgency whatsoever. Are they going to sit back on the 1-0 lead? Apparently, there was a half-time announcement that if any more flares are thrown, the game will be stopped.

From Rob, Newbury, via text on 81111: George Cohen made the point that Glen Johnson should surely have been taught defence by now - and if not, why not? As for Rio - I am a Man Utd fan, and I have had doubts about him for the past year. He is not reliable."

1823: Apparently, Steven Gerrard was rubbing his thigh as he came off. Presumably that's where the injury is then.

World Cup Macca: "Do I sniff a potential World Cupset? Armenia level matters against Euro champs Spain through Robert Arzumanyan's 58th minute goal. OK, so it's a potentially meaningless Cupset, but I'm taking it."

1820: A change at half-time for England. James Milner is on for Steven Gerrard, who must have picked up an injury.

1819: Much discussion between Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey as the England team re-emerge after the break.

BBC News reporter Tom Geoghegan watching the England game on webcast at home in south London: "Technically the online broadcasting has gone pretty well so far - there's been a continuous picture, with no blips. But the picture quality is not great when you're used to widescreen TVs. The faces and numbers are a little indistinct. Handy for Twitter comments about the action, though, during the dull bits."

World Cup Macca: "There's a couple of games in Group Five that have reached half-time. Spain, who already have the group wrapped up, are 1-0 in front away to Armenia thanks to Cesc Fabregas's goal, while Bosnia are heading for a place in the play-offs as they lead Estonia 1-0."

1809: The Rio gaffe doesn't look any better in the replay. Long, hopeful punt forward and Ferdinand inexplicably lets it bounce, with the Ukraine striker lurking right behind him.

1805: Not much there to encourage England fans. Fabio Capello's side have been woeful in defence. Ukraine almost certainly need to win this game to keep alive their hopes of a play-off spot. Croatia, currently two points ahead of Ukraine in second, play Kazakhstan in their final match on Wednesday, while Ukraine are in Andorra.

1805: HALF-TIME Ukraine 1-0 England

From bethanysdad on 606: "Johnson needs to learn he is a DEFENDER. Ferdinand needs to learn he is not out for a stroll in the park!"

World Cup Macca: "Well it wouldn't be a World Cup without Germany would it? The three-time winners will be there next year, for sure, after their 1-0 win in Moscow. Russia face a play-off.."

1759: Wow. Not a lot of love for Rio Ferdinand, it seems. Rio also gifted the Dutch a goal in a 2-2 draw in August.

1757: Glen Johnson in attack now, but the keeper gathers the cross and the England right-back will now have to chase back to continue his defensive duties.

1755: Andriy Shevchenko catches Glen Johnson out of position but his shot dribbles harmlessly wide. I'm not sure England want to count on Sheva continuing to be rubbish though.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1750: Artem Milevskiy is so unlucky. His thumping volley cracks the crossbar.... and now Wayne Rooney tries to lob the keeper from the halfway line. Off target.

1749: England so close to an equaliser. Wayne Rooney plays a great ball for Frank Lampard, who screws a shot inches wide of the far post.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Ukraine goal: Glen Johnson gets in a decent tackle on the edge of the area after Ashley Cole carelessly loses possession but the ball comes out to Sergiy Nazarenko, whose ferocious shot comes off Cole's head to beat David James.

1746: GOAL Ukraine 1-0 England

1743: Could Rio Ferdinand be suffering from a lack of match play because of his ongoing injury problems? I'm just putting that out there. England coach Fabio Capello appears to have gone to a 4-4-1, with Emile Heskey on his own up front.

From Andy, Liverpool, via text on 81111: "Ferdinand making far too many simple mistakes. Looks too comfortable thinking he's one of the 'undropables'. Needs a firework from Capello!"

1740: And here's come League Two chit-chat from the great man. That's Macca. "Accrington have won 4-0 against Cheltenham, while Aldershot also knocked in four as they beat Morecambe 4-1, but scalp of the day goes to Chesterfield after they held on to beat Bournemouth 2-1. But the Cherries keep top spot after Gavin McCallum's late equaliser for Hereford denied Rotherham victory."

