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Euro 2008 qualifiers clockwatch


Group B
France 3-1 Italy

Lithuania 1-2 Scotland

Group E
Macedonia 0-1 England

Group F
Northern Ireland 3-2 Spain


By Charlie Henderson

2230: Next up on the decks is the Great Escape as fans finally begin to turn for the Windsor Park exits.

2224: Windsor Park is hosting the biggest karaoke party in the world tonight. It's now Tony Christie's old favourite, Amarillo.

2220: The Northern Ireland team return to the pitch for a lap of honour and are welcomed by the stadium announcer bellowing: "You are the best fans in Europe and this is the best wee team in the world." The players are being serenaded by a singalong to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline". Sensational scenes.

"You've got to hand it to the manager and the players gave 110%. It amazes me that David Healy is not playing in the Premiership - the first goal was instinctive and the third was superlative. This is better than the England result."
Billy Hamilton, BBC Sport NI

"A fantastic performance. I knew they hand goals in them and it was great entertainment. The whole performance, as a unit, was tremendous. They worked tremendously hard. I knew we had the players to rattle them and they showed real guts to come back."
Gerry Armstrong, BBC Sport N

2212: FULL-TIME: Northern Ireland 3-2 Spain
That's the final whistle for real this time and Windsor Park is ecstatic. How do you explain the turnaround from the 3-0 loss to Iceland? I don't think the crowd care. This is a famous result and they will be spilling out into the pubs and clubs of Belfast to celebrate long into the night - if the singing and dancing ever stops in the stands at Windsor Park. It should be a good night for publicans in Ulster.

2211: The crowd think the referee's whistle is for full time, but their cheers are cut short when they realise it is just a free-kick to Spain. It eats up time though. We are into the final seconds.

2209: Every green shirt is back in defence and they have three minutes of added time to see out for a famous victory.

2208: It is another corner to Spain as Maik Taylor comes out fast to smother a shot from Xabi Alonso. A woeful delivery but the visitors maintain possession to a backdrop of deafening jeers until they earn another corner.

2205: Spain are plotting a path through the mass-ranked green shirts but it is to no avail. A corner will have to do. They clear that but are soon indebted to Maik Taylor who palms away a rasping volley from Carles Puyol.

2204: We are into the final five minutes at Windsor Park. Can the hosts hold on for their first win over Spain since the 1982 World Cup?

2202: David Healy is given a thunderous ovation as he is substituted for Warren Feeney.

2158: GOAL Northern Ireland 3-2 Spain
David Healy scores his third of the night for Northern Ireland. It is vintage route one from Lawrie Sanchez's book of tactics and a quite wonderful finish as Healy dinks Maik Taylor's long clearance over Iker Casillas with his first touch. A nonchalant touch from the striker and Windsor Park is rocking.

2157: FULL-TIME France 3-1 Italy
France get revenge for that World Cup final loss on penalties to move second in Group B behind Scotland.

2156: A chance at the other end, but Maik Taylor reaches high to claim Antonio Lopez's flicked header.

2155: Steve Davis latches on to a headed clearance on the edge of the Spain area and rifles in a low shot that Iker Casillas is equal to and smothers. Lawrie Sanchez is prowling the touchline and the home crowd are bellowing their support.

2152: Northern Ireland get lucky as Spain hit the post. Raul lunges to reach Xavi's long pass but his effort bounces against the woodwork.

2150: David Healy is rattling Spain. He's given the full treatment by Carles Puyol in the form of a body check and the Barcelona defender is booked.

"I said it would be tricky and it was. But the end result is what matters and there are six points in the bag - you cannot argue with that. You have to win these games. We can talk about these performances until the cows come home, but the points are in the bag."
Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live Sport

2148: FULL-TIME Macedonia 0-1 England
It wasn't a vintage performance but the job is done. It is the first time in 10 years that England have won their opening two games in a qualifying campaign and they top Group E.

2147: Macedonia goalkeeper Jane Nikolovski comes up for a late free-kick. It was a wasted jog up the pitch as the referee blows for a foul in the box.

2146: One last push from Macedonia but they will not get very far with that tactic. Paul Robinson easily claims a long ball into the box.

