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Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Friday, 3 September 2010 17:30 UK

Euro 2012 qualifiers as they happened


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By Sam Lyon

2220: So, a cracking night's work for England and Northern Ireland, frustration again for Scotland, no little disappointment for John Toshack's Wales, and a lot more besides outside of the home nations as brought to us by Euro 2012 qualifying Danny. That's it from me tonight, and as I head off to foreign shores for a couple of weeks, I can tell you that the one and only Chris Bevan will be back in the commentary chair next Tuesday for another round of Euro 2012 qualifiers. Be good, folks, see you all on my return. Heroes.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Fabio Capello says he is 'a little bit concerned' about Dawson."

TopClassCitizen on 606: "RE: BrianDavisRFC - That really irritated me. No-one has said that we are going to win the Euros. It was a good performance, nothing more, nothing less."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"Hardly a case of England are back - but even Fabio Capello's fiercest critics cannot quibble with the manner of the win. Switzerland will present a stronger test in Basel on Tuesday but this victory and performance will provide an injection of confidence."

2211: No more word on it yet, SauberRG (below), no. But for those unable to see it tonight, the poor fella was in absolute pieces as he was carried off and TV replays showed his ankle twist and give way beneath him as he fell in the challenge. I wouldn't expect him to play on Wednesday that's for sure and, more pessimistically, he could be out of action for a lot longer than that, for sure.

SauberRG on Twitter: "Any news on Dawson? Very concerned Spurs fan here..."

2207: England coach Fabio Capello: "I'm focused on the game, not the critics. I thought we were really good. The movement, the pressing and the way we moved the ball very quickly. I'm really happy because in the last interview I said the players trained well and the spirit was good. Rooney and Defoe are two fantastic players. Three goals from Defoe and the passes from Rooney. They are good technically and their movement without the ball is good. I'm happy."

BrianDavisRFC on Twitter: "Here we go again, one win and we're going to win the Euro's. Get real people, we won't do it with this 'golden generation'."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "So, we're almost done after a busy new-fangled Friday of international action. Defeat for France, Italy are unconvincing, Germany grab a narrow win. The Netherlands and Spain win 5-0 and 4-0 away respectively, albeit against small teams. The only match still going on is just into the second half - and it's Portugal 2-2 Cyprus - so plenty to play for there. Big drama and blimey - we do it all again on Tuesday."

BBC Sport's Chris Charles on Twitter: "Defoe will get the headlines but fine displays from Hart & (later) Rooney. Never mind the 'head wrong' theories - Rooney clearly unfit in SA."

2201: England's hat-trick hero Jermain Defoe: "It's always nice to score but to score a hat-trick for your country and win the game is great. People know what I'm good at. I'll always try to move and when I get a chance try to take it. When you play with a partner up front it takes time to gel but Wayne Rooney is a great player and if I make the runs I know he'll find me."

Alvin McCaig reports:
"What a crazy game football is - Slovenia waste chance after chance before Corry Evans pops up to score with Northern Ireland's only meaningful attack in the 90 minutes."

And one nil will do for Manchester United on 606: "I'm not a Lampard hater but I don't think he should be brought back in. Stick with tonight's team (except for the CB's). It's been a long while since Lampard has controlled a game for England. He should still be in the squad, but not start. Without him, Gerrard and Rooney seem free."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Yes, England put their fans through the wringer at times. But hey England fans - at least they're not France, who have just lost 1-0 at home to Belarus. Lots of work for Laurent Blanc to do it would seem. Elsewhere, it finished Iceland 1-2 Norway in Group H."

andy pints on 606: "Please remember my fickle friends, we are only one bad game from being useless again."

telinbrazil on Twitter: "And who says that this England team doesn't have a chance of winning anything? They've been brilliant tonight!"

Full time
They certainly didn't have it all their own way, but a clinical display gets Fabio Capello's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign off to a flyer.

337ee on Twitter: "That's four assists to Rooney too by my reckoning!"

2145: We're into stoppage time at Wembley - four minutes of it - and the home crowd are loving this.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports: "England delivering exactly what was needed with a convincing win after the World Cup disappointment in South Africa - now for the next step in Switzerland and the hope Michael Dawson is not as badly injured as it appeared."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Just to finish up the 1945 BST kick-offs. Greece and Georgia drew 1-1 in Group F, while it finished San Marino 0-5 Netherlands. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with a hat-trick and Ruud van Nistelrooy with a 90th-minute cherry on top."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Goodness. France 0-1 Belarus. Sergey Kisliak with the goal on 86 minutes. 'They shouldn't have sacked all their players', a colleague quips."

2143: That's an England hat-trick for the first time since Theo Walcott's against Croatia two years ago, by the way. Unfortunately for Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, it is followed by his striker limping from the field after he took a knock spearing in his hat-trick goal. Not as bad as Michael Dawson's earlier injury, though, you would think.

England goal: Super counter-attack, super finish, and a super hat-trick. England burst and Jermain Defoe dashes on to Wayne Rooney's through-ball before lashing past Bulgaria keeper Nikolay Mihaylov left-footed. Brilliant.