World Cup Macca: "Drama here, drama there, drama seemingly everywhere. Certainly in Moscow where Germany will have to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men after Jerome Boateng's debut is spoilt by a second yellow card for bringing down Vladimir Bystrov. Germany still lead 1-0 but Russia are piling forward."

From EarlsfieldOwl on 606: "Rio... Why can't he concentrate at international level? So casual and it gets punished at this level. Grr. Capello must be fuming."

1733: David James comes on for the unfortunate Aaron Lennon, another player who might be cursing Rio Ferdinand right now. James goes the wrong way for the penalty but Andriy Shevchenko's effort clips the outside of his left-hand post. A huge let-off for England. Cue more flare-throwing.

1732: MISSED PENALTY Ukraine 0-0 England

1732: Shambles, absolute shambles. Horrible mistake by Rio Ferdinand gives Artem Milevskiy a clean run on goal, and he pokes the ball past Rob Green and draws the foul. Clear penalty for Ukraine, and Green - largely thanks to Ferdinand's moment of madness - is sent off.

1730: RED CARD England (Rob Green)

1729: PENALTY TO UKRAINE

World Cup Macca: "Cameroon have beaten Togo 3-0 and Gabon finished 3-1 winners over Morocco, so Group A will be decided on 14 November. Cameroon will be favourites to go through (nothing for the runner-up remember) as they lead Gabon by a point and are away to bottom-of-the-table Morocco in their last game. Nervous times."

1724: Spell of possession by Ukraine broken up by Glen Johnson, who passes to Aaron Lennon - who is clattered by the defender. From the free-kick, Lennon catches the home defence flat-footed with a scampering run into the box but only wins a corner from his cross.

1721: Meanwhile, a Football League update from your man Macca: "It's full-time in the Footy League and it's been a good day for Leeds, who had a nice day off and saw nearest rivals Charlton fail to beat Oldham at home. Biggest winners of the day were Huddersfield as they handed out a bit of a 4-0 thumping to Exeter - Jordan Rhodes helping himself to a hat-trick. Victories also for Norwich, Gillingham, Colchester and MK Dons."

1720: Right then, we're back under way.

1718: What an incredible start... The Ukraine fans greet the kick-off by lobbing a load of lit flares into Rob Green's penalty area. The referee has no option but to stop the game as smoke billows across the Dnipro Stadium. Madness.

1716: Skipper John Terry, you may remember, bundled in the winner for England against Ukraine at Wembley in April. We're off in the return match in Ukraine.

Graham Taylor on BBC 5 live: "I happen to believe the 100% record may go today. I think England will get a draw, but Ukraine played well at Wembley."

1712: England's travelling fans - of which there seem to quite a few - belt out the national anthem, but they don't manage to drown out the whistling of the home fans.

World Cup Macca part II: "Looks like the battle for Group A in Africa is going to go down to the wire. Gabon and Cameroon now both lead 3-0."

World Cup Macca: "Switzerland aren't hanging around as they look to cement their place at the top of Group Two. They're two up after eight minutes. The Swiss could qualify if other results later on go their way."

1659: Even stranger times. Philippe Senderos has scored both goals to put Switzerland 2-0 up against Luxembourg. By crikey, that snooker was quite exciting. Decided on a final-frame black.

1654: Most of the office appear to be glued to the snooker... Strange times. Anyway, it's half-time in Moscow and Germany still lead Russia 1-0.

1650: FULL-TIME Finland 2-1 Wales

1649: Wales should be level. Dave Edwards is through on goal, but he can't provide the finish and Jussi Jaaskelainen saves with his leg.

1647: Couple of minutes and Shefki Kuqi comes on for Finland - and he seems to be very popular with the home fans. The former Stockport, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich, Blackburn and Crystal Palace striker is now at German second division side TuS Koblenz.

From Feldman61 on 606: "Come on England. Aaron Lennon to cause havoc today. Rooney to score a hatful and us to win comfortably. Not underestimating Ukraine, I just feel that we'll win, comfortably, today."

