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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 September 2005, 22:33 GMT 23:33 UK
Ukraine clinch place at World Cup
Ukraine became the first European country to qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals after they drew in Georgia and Turkey failed to beat Denmark.

Elsewhere, England's Group Six rivals Poland kept top place after a thrilling 3-2 home victory over Austria.

France beat the Faroe Islands to draw level with Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland at the top of Group Four.

Scotland's chances of making the play-offs were hit when Norway snatched a 3-2 win in Slovenia in Group Five.


Holland are guaranteed at least a play-off place after beating Armenia 1-0 in Yerevan, although they put in a poor performance.

Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy's turned and shot home after being set up by Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

The Czech Republic, who are four points behind on 21 having also played nine games, face the Dutch next month and can still overhaul them.

But they suffered a setback when Juventus' Adrian Mutu scored twice to secure a 2-0 home victory for Romania, who can only hope for second place.


Ruslan Rotan put Ukraine ahead in the first half in Tiblisi it looked to be enough to send them through to Germany until Georgi Gakhokidze netted in the 89th minute for Georgia.

But the Ukrainians were still celebrating a few hours later when substitute Soren Larsen netted in time added on to secure a point for Denmark in Istanbul.

Claus Jensen had fired Denmark ahead, only for Okan Buruk and Tumer Metin's long-range free-kick to turn the game around.

Larsen's strike means the Danes can still finish second, although it is more likely to be a battle between European Champions Greece and the Turks.


Portugal are strong favourites to go through as group winners after Pauleta and Sabrosa Simao grabbed two goals in their 6-0 thrashing of Luxembourg.

They are five points ahead of Slovakia and Russia, who had a brace from Alexander Kerzhakov to thank for their 2-0 victory against Liechtenstein.

But Latvia's hopes of catching the second-placed duo are doomed after they lost 2-1 in Tallinn to Estonia.

Andres Oper and Maksim Smirnov breached the Latvian defence to make it 2-0 and Jurijs Laizans' last-minute strike mattered little.


France, with Zinedine Zidane, Claude Makelele and Lilian Thuram back, cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Faroe Islands to set up a three-way tie at the top.

Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse netted twice and Suni Olsen deflected his cross into his own net as the French dominated in Lens.

Switzerland are also on 13 points after their 1-1 draw with unbeaten Israel in Basel.

Alexander Frei put the Swiss ahead after only five minutes but Adoram Keise equalised 15 minutes later - the sixth time Israel have had to come from a goal down in eight games.


Scotland have to win in Norway on Wednesday to have any chance of finishing second after they let slip a 1-0 lead against leaders Italy.

The Scots looked to be heading for a famous win when Kenny Miller gave them an early advantage but substitute Fabio Grosso dashed their hopes when he found the target 14 minutes from time.

The Norwegians then opened up a five-point gap over Scotland when Morten Gamst Pedersen settled a five-goal thriller with Slovenia by netting in the last minute.

Norway are strong favourites to reach at least the play-offs as the Scots must also travel to Slovenia for their last game in October.


Poland remain top - but only just after holding off a determined Austria side 3-2.

Euzebiusz Smolarek, Kamil Kosowski and Maciej Zurawksi, who netted from the rebound after his penalty was saved, helped them go 3-1 up.

But Roland Linz notched two goals and hit the bar late on as Austria exposed the Poles' defensive weaknesses.

England, who put in an unconvincing performance to win 1-0 in Cardiff in Wales, thanks to Joe Cole's deflected strike, are two points behind Poland but with a game in hand.


Serbia & Montenegro took over from Spain - whom they face on Wednesday - as leaders after beating Lithuania 2-0 in Belgrade.

Former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman and Sasa Ilic scored either side of the interval for the home side, who became the first team to play seven successive qualifiers without conceding a goal.

Bosnia moved into third place after beating Belgium and they retain an outside chance of making progress.

But it looks all over for the Belgians who offered little in attack and were beaten by Sergej Barbarez's swerving free kick.


Rivals Croatia and Sweden both recorded comfortable victories and this group also looks like it will go down to the wire.

Ex-Aston Villa frontman Bosko Balaban struck twice as the Croats won 3-1 in Iceland, despite Chelsea star Eidur Gudjohnsen's opener for the home side.

Freddie Ljungberg set Sweden on the way to a 3-0 triumph against Bulgaria, who had midfielder Blagoj Georgijev sent off.

Croatia are a point ahead of the Swedes and their clash on 8 October in Zagreb is likely to be the decider as to who goes through automatically.


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