2140: GOALFLASH England 4-0 Bulgaria (Defoe, hat-trick)

England goal: And that is that. Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney combine to feed Adam Johnson on the right, and this time the Man City winger gets his shot absolutely spot on, firing inside the keeper's near post left-footed.

2138: GOALFLASH England 3-0 Bulgaria (A Johnson)

2136: Adam Johnson gets his foot on the ball on England's right, but he sends his shot past the far post when he had options inside him. Fabio Capello is not amused on the England bench.

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Full-time. Belgium 0-1 Germany. Miroslav Klose does it again. Germany up and running..."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Full-time. Liechtenstein 0-4 Spain. David Villa becomes Spain's joint-top goalscorer with his 44th international goal."

Full time
Cracking smash-and-grab win for Nigel Worthington's boys - and a scoreline to match England's at the World Cup too. Nice.

2133: Just over a minute to go in Slovenia... Northern Ireland hanging on...

2131: So close to a hat-trick goal for Jermain Defoe, the Spurs striker holding the ball up brilliantly before feeding Steven Gerrard and when the Liverpool midfielder's stinging shot is parried it looks like Defoe will have a tap-in - but Nikolay Mihaylov slaps it away from the diminutive frontman's toes.

2130: Approaching injury-time in Slovenia. Northern Ireland have absorbed plenty of pressure tonight, but a classic counter-attack goal and some really spirited defending will make Nigel Worthington a very happy man - provided they can just hang on a bit longer.

2129: Adam Johnson will come on to replace Theo Walcott - who has been pretty annonymous this half, it has to be said. Still, if England go on to win this, it will be the Arsenal winger's 13th straight win as an England player - a new all-time record for a player's longest winning streak. You can't drop him with that record, can you?

2127: Moments after Ashley Cole fails to collect a Wayne Rooney reverse pass that would have sent the full-back clear, we get a shot of Adam Johnson about to come on as a substitute.

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Full-time. Estonia 1-2 Italy - a real scare for the Italians there who needed two second-half goals after falling behind, and it will probably do little to reassure their fans after their poor World Cup. And it might boost their Group C rivals - who include Northern Ireland. Another full-time - Slovakia 1-0 FYR Macedonia. Real drama - Filip Holosko with the 90th-minute winner."

Clive Lindsay reports:
"Oh no, not again. Frustration is the key word as Scotland fail to build on a promising start against a team that, man for man, have less a less renowned line-up. With Spain on their way to victory, Craig Levein's side are already having to chase the group favourites and world champions."

2122: Bulgaria's Zhivko Milanov is lucky to get away with a blatant charge on James Milner, before Steven Gerrard forces a smart stop with a snap-shot from the edge of the area.

2120: England may be winning 2-0 but arguably the brightest point of their night has been Joe Hart. The Man City keeper again covers himself in glory as he spreads himself to save from Dimitar Rangelov one-on-one, before Gary Cahill does brilliantly to deflect Stiliyan Petrov's 20-yarder wide on the stretch. Bulgaria still threatening.

2119: About 15 minutes to go for Northern Ireland and they're still hanging on to the lead in Slovenia. Home side pressing though, and Maik Taylor has to make a smart low save from Josip Ilcic.

England goal: Just 14 seconds after keeper Joe Hart has to beat away a fierce Stanislav Angelov effort, England double their lead, Jermain Defoe latching on to Wayne Rooney's pass to slip through Bulgaria keeper Nikolay Mihaylov's legs with aplomb.

2116: GOALFLASH England 2-0 Bulgaria (Defoe)

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Thanks to anonymous text legend Anon for reminding me that Cyrpus are now 2-1 up in Portugal with Michalis Konstantinou restoring the visitors' lead. Half an hour gone there and it is very much game on."

olliescrim on Twitter: "That's nasty. Looks like this could be a horrible injury for Dawson. A real shame."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Full-time - Luxembourg 0-3 Bosnia-Hercegovina in Group D.That represents a fair return in the end for Luxembourg, as they were 3-0 down inside 15 minutes..."

2112: Off goes Michael Dawson, the Tottenham defender still screaming in pain, to be replaced by Bolton's Gary Cahill for the defender's first international cap. Apparently, Cahill is the first Bolton player to represent England since... Michael Ricketts.

Northern Ireland goal: Smash-and-grab effort from Northern Ireland, Craig Cathcart's low cross tapped in at the far post by substitute Corry Evans three yards out. The visiting fans go ballistic.

2111: GOALFLASH Slovenia 0-1 Northern Ireland (Evans)

2110: That does not look good. Michael Dawson is in absolute agony after rolling over on his right ankle - and that not only looks like his match done, but that could well mean a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Ouch.

2108: Bulgaria threaten when Valeri Bojinov makes the most of a Michael Dawson error to lay in Ivelin Popov, but the midfielder's low shot fizzes past the far post.

Full time

2105: Better from Wayne Rooney, collecting Jerman Defoe's fine nod-down and then attempting an audacious chip from 20 yards that Bulgaria keeper Nikolay Mihaylov has to scramble back to tip over.