World Cup Macca: "The Germans are in front after they carve open the Russian defence. Miroslav Klose is the scorer with his seventh goal in as many games, with the striker stumbling and bundling the ball in from close range after a lovely move involving Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil."

1640: There's been a goal in Russia...

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Finland goal: Poor goal for Wales to give away. Roni Porokara feeds Niklas Moisander on the left, and James Collins commits himself far too easily, allowing the full-back to cut inside and toe-poke a clever finish inside the far post.

1634: GOAL Finland 2-1 Wales

World Cup Macca: "Sounds like an absolute belter of an atmosphere at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium as Russia and Germany face off in Group Four. It's 0-0 but Lukas Podolski has just had a great chance for the visitors, who hold a slender one-point lead at the top of the group."

Yellow card
1631: Wayne Hennessey will miss the game in Liechtenstein after being booked for dissent. He threw the ball away after the ref gave Finland a corner. Naughty.

1629: Good save from Wayne Hennessey. Substitute Kasper Hamalainin gets a lucky break when the ball rebounds off James Collins and he toe-pokes towards goal, but the keeper pushes it around the post.

1627: After a rather entertaining first half, the game in Helsinki is now a bit drab. 20 minutes remaining and it's still 1-1. Still goalless between Russia and Germany midway through the first half.

World Cup Macca: "Looks like Cameroon might have to wait to book their World Cup spot as Gabon go in front against Morocco when the visitors' Hicham Mahdoufi puts through his own net. Careless."

1620: Sam Vokes replaces Simon Church up front for Wales. A 13th cap for the out-of-favour Wolves striker.

1617: ENGLAND TEAM NEWS
England coach Fabio Capello keeps faith with Robert Green in goal, despite the return of David James to the squad. Michael Carrick comes in for Gareth Barry, who was suffering from a slight back injury after Manchester City's draw at Aston Villa, although Barry is on the bench. Rio Ferdinand returns in place of Matthew Upson, who played in the win against Croatia at Wembley that sealed World Cup qualification."

1613: While we digest that news from the England camp, here's more from World Cup Macca: "Cameroon have edged closer to a place in the finals as they lead Togo 1-0. Geremi, of Newcastle fame, is the scorer at the second attempt after he had a penalty saved. A win for Cameroon combined with defeat for Gabon, who are drawing 0-0 with Morocco, and the Indomitable Lions will be there. Roar."

1611: ENGLAND TEAM TO FACE UKRAINE: Green, Johnson, A Cole, Gerrard, Ferdinand, Terry (capt), Lennon, Lampard, Heskey, Rooney, Carrick. Substitutes: James, Bridge, Upson, Barry, Milner, C Cole, Agbonlahor.

1608: Bellamy was booked because he was too slow coming off the pitch after treatment apparently. Seems ridiculous. Why would he be time-wasting three minutes into the second half?

Yellow card
1607: Hannu Tihinen pays the price for a number of late tackles on Craig Bellamy, and goes into the book. He'll miss Wednesday's game against Germany. But hang on... Craig Bellamy is also in the book. I have no idea what that was for, but he'll now miss Wales final qualifier in Liechtenstein.

1603: Away we go in Helsinki. And they'll be up and running at the Luzhniki Stadium shortly where Russia host Germany.

1600: More from Macca on the Football League: "Blimey. Unbelievable scenes are occurring in League Two, where high-flying Bournemouth are trailing 2-0 at home to Chesterfield. The Cherries, winners of all five home games so far this season, could lose top spot to Rotherham, who lead Hereford 1-0 at the break. Rochdale are leading at home to Barnet, while Steve Staunton's Darlington are 2-0 down at the break to Daggers."

1557: Outgoing secretary general of the Welsh Football Association David Collins is being interviewed pitchside in Helsinki - and is hit by a wayward shot from Wales sub Sam Vokes. Meanwhile, good news from Wales' Under-21s, who beat Bosnia 2-0 with Ched Evans goals. They've taken 13 points from five games to sit top of their European Championship qualifying table.