2144: In a scrappy end to proceedings in Macedonia there is another yellow card for England as Ashley Cole is booked for time-wasting at a throw-in. There will be three minutes of added time.

2143: GOAL Northern Ireland 2-2 Spain
For the second time David Healy pulls Northern Ireland level as he sweeps the ball home from a cleverly-worked free-kick to claim his 22nd international goal.

2142: Steven Gerrard is booked as England make a final change, Andrew Johnson coming on for Peter Crouch.

2138: Michael Carrick replaces Frank Lampard. There are five minutes remaining in Macedonia.

2137: Ashley Cole blocks a cross and concedes a corner after Ace Stojkov bursts into the box. England struggle to clear the ball, Paul Robinson fails to get his hands to an acute shot before Cole whacks the ball clear of the line - after an air shot at the first time of asking! England are living dangerously.

2136: The result from San Marino will add more fuel to the debate about minnows playing in qualifying campaigns. Germany have won 13-0. It is the biggest win in European qualifying.

2135: Macedonia's Goran Pandev lashes a shot in on goal and shouts go up for a penalty after the ball ricochets off John Terry's arm. Home fans are disappointed as the referee waves play on.

2134: Artem Sakiri holds off Rio Ferdinand on the right and drills a low shot wide of the England goal.

2132: A first substitution for England with Aaron Lennon coming on for Tottenham team-mate Jermain Defoe. He takes up a spot on the right with Steven Gerrard stepping further into the heart of midfield.

2131: GOAL Northern Ireland 1-2 Spain
Spain are back in front with a goal from David Villa who punishes Northern Ireland's defensive uncertainty. The home side fail to clear the ball and Cesc Fabregas' dinked pass releases Villa, who sidefoots past Maik Taylor.

2129: A huge cheer at the Gradski Stadium as Artem Sakiri comes on for Ilco Naumoski. That is Macedonia's third and final change. Steve McClaren has yet to call on any of his replacements but Aaron Lennon and Michael Carrick is out and warming up.

2128: Macedonia are building up a head of steam and Goran Pandev chances his arm from outside the area. It is straight down Paul Robinson's throat.

2126: Jermain Defoe shows a turn of speed to get past one defender on the left but a second thunders in to concede a corner. Frank Lampard and John Terry combine at the corner with the England skipper peeling away to the edge of the area but his volley goes narrowly wide.

2124: Northern Ireland and Spain resume.

2121: A fourth yellow card of the night in Skopje and a third for Macedonia. Goran Pandev goes into the French referee's notebook for a trip on Frank Lampard.

2120: Steven Gerrard waits an eternity for a poor clearance to drop to him on the edge of the box. When it finally drops his first touch takes it past the defender and his second is stabbed on goal but saved.

2119: GOAL France 3-1 Italy
Sidney Govou scores his second of the night, powerfully heading home Willy Sagnol's cross.

2117: Peter Crouch is treading a fine line. He is all over Nikolce Novevski like a randy octopus and concedes a free-kick.

2115: Peter Crouch is booked for a challenge on Nikolce Novevski.

2112: England break and Jermain Defoe has the ball at his feet. The Tottenham man canters over halfway but fails to spot a charging run from Stewart Downing down the left.

2107: HALF-TIME Northern Ireland 1-1 Spain
Northern Ireland are given a huge cheer at half-time as the whistle goes at Windsor Park.

2106: England are on the back foot again. Steven Gerrard heads a cross clear and even Peter Crouch is back to help the defence, clubbing a clearance away - to nobody in attack.

2105: Kyle Lafferty comes desperately close to giving Northern Ireland the lead in first-half stoppage time. Iker Casillas dashes out to Steve Davis' cross but is beaten by Lafferty who is unable to get any direction on his header. Spain immediately respond with a swift counterattack and Fernando Torres sidefoots over with the goal at his mercy.

2102: Group G result Denmark, who are in Northern Ireland's group, kick off their campaign with a 2-0 win in Iceland.

2101: GOAL Macedonia 0-1 England
Just like Scotland, England strike within seconds of the re-start. Frank Lampard charges down an attempted clearance and hooks the ball into the box where Peter Crouch acrobatically volleys a shot in off the bar.

2100: The action resumes in Macedonia.