2104: We're just past the hour mark in Slovenia - and the hosts are piling on the pressure. Still no way through the Northern Irish defences just yet, though, Nigel Worthington's side just about hanging on.

2102: We'll have three minutes of injury time in Kaunas - can Scotland pinch a winner?

2101: First effort of the second 45 from Bulgaria, Valeri Bojinov working some space down England's right before flashing a shot across Joe Hart's goal - was always going wide, though.

2100: The players are out and about at Wembley - and England kick off the second half.

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Some updates for you. Portugal 1-1 Cyprus. Efstathios Aloneftis with the third-minute opener for the visitors, Hugo Almeida levelled. Belgium 0-1 Germany thanks to Miroslav Klose. And fans of flat-track bullying might enjoy the scorelines San Marino 0-3 Netherlands and Liechtenstein 0-3 Spain. All latest scores them."

2056: The introduction of James McFadden and James Morrison has inspired more life and invention in this Scotland attack, but there is no breakthrough despite some pinball inside the Lithuanian penalty box.

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Full-time fans - fill your boots. Latvia 0-3 Croatia - Mladen Petric, Ivica Olic and Darijo Srna with the goals. Romania 1-1 Albania - Gjergi Muzaka's late equaliser gives Albania a rare point. And Sweden 2-0 Hungary thanks to Pontus Wernbloom's double."

Bruce Pope reports:
"A real kick in the Balkans for Wales, who had travelled to Montenegro expecting to build a solid foundation for their Euro 2012 campaign."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Upset fans look away, comeback fans rejoice. Antonio Cassano's and Leonardo Bonucci have made it Estonia 1-2 Italy. Drama fans - how about the fact it's Romania 1-1 Albania thanks to Gjergi Muzaka's 88th-minute equaliser for the visitors?"

2049: Great chance for Slovenia, but not for the first time tonight it is wasted. Valter Birsa is found 16 yards out unmarked in the area but his left-foot snap-shot drifts harmlessly wide of Northern Ireland keeper Maik Taylor's goal.

2046: The second half of Slovenia-Northern Ireland is up and running.

Half time
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"England more subdued as the first half wore on after Jermain Defoe's goal as Bulgaria grew in confidence, but they deserve their interval lead."

2044: This number one shirt is his for as long as he wants it on this form. Joe Hart has had little to do today - that save from Glen Johnson's misdirected clearance earlier aside - but everything he has done he has done with calm assuredness. A fine display so far.

2041: With Scotland increasingly under pressure, Craig Levein makes his first change, bringing on James McFadden for Barry Robson.

2041: Better from James Milner, the winger cutting in from the left and attempting to drive into the far post right-footed from the angle, but it is deflected wide.

Robsoninho on 606: "I have to say I've been very impressed with the centre back pairing of Dawson and Jagielka. Considering their combined lack of international experience, they have shown good composure and rarely looked troubled."

2038: Jermain Defoe - who was going to go under the knife for a groin operation this week before putting it off - can't make the most of a decent ball over the top from Wayne Rooney, before Theo Walcott and Steven Gerrard link up well in the box moments later only for the Bulgarian keeper to finally claim at the end of some good home pressing.

2033: Alan Hutton crosses for Steven Naismith but his side-footed effort from 18 yards lacks both power and direction and home keeper Zydrunas Karcemarskas is able to gather comfortably.

Morehen on Twitter: " New kit, New pitch (hopefully a problem to now be forgotten), New England? I think I'm getting ahead of myself."

Half time
Alvin McCaig's HT snap-shot:
"Slovenia waste three good chances while N Ireland look like making it eight games without a goal. Nigel Worthington would take a draw with 45 minutes to go."

2029: A quite brilliant crossfield pass from Gareth Barry finds Ashley Cole, who in turn plays in James Milner, but the Manchester City midfielder's long-range effort is straight down Bulgaria keeper Nikolay Mihaylov's throat. Not literally you understand. England still dominating proceedings with half an hour gone, but it's a touch more relaxed than the opening 15 minutes.

2028: Slovenia on the attack again as they break down the right. Andraz Kirm fires the ball dangerously across goal, but there's no-one to apply the finishing touch and with a minute to go to half-time it's still goalless.

Jayspearing26 on Twitter: "Unlucky for Wales, but 'Montenegro feat the referee' had too much for them tonight."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports: "Glen Johnson's near-calamity aside - excellent reaction save by Joe Hart - this is a bright and breezy England. Plenty of passing and movement to please the crowd but Bulgaria just showing one or two signs of life in the last couple of minutes as Fabio Capello's side hold a deserved lead."

Full time
John Toshack's boys deserved better - a point at least - but it just didn't go their way tonight. Does that make it an uphill battle for them in Group G already?

2022: Another great chance for Slovenia who are starting to look dangerous. Andraz Kirm's cross from the left is headed goalwards powerfully by a slightly-offside looking Milivoje Novakovic, but again Maik Taylor is brilliantly positioned to stop. Still 0-0.

2021: Another decent chance for Scotland as Barry Robson's cross finds Kenny Miller unmarked in the box, but he can only direct his header straight at the keeper.