1555: Gadzooks. World Cup Macca has put his Football League hat on... "It's not all about international football today, as fans of the Football League will tell you. Half-time whistles are peep-peeping up and down the country as we speak. In League One, Charlton have the chance to go level on points with Leeds, who have the weekend off. So far the Addicks are being held 0-0 at home to Oldham, but MK Dons could be set for a mini move up to third in the table as they lead Walsall 1-0 at half-time."

1549: No goals yet in Cameroon-Togo or Gabon-Morocco. Cameroon will book their place in South Africa if they win and Gabon lose.

1547: HALF-TIME Finland 1-1 Wales

1546: Tim Sparv stings Wayne Hennessey's fingers with a well-struck shot from distance after Jari Litmanen's delicate lay-off. Tim Sparv. Good name.

1542: Roman Eremenko exchanges a one-two with 102-year-old Jari Litmanen but blasts the shot well over from the edge of the box. Ooh, free-kick for Wales now... poor.

1537: Simon Church gets his head to a left-wing cross, but can't get any direction on it.

1536: A fuming Craig Bellamy looks at the linesman and points at his eye after being flagged offside from Gareth Bale's through-ball. Wales have looked the better side since their equaliser. I know this means Finland will probably score in a minute.

1533: Here's a contrite World Cup Macca: "Congratulations to the Ivory Coast and Didier Drogba - the Elephants will be marching to the World Cup finals next year after their 1-1 draw away to Malawi. And it seems I was talking complete nonsense earlier about a play-off for Group C. There's no more play-offs in the African zone. Can I offer you two thousand and 10 apologies?"

1530: robbo18741 on 606 berates me for calling Finland boss Stuart Baxter English. He was born in Birmingham to a Scottish father and an English mother. "If I'm mentioned for a job in ­Scotland, they call me a Scot," he said earlier this year. "If I'm mentioned for a job in England, they call me an Englishman. I call myself a European." So there we go.

1526: Lovely move from Wales. A one-two between Craig Bellamy and Simon Church sends the skipper scampering in on goal, but he shoots straight at the keeper. Probably should have squared it, but the form he's in, I suppose you can't really blame him for having a go.

From Andy, North Wales, via text on 81111: "I'm Welsh and my girlfriend's Finnish - are the gloating rights between the two of us the biggest thing riding on today's game?"

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Wales goal: David Vaughan rampages down the left and there is plenty of support in the box. The Blackpool man provides a perfectly-measured cross for Craig Bellamy to slide in and equalise for the visitors. He celebrates by turning to the home fans and putting his finger to his lips.

1518: GOAL Finland 1-1 Wales

1515: Want to know what Egypt's squeaky win over Zambia means? Thought so. And so did World Cup Macca: "Egypt's win means that it will all come down to their final game of the group against Group C leaders Algeria. However, Algeria face Rwanda tomorrow knowing a win or a draw would leave them only needing to avoid defeat against Egypt to make it through to the finals."

1513: Nothing on this game, but you wouldn't guess from the noise being made by the home fans. Terrific stuff.


Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Finland goal: Jonatan Johansson is allowed to escape into the box and though Wayne Hennessey saves, the ball comes out to Roni Porokara, who has time to stroke the finish into the empty net. Wales just don't seem to have woken up.

1506: GOAL Finland 1-0 Wales

From Murtini on 606: "Sami Hyppia, you legend, top of the league with Leverkusen. Of course, this being Leverkusen, it won't last long, but him coming in has certainly improved Bayer's defence. Keep an eye on Roman Eremenko, big things expected of him."

1503: And it's 1-0 to Kit Symons (see 1456). Craig Bellamy is playing in the free role, Reading's Simon Church through the middle.

1502: Anthems over and Serbian whistler Milorad Mazic gets us up and running at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium.

1459: And Didier Drogba scores, two minutes after coming off the bench. It's now 1-1.

1458: Egypt have beaten Zambia 1-0, and what about this? Malawi lead Ivory Coast 1-0! The Elephants need to win or draw to book their place in South Africa. Didier Drogba has come off the bench, not surprisingly.

1456: Bit of a disagreement between Kit Symons and Nathan Blake in the BBC studio. Symonds reckons Bellamy will be given a free role behind Simon Church. Blake thinks Bellamy will be asked to test Finland's ageing central defender Sami Hyypia with his pace. We shall see. Here come the teams.