2058: The home crowd cheer a yellow card for Antonio Lopez. At the other end there's another huge cheer for Kyle Lafferty who tracks back to take the ball off Fernando Torres.

2057: There is a break in play as Kyle Lafferty receives treatment after taking a battering from two defenders under a high ball. It gives the buoyant crowd a chance to gee on their team with some lively renditions.

2053: Cesc Fabregas wastes no time in getting involved. He lines up a shot that is deflected wide and from the corner Xabi Alonso powers an effort over the bar.

2047: Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas has come on for Spain in place of David Albelda.

"Other than the last five minutes it was disappointing. I've been surprised. We've been led to believe that England are coming on and have a better tempo, but we haven't seen that. Hopefully those last five minutes are a good sign for the second half."
Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live Sport

2045: HALF-TIME Macedonia 0-0 England
The last time England came to Skopje Alan Hansen described it as mediocre. Unless they step it up in the second period he may be even more scathing on tonight's Match of the Day - 1040 BST if you haven't got your TV listings to hand.

2044: Having equalised for Northern Ireland striker David Healy needs treatment on the touchline after hurting himself in a challenge with Carles Puyol. He comes back on and the home fans will be hoping he stays on after netting his 21st goal for his country.

2043: Frank Lampard opts for the direct route and rounds off a run on goal with a low shot that is pushed round the post. These last few minutes have been the best off the match in Macedonia.

2041: That Velice Sumulikovski shot has lifted the Macedonian crowd and in turn the team. They are pushing forward and playing with aplomb. A neat exchange of passes on the edge of the area but the return is over-hit and goes through to Paul Robinson.

2040: John Terry is a big unit and it is a good job two. He gets the full figure of his frame behind a shot from Velice Sumulikovski to block his goal-bound shot.

2038: GOAL Northern Ireland 1-1 Spain
Northern Ireland pull level against at Windsor Park with David Healy capitalising on a Xabi Alonso's mistake. The Leeds striker pounces on Alonso's header back to Iker Casillas and touches the ball past the Real Madrid keeper.

2037: Vlade Lazarevski earns a second yellow card for Macedonia for a cynical challenge on Ashley Cole who was in full stride on the left.

2035: Another corner to England and Stewart Downing steps up to swing this in. Peter Crouch goes to ground under a challenge from Nikolce Novevski and Macedonia stroll the ball out of defence with ease. Surely it was a penalty!

2032: Northern Ireland 0-1 Spain
Spain are ahead at Windsor Park with their first attack of the game. Antonio Lopez's crosses from the right and Xavi flashes a volley past substitute Maik Taylor. It is Spain's 1,000th international goal.

2029: Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll looks distraught as trudges down the tunnel to be replaced by Maik Taylor

2028: Macedonia are doing well, maintaining possession and pressuring England all over the park, but Robert Petrov's delivery from the flank sums up their problem. There is no cutting edge or dynamism to their team.

2026: Northern Ireland are making an encouraging start as Mike Duff's cross causes panic in the Spanish box. But at the other end there's as Roy Carroll requires extensive treatment for a groin injury. He stays on but it doesn't look likely that he will stay on.

2025: It's all action in Paris, but that's not exactly the case in Skopje. England win a corner after Peter Crouch's header is palmed over but the delivery is shocking and Macedonia clear.

2024: GOAL France 2-1 Italy
Alberto Gilardino heads home an Andrea Pirlo free-kick from the right. That's the first Euro qualifying goal France have conceded in an age.

2022: GOAL France 2-0 Italy
Arsenal striker Thierry Henry doubles France's lead with a deflected shot off Fabio Cannavaro.

2020: Group F result Action elsewhere from Northern Ireland's group and Sweden maintain their 100% start to the campaign with a 3-1 win at home to Liechtenstein .

2019: What's going on in Macedonia? Not a lot. I'll hand the stage to former England manager Graham Taylor. "This is not the best of games at all," is his verdict on BBC Five Live Sport.

2018: Spain get the action started in Belfast.

2015: It's anthem time in Belfast but the Spanish singalong is a quiet affair. There's only a small contingent of visiting fans after 300 tickets were returned.