2020: My word, that is close. England have completed dominated proceedings but Bulgaria are so very nearly level when Glen Johnson directs a whipped cross at his own goal - Joe Hart having to get down smartly to keep it out on the goalline.

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "David Villa's just scored for Spain, who are currently 2-0 up on Liechtenstein after 30 minutes. I make that 44 international goals for Villa, drawing him level with Raul. One more and he's the outright all-time Spain international goal-scoring superhero legend record breaker of all-time."

2018: Absolute heartbreak for John Toshack's boys. They produce a cracking move as Rob Earnshaw sends Craig Bellamy away down the left and from Bellamy's centre Earnshaw's 18-yard shot produces a brilliant low save from Mladen Bozovic. Simon Church promptly slams home the rebound, only Church was standing about three yards offside when Earnshaw shot so it doesn't count. Into five minutes of stoppage time.

2017: We've back under way in the Lithuania-Scotland match.

2017: The Wembley crowd - relatively sparse as it is - are getting right behind this England performance, and few could blame them with the level of spark, fluency and incisiveness on show.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2015: Closer and closer for Wales. Gareth Bale swings over one of those sumptuous left-wing crosses of his and Simon Church crashes a header against the Montenegro crossbar with Mladen Bozovic beaten. Not long left now to get that all-important equaliser.

Watten86 on Twitter: "Is it just the blue shorts, blue topped socks, and blue numbers, or is it a new kit? Seems to make England play better!"

2013: Oh Craig. Twice in a minute the Welsh captain has a chance to get his side back on level terms, but twice he is wasteful. On the first occasion Bellamy probably should pass to an unmarked Simon Church only to see his shot saved, while from the ensuing corner he heads straight at keeper Mladen Bozovic from six yards. Gilt-edged.

2013: Steven Gerrard wins the ball back well in the midfield and feeds Theo Walcott, but the in-form winger can't quite get his cross right and the Bulgaria defence is able to clear.

Yellow card
2010: Harsh yellow card for David Healy in Slovenia - I mean, yes, the Northern Ireland striker's boot did catch the home defender right, smack between the legs attempting an overhead kick, but it wasn't intentional.

2009: Just under 10 minutes to go in the Montenegro-Wales match, and while there's still only one goal in it... all very even Stevens at the minute, though.

2008: England are absolutely buzzing at Wembley and Bulgaria are like a rabbit caught in the headlights. The hosts are full of verve, pressing the opposition at every opportunity, and Wayne Rooney is already enjoying himself from a deeper position. Encouraging for manager Fabio Capello, this.

2006: Lucky escape for Northern Ireland. Zlatan Ljubijankic sends in a dangerous low cross and Valter Birsa is just unable to connect from close range. Relief for the sizeable travelling contingent.

blueJ2 on 606: "Great ball from Rooney. Great play from Cole. Great finish from Defoe. Excellent start."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Here's a Group C eyebrow-raiser for you. Estonia are 1-0 up on Italy in Group C thanks to Sergei Zenjov. Half an hour gone there..."

2004: Nasty incident in Podgorica as Wales centre-back James Collins receives a hammer blow to the side of his head courtesy of the elbow of Miodrag Dzudovic. The Montenegran is probably a touch lucky to stay on for that but no such luck for Collins, who is taken off and replaced by Craig Morgan.

England goal: It's taken less than three minutes and post-World Cup England are up and running. Ashley Cole sees his effort from Wayne Rooney's brilliant pass saved but Jermain Defoe hooks home a splendid finish from the Chelsea full-back's subsequent pass to hand an effervescent England the lead.

2003: GOALFLASH England 1-0 Bulgaria (Defoe)

2002: Steven Davis sees a shot blocked for Northern Ireland, then Chris Baird rifles the follow-up wide from distance. Still a very open match in Slovenia.

Half time
Clive Lindsay's HT snap-shot:
"Good tempo, great energy, and a world of difference from that performance in Stockholm, but still no goals for a promising Scotland side who must beware a sting in their Lithuanian tale."

2000: And Bulgaria get us under way at Wembley. England sporting a new kit, by the way, which smacks a little of the Italy outfit. I like it.

1959: Great chance for Slovenia. Andraz Kirm sends in a devilish free-kick and Milivoje Novakovic glances it on towards goal from close range, but Maik Taylor is perfectly placed and holds on to the ball.


1957: As the national anthems are belted out Wembley, it occurred to Jonathan Stevenson that this fixture might get you all misty-eyed for the likes of Bulgarian legends Hristo Stoichkov, Yordan Letchkov et al. Well, reminisce to your heart's content with his blog why don't you? Nice.

1955: An open start in Maribor with both Slovenia and Northern Ireland showing some real attacking intent. Ten minutes gone, but dare I say it doesn't look like being a stalemate? I do. I dare. I've done it.

AlexGulrajanion Twitter: "To quote my favourite football song since Ossie's Dream - 'We're not Brazil, We're Northern Ireland!'"

robroy13 on Twitter: "Despite all the negativity surrounding the England team, i'm still sitting down with a beer to watch them, and loving it."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Another full-time for you. Faroe Islands 0-3 Serbia. Giant Birmingham City striker Nikola Zigic nabbed the third for the Serbs in the 90th minute there. That's in Group C, the same as Slovenia and Northern Ireland."