1451: Finland's manager is Englishman Stuart Baxter. He reckons his side have been fired up by Craig Bellamy's comments following Finland's win over Wales in March. "Today I saw two poor sides who never had a chance of qualifying from this group to begin with," said the fiery Welshman. "I thought we were better than them, but we didn't even look like scoring."

1449: Right folks, I know you like nothing better than a meaningless World Cup qualifier to get your teeth into, so give me a shout on 81111, on 606 or on Twitter.

1445: Finland, like Wales, are out of the World Cup reckoning. They are third in Group Four, but seven points behind Russia - who are in a straight fight with Germany for top spot. Those two clash at the Luzhniki Stadium at 1600 BST.

1442: Rob Earnshaw is the latest to fall victim to the Welsh injury curse. He has a calf problem, although manager John Toshack claims his original starting line-up is still intact. James Collins marshalls a five-man defence, while skipper Craig Bellamy partners Simon Church up front.

1438: Hosny Abd Rabo may have just salvaged Egypt's hopes of going to South Africa. His goal means Egypt are 1-0 up against Zambia. Anything less than a win and Algeria could pip the Pharaohs when they meet Rwanda on Sunday. If Egypt win, it will go the final round of games.

1435: TEAMS Finland v Wales
Finland: Jaaskelainen, Pasanen, Hyypia, Tihinen, Moisander, Roman Eremenko, Litmanen, Kolkka, Sparv, Johansson, Porokara. Subs: Fredrikson, Aleksei Eremenko, Hetemaj, Vuorinen, Lampi, Hamalainen, Kuqi.
Wales: Hennessey, Gunter, Williams, Nyatanga, Collins, Bale, Edwards, Ramsey, Vaughan, Bellamy, Church. Subs: Myhill, Eardley, Morgan, Vokes.

1430: And we're back. Finland v Wales coming up. That's a Wales team so injury-hit that they've only got three outfield players on the bench.

1315: After all that drama, I think we all need a break. Come back at 1430 BST won't you? I've got a Finland v Wales-sized treat for you. Ooh, and we might mention Russia v Germany, which kicks off at 1600 BST. And before you know it, it'll be Ukraine-England.

1311: Two goals in the last eight minutes give Japan the win over Scotland, after the two previous meetings between the sides ended goalless.

1310: FULL-TIME Japan 2-0 Scotland

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Japan goal: Takayuki Morimoto controls Yunichi Komano's low cross, turns and shoots - but is denied by a brilliant Stephen McManus block. Typical Scotland luck, the ball comes straight to Keisuke Honda, who strokes the finish past Craig Gordon. Two unlucky goals to concede, but I don't think you can argue that Japan don't deserve the win.

1306: GOAL Japan 2-0 Scotland

1305: Japan playing some nice, possession football now, which they are very good at doing. Ha. Just as I had typed that, Yunichi Komano miscontrolled a pass and handed Scotland the throw-in.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Japan goal: With a striker lurking behind him, Christophe Berra has to make contact with Yunichi Komano's inch-perfect cross from the left - but he can only stick out a leg and divert it into his own net. Heartbreaking goal to concede with eight minutes remaining.

1258: GOAL Japan 1-0 Scotland

1258: Here's the man they know as World Cup Macca: "No goals in Japan as yet - and Australia and the Netherlands failed to manage one in their friendly in Sydney. The two sides - who have both already booked their spot at the World Cup finals - played out a largely uneventful goalless draw in front of over 40,000. The first result in a mammoth day of international football."

1253: Decent chance for Japan now as debutant Daiki Iwamasi heads over from a free-kick. And now a first flash of skill from Takayuki Morimoto, who holds off the defender and backheels the pass for his team-mate - but Don Cowie chases back and is in with a vital block. Less than 15 minutes remaining.

1249: Best chance of the game, and it goes to Scotland. Don Cowie feeds Steven Fletcher, who is one-on-one with the keeper but Eiji Kawashima does brilliantly, stretching out his left leg to rob the Burnley striker.