2014: England are being tested by Macedonia and are spending the majority of their time in their own half.

2012: Phil Neville concedes a free-kick by the corner flag, but England do well and clear the danger.

2011: Since then Spain have had the upper hand, winning seven of the subsequent 10 meetings. Northern Ireland have never scored against Spain in four previous matches in Belfast. Most recently they drew 0-0 in June 2003 in qualifying for the last Euro Championships, and went down 5-0 the time before that.

2010: The teams emerge at Windsor Park and the hosts get a great reception. Northern Ireland famously won the first meeting between the two sides at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Gerry Armstrong scoring the winner in a 1-0 win. How home fans must be dreaming of a repeat.

2009: There is a good atmosphere building in Belfast for the visit of Spain who opened their campaign with a 4-0 victory over Liechtenstein. Northern Ireland lost 3-0 at home to Iceland at the weekend.

2007: Back in Macedonia, the hosts have started well and both keepers are largely bystanders in the opening exchanges.

2006: GOAL France 1-0 Italy
In a replay of the World Cup final, this time in Paris, France make a fast start. William Gallas crosses from the left to the far stick where Sidney Govou plants his right foot on the ball and volleys it beyond Gigi Buffon. Just 69 seconds gone and it is 1-0.

2003: The Northern Ireland team news is in and manager Lawrie Sanchez brings in two 18-year-old players for the game against Spain.

Jonny Evans of Manchester United makes his debut at the back while Burnley's Kyle Lafferty partners David Healy up front. Roy Carroll comes in for goalkeeper Maik Taylor.

Liverpool's Xabi Alonso is the only British-based player to make the Spain team.

Northern Ireland: Carroll, Duff, Aaron Hughes, Craigan, Evans, Gillespie, Clingan, Davis, Baird, Healy, Lafferty.
Subs: Taylor, McAuley, Feeney, Elliott, McCann, Quinn, Jones.

Spain: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Pablo, Antonio Lopez, Albelda, Xavi, Alonso, Torres, Villa, Raul.
Subs: Reina, Salgado, Marchena, Reyes, Luis Garcia, Iniesta, Fabregas.

Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium).

2000: Wow! A yellow card already after Ilco Naumoski challenges Paul Robinson.

1959: Macedonia kick off the action in Skopje.

1955: That is quite simply a terrible rendition of the national anthem by a women in the centre circle. Peter Crouch turns round with a look of bemusement. Her flamenco-style dress must only add to his sense of amusement. The home fans mark the rendition with respect before bellowing out their own anthem, which is a bit of a dirge.

1953: Group E result Israel have leapfrogged England and Macedonia to pole position in the table after a 4-1 win over Andorra in Holland.

1952: Here come the teams in Skopje for Steve McClaren's first game in charge on foreign soil. Macedonia are in red and England in white.

1951: It is three years to the day since that match, which England won 2-1 with goals from Wayne Rooney and David Beckham. Rooney became the youngest England goalscorer in the process. Alan Hansen described it as a "mediocre" performance, with "terrible defending".

1948: Looks can be deceptive. The weather may be set fair, but the reception will be hostile. The last time England went to Skopje, Artim Sakiri told David Beckham "you are going to die tonight" and the match was marred by crowd trouble with Emile Heskey the focus of racist abuse. Uefa has warned Macedonian officials any repeat tonight will result in an automatic 3-0 win to England.

1947: Skopje is an hour ahead of the UK and the estimated 3,000 travelling fans look to be enjoying the pleasant weather in the Balkans.

"Andorra was an easy game. Macedonia is a tricky game, but England should overcome their opponents."
Graham Taylor, BBC Five Live Sport

1944: While England strolled to victory over Andorra at the weekend, Macedonia have had 10 days to prepare for this match.

1942: And more recently, they opened up their qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Estonia. Goce Sedloski scored the winner which was the first goal in the whole of the Euro 2008 tournament.

1939: Over the summer they played Ecuador and Turkey. The 2-1 victory over the Ecuadorians was their first over South American opponents. That was followed by a 1-0 win against Turkey.

1937: What about Macedonia who also have a new coach - Srecko Katanec. They have lost just once in four matches under the Slovenian who led his Slovenia side to the finals of Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup.