1951: Only a goal is missing from Scotland's performance at the moment and Stephen McManus so nearly provides it, the Middlesbrough man doing well to get a volley on Darren Fletcher's free-kick at the back post and sending it inches wide with the Lithuania keeper beaten.

Daily Telegraph football writer Henry Winter on Twitter: "From rush-hour with love? London traffic take its toll. Wembley not at 50k yet with 10 mins before kick-off."

1948: Cracking block from Ashley Williams in the Wales defence - how big might that be for the visitors? - as he flings himself in front of Radmoir Djalovic's goalbound shot 12 yards out. Montenegro on top again here, though.

Roy will be Liverpool legend on 606: "Scotland look pretty good tonight, have to say."

1945: Slovenia and Northern Ireland have kicked off.

1944: Penalty shout for Scotland as Steven Naismith, following up from a parried Barry Robson long-ranger, is shoved over in the box - but nothing is given. Would possibly have been harsh on Lithuania.

1943: ENGLAND v BULGARIA: England: Hart, Glen Johnson, Jagielka, Dawson, Ashley Cole, Walcott, Gerrard, Barry, Milner, Defoe, Rooney. Subs: Foster, Gibbs, Cahill, Carrick, Adam Johnson, Young, Bent.
Bulgaria: Mihailov, Ivanov, Milanov, Manolev, Iliyan Stoyanov, Yankov, Angelov, Stiliyan Petrov, Martin Petrov, Bojinov, Popov. Subs: Vladislav Stoyanov, Minev, Kamburov, Rangelov, Peev, Domovchiyski, Genchev.
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

1942: And talking of free-kicks, Gareth Bale tries his luck with one 22 yards out for Wales, but it flies low and wide of the far post.

1941: Decent effort from Barry Robson, the Scotland midfielder curling left-footed with a free-kick, palmed away by Lithuania keeper Zydrunas Karcemarskas comfortably.

Teddifer on Twitter: "The XI will do for tonight but 4-2-3-1 looked better against Hungary. Why not keep players in their club positions?"

1940: The teams are emerging in Slovenia and we're minutes from kick-off in that one.

1939: BBC Radio Scotland commentator Richard Gordon: "What a difference from that friendly in Sweden. The attitude is different, the tempo is different and, although Lithuania have caused a couple of problems, it is a decent start to Scotland's European qualifying campaign."

1938: Mirko Vucinic looks very much like he has picked up in the second half where he left off in the first in Podgorica, and the attacker curls inches over the bar left-footed with a dipping free-kick.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"So England pair Tottenham's Michael Dawson and Everton's Phil Jagielka in central defence while, as expected, Jermain Defoe partners Wayne Rooney in attack. Fabio Capello has ignored charges of tactical inflexibility and kept faith with his tried and trusted 4-4-2 formation - and seven of the side that lost that World Cup second-round match against Germany in Bloemfontain. Joe Hart, though, gets another opportunity to cement his status as England's first-choice goalkeeper."

1934: Back up and running in the Montenegro-Wales tie.

1933: And, against the run of play, Lithuania forge the best chance of the night as Saulius Mikoliunas gets free on the edge of the box and forces Allan McGregor into a flying stop with a fierce drive.

Yellow card
1930: First booking of the night for Lithuania's Tadas Kijansjas after a series of fouls across the pitch.

1929: Scotland definitely the better side so far in Kaunas, but neither side really threatening a huge amount in front of goal - right-back Alan Hutton has started positively, though, and he and Stephen McManus already linking up well up against this Lithuania side.

MattDaveDavies on Twitter: "So Fabio Capello goes with a strike-force that, between them, have scored less PL goals this season than Marlon Harewood. Genius."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Job done for Russia. They've come away from Andorra with the requisite win, 2-0 thanks to a double from Pavel Pogrebniak. That's a Group B fixture, the same group as the Republic of Ireland - later it's Slovakia v FYR Macedonia. Elsewhere, in Group E, Moldova beat Finland 2-0."

1924: Decent chance for Scotland in Kaunas - the first of the game - as Steven Naismith's cross looks to have found Scott Brown just inside the box, only for the Rangers man to air-shot and miss the ball.

So after suffering a blow in the hours leading up to the Euro 2012 qualifier in Slovenia with Jonny Evans ruled out because of a groin injury, Northern Ireland turn to his former Old Trafford team-mate Craig Cathcart of Blackpool, while record scorer David Healy starts alongside Warren Feeney up front.

1921: Lively old start in the Lithuania-Scotland match, and the hosts don't appear shy to put their foot through the ball - or the opposition. Barry Robson, in particular, feels one early heavy challenge and this could get feisty.

Half time
Bruce Pope's HT snap-shot:
"A great first-half performance in Podgorica by the men in red - unfortunately for Wales they're in white, although there were a few red faces after a fine solo goal from Montenegro captain Mirko Vucinic."

1917: Mirko Vucinic has taunted the Wales defence at times in this half and James Collins is fortunate to deflect another effort from the Montenegro captain wide just before the break.