1248: Steven Fletcher is caught inches offside - which is a relief for Don Cowie, who makes an awful mess of the finish. Scotland looking a little bit more dangerous since Fletcher came on.

1243: Another free-kick from Keisuke Honda, but this time Craig Gordon can watch it fly high and wide. Moments later, Charlie Adam wins the ball in midfield before seeing his shot deflected behind for a corner. That's his last contribution as Stephen Hughes comes on to replace the Blackpool man.

1240: Keisuke Honda beats the wall with a vicious free-kick from 25 yards, and it bounces right in front of Craig Gordon. The keeper can only parry it and Atsuto Uchida is onto the rebound, but hammers a shot wide from a difficult angle.

1238: Takayuki Morimoto is making his debut for Japan. He sprung to fame in his home country when he became the youngest player to score in the J-League. He netted for Tokyo Verdy against JEF United Ichihara just two days before his 16th birthday. He has scored three goals in five Serie A games this season.

1236: The home fans are back to the Entertainer. I only wish it reflected what's happening on the pitch. A shot on goal would be nice.

1232: Rising star Takayuki Morimoto, currently playing for Catania in Serie A, replaces Ryoichi Maeda for Japan.

1228: Promising run by Scotland substitute Steven Fletcher, but he's narrowly offside.

1222: Despite Chick's reservations, Steven Fletcher comes on for Aberdeen striker Lee Miller. And Preston winger Ross Wallace's international debut lasts only 45 minutes as he is indeed replaced by Watford's Don Cowie. And we're off.

BBC Radio Scotland pundit Chick Young: "Don Cowie is coming on for Ross Wallace and Steven Fletcher has been having an extensive warm-up. It would be curious for me if he came on since he did not start because he picked up a knock in training."

1219: You know it's not been the most thrilling half of football when players being caught offside form part of the highlights. Later on, as if you didn't know, Wales are in Finland for a good old-fashioned 3pm kick-off. Even later on, England are up against Ukraine at the Dnipro Stadium.

BBC Radio Scotland pundit Murdo MacLeod: "It's been OK. Japan are looking for the World Cup ball, to walk the ball into the net. Sometimes you think, just shoot and put us out our misery. From middle to front, Scotland have had nothing to offer."

From Neil in Hamilton, via text on 81111: "Scotland have seven left-footed players in the starting 11. Has that ever happened at any level of football before?"

Pat Nevin in the BBC studio: "I think George Burley will be absolutely delighted. They're playing a team that has qualified for the World Cup and they look really well organised. They've defended well."

1206: HALF-TIME Japan 0-0 Scotland

1204: Graham Dorrans wins a challenge on the right and breaks clear - but his progress is halted by the referee's whistle. Foot high, is the verdict.

1202: Crucial block by Stephen McManus. Naohiro Ishikawa makes a dangerous run down the left, leaving Steven Whittaker trailing, and he cuts the ball back for Kengo Nakamura, but the Scotland captain gets in quickly to block.

1158: Naohiro Ishikawa gets into a good position on the right, but decides to shoot from a tight angle - when a ball across the box would have been the better option. Scotland doing a lot of defending as half-time approaches.

1158: Well done Scott. He is the first to text in with: "Honda has been all over the pitch. Appears to have a wonderful engine on him." Well done.

1155: Kengo Nakamura smashes a shot into the side netting. More than half an hour gone, and Scotland can be very pleased with their efforts so far. Keeper Craig Gordon hasn't had a save to make.


1149: BREAKING NEWS Sir Alex Ferguson has apologised to referee Alan Wiley for "any personal embarrassment" that his comments about his fitness may have caused.

1148: I don't know what the new song was (anyone?), but it's finished now, and there's a moment of relative peace while the home fans decide on the next one. Japan win a third corner in quick succession, but Scotland's defence aren't having any problems dealing with these.

Former Scotland manager and BBC Radio Scotland pundit Craig Brown: "It's encouraging that Dorrans has been right up there with Miller. George Burley is being very positive and it has been a good start by Scotland."