1934: We all know what happened to England in the summer, but that was Sven. Now it's Macca and his pearly whites. Steve McClaren must wonder what all the fuss is about. Two matches played, two wins, nine goals scored and none conceded. Happy days.

1930: So then, all eyes are on England v Macedonia and Northern Ireland v Spain now. Steve McClaren's team kick-off at 2000 BST in Skopje, while the action starts in Belfast 15 minutes later.

"What a terrific start for Scotland after the Faroes with six points against two tricky nations. It was a poor first half but what a performance and, more importantly, what a result."
Roddy Forsythe, BBC Five Live Sport

1920: FULL-TIME Lithuania 1-2 Scotland
That's it and Scotland top Group B and maintain their 100% start to the qualifying campaign. The visiting fans are going barmy on a balmy evening in Kaunas, massed ranks of blue-clad supporters jumping as one.

1919: Scotland break and from an acute angle on the right Kris Boyd's shot is smothered behind for a corner. With time running out that is almost as a good as a goal for the visitors.

1918: Lithuania are piling forward, but Scotland hold firm at the back. Frantic calls for a home penalty fall on deaf ears.

1916: Scotland look to eat up some time with a late change, Scott Severin replacing Paul Hartley.

1915: This is by no means over. After a quick break Tomas Danilevicius flashes a shot just wide.

1912: GOAL Lithuania 1-2 Scotland
Lithuania finally get a goal and it is the substitute Darius Miceika who scores with a spectacular overhead kick after a Mindaugas Kalonas corner is headed back across the area. Can the hosts get something out of this game?

1909: A final change for Lithuania as they look to turn this around in the final 10 minutes. Darius Miceika comes on for Aidas Preiksaitis.

1908: The Macedonia and England teams are in. England make one change from the side that beat Andorra 5-0 on Saturday, replacing Wes Brown with Rio Ferdinand in central defence.

For Macedonia, Lazio forward Goran Pandev will play in a deeper role behind strikers Ilco Naumovski and Goran Maznov. The country's most capped player - former West Brom midfielder Artim Sakiri - is on the bench.

FYR Macedonia: Nikolovski, Noveski, Petrov, Sedloski, Igor Mitreski, Lazarevski, Jancevski, Sumulikoski, Naumoski, Maznov, Pandev. Subs: Pacovski, Sakiri, Tasevski, Aleksander Mitreski, Vasovski, Grozdanovski, Stojkov.

England: Robinson, Neville, Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Gerrard, Hargreaves, Lampard, Downing, Crouch, Defoe.
Subs: Foster, Bridge, Brown, Carrick, Lennon, Bent, Johnson.

Referee: Bertrand Layec (France)

1905: The lively Mindaugas Kalonas, who looks like the Robbie Savage of Lithuanian football with his luxuriant blonde locks, is booked for diving.

1904: Scotland push for a third and Kris Boyd almost delivers but mis-times his header from Graham Alexander's cross and it is off target.

1903: You know who fires another shot high and wide after good work by his team-mates. Step forward Robertas Poskus.

1858: Dinamo Moscow striker Robertas Poskus clearly has not bought his shooting boots with him across the border. Again he gets a sight of goal. Again he fails to hit the target.

1856: Group B result Ukraine join Scotland on three points in their qualifying group after coming from behind to beat Georgia 3-2 at home. Another 20-odd minutes and Scotland will hope they are again three points clear of Andriy Shevchenko and co.

1855: Scotland are exerting good control, but they must stay on their guard. As if to emphasise that Robertas Poskus works some space in the box but his hooked shot is just wide.

1854: Graham Alexander steps in off the right flank, having been picked out by Darren Fletcher, and fires a low shot in on goal. It is well saved.

1850: The two goals have been scored by survivors from Scotland's last visit to these parts in 2003. Christian Dailly, Kenny Miller, Steven Pressley and Gary Naysmith all played in that 1-0 defeat.

1849: GOAL Lithuania 0-2 Scotland
Robertas Poskus is booked for a petulant push deep in Scotland's half and it proves costly. Kenny Miller pounces on Craig Gordon's long free-kick as it bounces through the Lithuania ranks and chests the ball away from the defender before lashing in on the turn with his right foot.