1916: We're under way in the Lithuania-Scotland match.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"England return to competitive action as the road to rehabilitation after the World Cup debacle starts with the Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria. Fabio Capello's reign has never been under greater scrutiny, but he has the chance to ease the pressure if England can beat Bulgaria and follow it up with victory against Switzerland in Basel on Tuesday. There is, however, still a lot of making up to do with England fans disenchanted after the World Cup."

RikBrkr on Twitter: "Recipe for a new England XI, just add Walcott. But will it work?"

1910: Just a reminder for TV viewers that BBC Scotland's coverage of tonight's European Championship qualifier between Lithuania and Scotland (which is available on all platforms including Freeview) can be accessed via the red button.

Jon, Cornwall, via text: "Re: 1900 Because he's in goal where he belongs."

1907: Joe Hart's selection for England tonight, by the way, is cracking news for Shrewsbury - who net £500,000 from Manchester City due to a clause in their sale to the Premier League side based on international appearances. Happy days.

1905: Wales have responded very well to going a goal down, here, and Steve Morison has a shout for a penalty when he feels he is bundled over in the area - again, though, nothing is given.

Alvin McCaig reports:
"Northern Ireland have gone 10 games without a win and have failed to score in the last seven, while Slovenia won 2-0 when the side's last met in Maribor two years ago. Add in the late withdrawal of key defender Jonny Evans and it's fair to say expectations are not high for the Group C opener."

Montenegro goal: It's been coming and it's class from Mirko Vucinic, but the Wales defence has to do better. First James Collins is left for dead far too easily by a Vucinic turn of pace, and then keeper Wayne Hennessey goes down too early in the Wales goal as the Montenegro playmaker slams in off the near post.

1900: GOALFLASH Montenegro 1-0 Wales (Vucinic)

kevin on 606: "C'mon Scotland!!! Hope we get a result - I can't face another boot in the Baltics again!!!"

unitedRWB on Twitter: "So England are basically the same again then. Why is 4-4-2 suddenly going to work again? Why isolate our best player again? Madness."

Clive Lindsay reports:
"Scotland have made eight changes from the young, experimental, injury-hit side that lost 3-0 in last month's friendly in Sweden. Only goalkeeper Allan McGregor, Darren Fletcher and Barry Robson survive. Kenny Miller is the lone striker, with Steven Naismith wide on the left of a five-man midfield at the expense of James McFadden. Naismith's Rangers team-mate, Lee McCulloch, will be the holding midfielder. David Weir, at 40, becomes the oldest player to have pulled on a Scotland jersey. Indeed, with six Ibrox men in the Scotland team, it has been billed as Rangers versus Hearts. However, there is no place in the Lithuania team for injury-plagued former Hearts striker Andrius Velicka, who has been loaned to Aberdeen from Rangers. However, former Dunfermline defender Andrius Skerla starts along with former Hearts man Saulius Mikoliunas, while there are two other ex-Tynecastle men on the bench."

Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "Good start for Turkey. They've just won 3-0 away in Kazakhstan in their Group A tie. Later tonight in Group A, Belgium v Germany."

1855: Oh he has to score, there. Savo Pavicevic works some space down the Montenegro right - where the hosts are looking particularly dangerous - and he picks out Mirko Vucinic unmarked in the box, only for the striker to send his header wide from eight yards. Moments later, Branko Boskovic tries his luck from the edge of the area but he doesn't catch it cleanly and Wayne Hennessey gets down to save. Wales living dangerously.

1853: Decent effort from Montenegro's Simon Vukcevic, curling narrowly past Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey's far post with a left-foot effort from outside the area.

Karcemarskas, Stankevicius, Skerla, Radavicius, Kijanskas, Semberas, Panka, Edgaras Cesnauskis, Mikoliunas, Danilevicius, Sernas. Subs: Arlauskis, Poskus, Pilibaitis, Luksa, Ivaskevicius, Beniusis, Dedura.
Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Weir, McManus, Whittaker, Darren Fletcher, McCulloch, Brown, Robson, Miller, Naismith. Subs: Marshall, Berra, Boyd, McFadden, Hartley, Morrison, Dorrans.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

1851: England team to face Bulgaria tonight: Hart; G Johnson, Dawson, Jagielka, A Cole; Walcott, Milner, Barry, Gerrard; Defoe, Rooney.

1850: Looks like Gareth Bale has licence to roam here, and he pops up through the middle, bursts into the box, and goes down heavily under a challenge from a Montenegro defender as he slides a cross in - no penalty given, though.

1847: ...and Craig Bellamy puts a lovely ball in, home defender Marko Basa doing well to pressure Ashley Williams into just missing his header eight yards out.

1846: Gareth Bale presses brilliantly down the Wales left to force two errors from the Montenegro defenders, and a few moments later he earns a free-kick by the left touchline. Decent chance to swing the ball in...

Abid, London via text: "RE: 1815 - John Toshack seems to have forgotten that Spurs bought Gareth Bale three years ago not last week. His form is no surprise to the Spurs fans. Harry has just brought the best out in him. As Harry does."