From Cameron, at work looking for earplugs, via text on 81111: "Re 1126: I think I preferred the Entertainer to this new song."

1142: Anyway, back to Takeshi Okada's gripes with Scotland. He was apparently going to play his strongest team for this game, but scrapped that idea when he saw the visitors' squad. Instead, he decided to unleash his first-choice XI on poor old Hong Kong in an Asia Cup qualifer on Thursday - a game they won 6-0.

1139: We're now treated to an extreme slow-mo of Naohiro Ishikawa, wearing some lovely blue boots, running with the ball. Poetic.

1138: Another dangerous cross from the right, where Japan are being given far too much space, and they're queuing up to apply the finish, but Kengo Nakamura scuffs the finish and that's a lucky escape for the Scots.

1135: Japan qualified for the World Cup way back in June with a 1-0 win in Uzbekistan. This game, then, serves as a warm-up for South Africa - but boss Takeshi Okada was not too pleased to see Scotland's squad list. "Scotland said they were going to bring their best players, and then they made some changes right before coming here," he fumed.

Former Scotland manager and BBC Radio Scotland pundit Craig Brown: "Scotland have settled exceptionally well. Japan have two sitting midfield players, which is the traditional thing these days and used so well by Alex Ferguson at Man Utd. Scotland have one, Gary Caldwell."

1126: Junichi Inamoto - remember him? - slides in with a perfectly-timed challenge on Ross Wallace. Ah sweet bliss. The home fans give the Entertainer a rest at five minutes. Impressive effort though.

1123: The home fans have started a rendition of the Entertainer. They've been going for two minutes, and I already want to tear my ears off. On the pitch, Steven Whittaker heads away a dangerous cross from the right.

1121: Our Korean referee Sang Woo Kim gets us under way at the International Stadium.

1118: As we enjoy the Japanese national anthem, a bit of Scotland team news for you: Craig Gordon returns after missing the last two World Cup qualifiers. Stephen McManus will be captain in the absence of Darren Fletcher. Aberdeen striker Lee Miller starts up on his own after Steven Fletcher picked up a knock. Hearts left-back Lee Wallace, Preston winger Ross Wallace, West Brom's Graham Dorrans and Dundee United winger Craig Conway make their international debuts. Celtic defender Gary Caldwell will have a holding role in front of the back four, with Dorrans supporting Miller from midfield.

1114: First a minute's respectful silence for former Scottish FA president and Fifa vice-president David Will, who died last month.

1113: TEAMS Japan v Scotland
Japan: Kawashima, Abe, Iwamasa, Konno, Uchida, Hashimoto, Inamoto, Kengo Nakamura, Ishikawa, Honda, Maeda. Subs: Yamamoto, Komano, Tanaka, Endo, Matsui, Shunsuke Nakamura, Sato, Okubo, Tokunaga, Iwashita, Morimoto.
Scotland: Gordon, Whittaker, Berra, McManus, Lee Wallace, Caldwell, Ross Wallace, Dorrans, Adam, Conway, Miller. Subs: Marshall, Hughes, Fletcher, Barr, Riordan, Cowie, Langfield.

1112: You say that like the live text is some sort of last resort, Greg. I'm hurt. But not surprised. Cripes, the teams are on their way out and I haven't even told you who's playing...

From Greg, Edinburgh, via text on 81111: "It's never too early for football Caroline! Stuck in the office having to follow the game on live text. Come on the Scots!"

1107: It is of course the entirely reasonable footballing hour of 7.07pm in Yokahama. If you're in the UK, though, you may be interested to know this match is being streamed on the BBC website. Live sport on the internet eh? Who'da thunk it?

1100: Well, this is a bit early for football isn't it? I'm still in tea and bacon sandwich mode. But apparently that's the way they swing in Japan, where George Burley has taken his Scotland squad. They're calling it an 'international friendly'. But hey: when are matches between these two ever friendly?




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see also
England web tie appears a success
11 Oct 09 |  Internationals
International football photos
10 Oct 09 |  World Cup 2010
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  World Cup 2010
Lawrence gets start for Republic
09 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Maradona denies threat to resign
09 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football


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