1846: What a chance for Scotland to double their lead. Paul Hartley's free-kick finds its way through the home defence but Steven Pressley is unable to get his head on the end of it. Kenny Miller is fuming and punches the air in frustration at the miss.

1845: Darren Fletcher whips in a delicious cross from the right and Kris Boyd's flashing header goes narrowly wide.

1843: A booking for Gary Caldwell as he brings a Lithuania break to an end with a crude challenge on Rolandas Dziaukstas. The free-kick causes pandemonium in the Scotland box and the ball falls for Robertas Poskus who blazes over from six yards. What a miss!

1841: Tomas Tamosauskas is straight into the heart of the action as Lithuania push forward and earn a corner. Marius Stankevicius heads the delivery from Mindaugas Kalonas well over the bar.

1837: Lithuania respond by making a change. Midfielder Mantas Savenas makes way for Tomas Tamosauskas.

1833: GOAL Lithuania 0-1 Scotland
Scotland are out of the blocks fast. Kenny Miller's mazy run and shot forces a near post save by Zydrunas Karcemarskas. From Gary Naysmith's resulting corner Christian Dailly climbs high and powers in a header.

1832: The teams are back out and the action resumes.

1816: HALF-TIME Lithuania 0-0 Scotland
After two minutes of added time that's it for the time being. Scotland have survived a torrid test, but despite Lithuania's dominance Craig Gordon has rarely been troubled in the away goal.

1814: Another enforced change for Scotland with Nigel Quashie, who took a knock earlier, making way for Kris Boyd. Paul Hartley drops back with Boyd playing in the supporting role now.

1813: That one is right out of the George Graham masterclass on defending. Kenny Miller races through on to a Paul Hartley pass, but the home defence steps forward as one with arms raised to claim the offside. It's like watching Tony Adams et al in their away shirts circa 1989.

1810: David Weir wrestles Saulius Mikoliunas to the ground on the edge of the area. The skipper is booked for his troubles but stands tall at the resulting free-kick to head the set-piece clear.

1809: What were they saying about the pitch? A precise pass from Kenny Miller looks set for Gary Naysmith's in-step before it bobbles and balloons over the top of his boot and out for a throw.

1804: Lithuania are slipping back up through the gears again. Nice play but again it is the final delivery that lets them down, over-lapping left-back Rolandas Dziaukstas the culprit on this occasion.

1801: The locals want to see a yellow for Gary Naysmith now after he brings down Tomas Danilevicus. No booking, but the free-kick puts Scotland under pressure and Craig Gordon gathers a Danilevicus header ahead of two on-rushing yellow shirts.

1759: Bad news for Scotland. Kenny Miller catches Rolandas Dziaukstas and is given a yellow card. Following his booking against the Faroes that means the striker will have to sit out the qualifier versus France.

1757: Group E result News in from Moscow where Russia and Croatia, who are in England's group, share the spoils in a 0-0 draw.

1756: It is a really open and entertaining match and Scotland finally look to have drawn the early sting from their hosts who started at the proverbial 100-miles-an-hour.

1753: A Scotland change and James McFadden was carrying a knock after all. Graham Alexander comes on with Paul Hartley pushing up into the support role behind Kenny Miller and Christian Dailly stepping further forward to accommodate Alexander.

1752: Here come Lithuania again and Mindaugas Kalonas is given far too much space. His shot from distance is dragged narrowly wide.

1748: Apologies for the scare regarding James McFadden. He looks fine as he gets stuck into defensive duties and wins the ball to give Scotland some semblance of respite from Lithuania's dominance.

1746: Has James McFadden got a problem? The Everton man seems to be walking pretty gingerly.

1743: That was a woeful free-kick. As Scotland break Aidas Preiksaitis trips Christian Dailly as he gallops down the right. Another yellow card for Lithuania.

1742: Weather wise it's a fine, sunny evening in Kaunas and the local time's 1942. Home fans are making a right din blowing a variety of horns and they do it with gusto after Nigel Quashie concedes a free-kick on the edge of the area.

1740: Tomas Zvirgzduaskas earns a yellow card for a deliberate handball in a tangle with Kenny Miller. He deserved one for simply having a ridiculously hard name to spell!