WHOASriLawi on Twitter: "Wow, England U21, what a goal! Cleverley with a fantastic pass to Sturridge, cool finish past the keeper."
I can't see the match mate, so I'm taking your word for it.

Yellow card
1841: Montenegro defender Savo Pavicevic is the first man into the referee's notebook after going through the back of Gareth Bale in the centre of the park. I think that's what Ron Atkinson might call 'a reducer'.

1840: GOALFLASH Portugal U21 0-1 England U21 (Sturridge)

Clive Lindsay reports:
"The last time Scotland qualified for a major finals, I had no grey hairs. A few of them were the result of previous encounters with Lithuania. Scotland were held to a goalless draw on their first visit in 1998 and that was followed by a good old boot in the Baltics with a 1-0 defeat five years later. The Lithuanians were beaten 2-1 in September 2006, so Craig Levein will face few surprises against a side who have been in the same qualifying group as Scotland for the last four European Championships. Poland and Ukraine 2012 seems a long way away, but it is a lot closer than the 1998 World Cup, when Scotland last made a major finals - and there is a new mood of optimism in the coach Levein's camp despite last month's friendly defeat in Sweden."

1837: Radomir Djalovic stings Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey's palms with a firm drive on the angle, and the Wolves keeper then has to punch away the resulting corner from under his own bar. Montenegro already showing more than enough to suggest this could be a tricky night's work for John Toshack's side.

1834: Craig Bellamy looking lively in these opening stages for Wales, but Montenegro have the first meaningful effort on goal, Elsad Zverotic firing high, wide and not very handsome over Wayne Hennessey's goal.

1831: Montenegro get us up and running in Podgorica.

redandblackT on 606: "Hope to see Bale transfer his sparkling club form to the national team. He'll be a threat anywhere down the left methinks."

1827: The stands in Podgorica looking more than busy judging by an - admittedly very brief - glimpse of things on the TV. A few hundred hardy Welsh souls have made their way to Montenegro to lend their support, and it looks like they've been rewarded with a rather pleasant early evening in terms of weather so far.

Sun journalist Steve Brenner on Twitter: "New Man Utd signing Bebe sensational for Portugal U21s so far. Sensationally ineffective."

Showoff 606s Most Wanted on 606: "Morison of Millwall is on fire, watch him score for Wales!"

Bruce Pope reports:
"So, Ashley Williams partners James Collins at centre-back for Wales, with Craig Morgan on the bench despite a late injury scare. Wayne Hennessey gets the nod in goal ahead of Boaz Myhill, while Millwall striker Steve Morison - who was playing non-league football less than 18 months ago - wins his first competitive cap. Montenegro - managed by Zlatko Kranjcar, the dad of Tottenham's Nico - are led by Roma forward Mirko Vucinic, but are missing injured Fiorentina playmaker Stevan Jovetic and Spartak Moscow midfielder Nikola Drincic."

Gavlarr on Twitter: "England to play woeful and still nick a 2-1 win? Wouldnt put it past them, shame us Welsh cannot do that!"

England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on Twitter: "Come on England, get behind the lads Tweeples!!!"

1815: So, I think it's agreed that Gareth Bale will be key to Wales's hopes tonight isn't it? He and Craig Bellamy, for sure, need big games in Podgorica - and John Toshak is backing the former to produce the goods. "Gareth's form is not a surprise to us," said the Wales manager. "If you go back to the start of the last World Cup qualifying campaign two years ago, Bale was named man of the match in the first three games - against Azerbaijan, Russia and Liechtenstein. We know full well what Gareth can do." Before adding a rather sly dig at Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp: "I know Harry thinks he's performed some kind of miracle at White Hart Lane but it's certainly no surprise to us. We saw it at an early age." Touchy.

Les Calderwood on Twitter: "Wales may find Montenegro a bigger task than you may imagine..."

Chris, Sunderland via text: "Is that Charlotte Church on the bench for Wales? They've got no chance!"

1810: And another full-time in the U21 qualifiers - Belarus 1-1 Scotland. Quick bit of context for you - in the 10 qualifying groups, the top teams qualify for the play-offs along with the four best runners-up. Scotland are in group 10 and with one game to go, they are level on 14 points with Belarus and Austria - super-tight, and the Scots have a chance real of qualifying. Lovely.

John Haughey reports:
"The Republic of Ireland huff and puff before a late Keith Fahey goal earns a vital win in the opening Euro 2012 qualifier in Armenia."

GKeaveney on Twitter: "A night in with the mates replica kits on... Come on the Green and White Army. Sir David Healy will come good."

Anon via text: "Tonight I feel change will come for England. Gerrard is the key, Capello has learnt a lesson... Old dog, new tricks, c'mon England!"

Sir Alex Ferguson dried my hair on 606: "No disrespect or anything but any Welshman who thinks that team is going to qualify for the Euros is delusional."

1803: If you give this page a cheeky refresh people, BBC Wales' radio coverage of Montenegro-Wales is available as a link on the right-hand side for our UK users. Which is nice.