1737: Darren Fletcher, Christian Dailly and Kenny Miller combine in a quick Scottish break which results in a corner. James McFadden's fine delivery causes panic in the box but no blue shirt is able to get on the end of the ball to make a telling touch.

1736: Another corner to the hosts after a good run from Robertas Poskus down the right, but nothing comes from it.

1733: What a start! Straight up the other end and Nigel Quashie forces a fine parried save with a firm shot from the edge of the area.

1732: Scotland are on the back foot and the decision to go with a defensive reinforcement looks like a good one. Christian Dailly heads a Tomas Zvirgzduaskas placed shot off the line after a corner.

1730: Scotland get the ball rolling. The change to the side means Kenny Miller is operating as a lone striker with Gary Caldwell adding presence to the defence.

1728: The teams peel away to opposite halves of this pot-marked pitch which is surrounded by a post-box red running track.

1726: Hearty singing from the Tartan Army in the crowd for Flower of Scotland prior to the kick off and a solid rendition of the Lithuanian national anthem with the home fans all holding their green and yellow scarves high above their heads. Colourful stuff.

1724: David Weir, winning his 50th cap, leads Scotland out.

1723: These two countries have played four times before and this is the third consecutive time they have been drawn against each other in qualifying for the European Championship. Scotland have won twice and Lithuania once.

1721: For their part, Scotland are unbeaten in three games since losing to Switzerland in March. They have beaten Bulgaria and the Faroes and drew against Japan.

1718: Prior to the Italy draw, Lithuania had played three games in 2006, winning two, in Poland and Albania, and losing on the road in Moldova in August.

"They're not as good as that draw made them seem. Scotland have developed a counter-attacking game under Walter Smith and if they do that they could do well."
Roddy Forsythe, BBC Five Live Sport

1714: The home coach is also in bullish mood because while Scotland hammered six past the Faroes, Lithuania held world champions Italy to a 1-1 draw in Naples. "It was good for Scotland to win but it was not a proper match," said Algimantas Liubinskas. "But for us in Italy, that was a fantastic result."

1709: There's no sign of speedway world champion Jason Crump at the ground, but you don't need to be Alan Titchmarsh to spot a problem with this bit of grass at the Dariaus Ir Gireno Stadium - particularly in the penalty areas.

1705: Lithuania boss Algimantas Liubinskas has dismissed talk of a sub-standard pitch and calls that his side are cheats. "Scotland as a team are a headache for us but not individually," he said. "It is no concern to us that the Scottish players are talking about cheating."

1702: And the rivalry has been ratcheted up in the last 24 hours after the visitors took a look at the Kaunas pitch they will be playing on. Nigel Quashie said he was shocked by the state of it and likened it to a "speedway track".

1656: The Hearts link adds a bit of spice to this Euro qualifier. Three Tynecastle-based players are in the Scotland side - Craig Gordon, Steven Pressley and Paul Hartley - and the Lithuanian contingent have got seats booked on the Scottish charter flight home after the match.

1649: For hosts Lithuania, Hearts midfielder Deividas Cesnauskis joins club-mate Edgaras Jankauskas on the sidelines with injury. Another Jambo, midfielder Saulius Mikoliunas, does play.

1644: The teams are in for Scotland's Group B match against Lithuania. Scottish boss Walter Smith has made one change to the team that beat the Faroe Islands 6-0 at the weekend, with Gary Caldwell coming in for Kris Boyd.

Lithuania: Karcemarskas, Stankevicius, Dziaukstas, Skerla, Zvirgzdauskas, Savenas, Kalonas, Mikoliunas, Preiksaitis, Poskus, Danilevicius.
Subs: Malinauskas, Paulauskas, Labukas, Zelmikas, Miceika, Tamosauskas, Kavaliauskas.

Scotland: Gordon, Dailly, Weir, Caldwell, Naysmith, Pressley, Fletcher, Quashie, McFadden, Hartley, Miller.
Subs: Neil Alexander, Graham Alexander, Anderson, Neilson, Boyd, Severin, Teale.

Referee: Vladimir Hrinak (Slovakia).

Round-up of Euro 2008 qualifiers
06 Sep 06 |  Internationals


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