Mladen Bozovic, Zverotic, Djudovic, Pavicevic, Jovanovic, Basa, Vukcevic, Boskovic, Pekovic, Vucinic, Djalovic. Subs: Blazic, Batak, Beciraj, Novakovic, Vladimir Bozovic, Savic, Delibasic.
Wales: Hennessey, Gunter, Collins, Williams, Ricketts, Ledley, Edwards, Vaughan, Bale, Bellamy, Morison. Subs: Myhill, Evans, Morgan, King, Church, Cotterill, Earnshaw.
Referee: Anastassios Kakos (Greece)

Sam_Walk on Twitter: "I got a feeling for a Rooney hat-trick tonight."

Fraser_Joe, Glasgow via text: "Imperative for the Scots to get off to a winning start tonight! If Kenny Miller can replicate his form at club level, it should be an enjoyable evening for The Tartan Army in Kaunas! Best of luck to all the home nations!"

1757: And as if all that wasn't enough, England's under-21 stars are also in action tonight in a rare twist. They're away against their Portuguese counterparts in their Euro 2011 U21 Euro Championship qualifier and Stuart Pearce's side largely needs to win if they want to retain a realistic hope of reaching the finals. I'll endeavour to keep you across the score there.

Ed Gasson on 606: "Wales are looking stronger than ever. With players like Gareth Bale they definitely can't be ruled out and a win today will do their confidence good too."

1752: Euro 2012 qualifying Danny: "The Republic of Ireland have won in Armenia to get their campaign off to a good start. It was far from comfortable for Giovanni Trapattoni's team, but Keith Fahey's 76th-minute winner secured a 1-0 victory. Russia and Slovakia are also in a tough-looking Group B, so sterner challenges lay ahead..."

Bruce Pope reports:
"Wales will have to win away against a side they have never beaten if they are to get their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign off to a flying start. Mind you, Wales have only played Group G minnows Montenegro once before - losing a friendly 2-1 in Podgorica last year to a nation that only gained full independence from Serbia in 2006. The absence of Montenegro's star striker Stevan Jovetic is a bonus, too, so a win is very much the target for Wales."

nedccfc on Twitter: "Hopefully a Wales-England 1/2 in this group!"

Video Didnt Kill The Radio Star - Eboue Did on 606: "Theo to score 17 goals tonight."

1745: So, in all honesty, what I need from you is to forget about being at all social tonight and to get involved on Euro 2012 qualifying Friday. I want you to get chatting on 606, to text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with FOOTBALL before your message, or to Tweet me on Twitter. It's better than rolling around the stained carpets of your local after one too many pints of the falling down water with kebab sauce all down your jeans isn't it? Ish.

1739: Yes, welcome to Friday night - the new home, alongside Tuesday evenings, of the Euro 2012 qualifiers. Tonight England take on Bulgaria hoping to kick off their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign in much the same way they did their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign... only, you know, without the bitter early exit of the tournament two years on once qualified. And Don Fabio's boys are just one of four home nations involved this evening. They get started at Wembley at 2000 BST, long after Group G rivals Montenegro v Wales (1830 BST) and Group I's Lithuania v Scotland (1915) get us up and running, while Slovenia v Northern Ireland in Group C kicks off at 1945. Basically, it's a bumper night of international football.

1734: Below are the words this week of England captain Steven Gerrard. In other words, consign England's failure at the 2010 World Cup to today's chip-wrap paper, people, for tonight the English national team is reborn. Forget scraping out of the group stages in South Africa, forget the humiliating second-round defeat to Germany, forget the embarrassing public fallout that marked the aftermath, and forget the fact that England still has the same coaching staff, same approach and, for the most part, the same players. This is a 'new' England, an England for whom anything is possible, an England that will learn from past mistakes, an England that will express themselves on the big stage and an England that will shed the weight of a nation's expectation by qualifying easily for Euro 2012 starting with an impressive win over Bulgaria tonight. Erm... right?

1730: "Fabio (Capello) has to be given a chance. There's a lot of blame for our World Cup performance going towards the manager, but it was the players who under-performed. People talk about tactics and stuff but there's only so much that a manager can do. The players have to deliver - and the players didn't deliver in South Africa. The only way we can recover from that now is to improve results - if we can start with a win against Bulgaria on Friday, that will lift the confidence again. We're all desperate to put things right."

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Euro 2012 qualifying results

3 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

  • Andorra0-2Russia
  • Armenia0-1Rep of Ireland
  • Belgium0-1Germany
  • England4-0Bulgaria
  • Estonia1-2Italy
  • Faroe Islands0-3Serbia
  • France0-1Belarus
  • Greece1-1Georgia
  • Iceland1-2Norway
  • Kazakhstan0-3Turkey
  • Latvia0-3Croatia
  • Liechtenstein0-4Spain
  • Lithuania0-0Scotland
  • Luxembourg0-3Bosnia-H
  • Moldova2-0Finland
  • Montenegro1-0Wales
  • Portugal4-4Cyprus
  • Romania1-1Albania
  • San Marino0-5Netherlands
  • Slovakia1-0FYR Macedonia
  • Slovenia0-1Northern Ireland
  • Sweden2-0Hungary

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