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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Euro 2008 qualifying as it happened
Czech Republic 1-0 Republic of Ireland England 3-0 Russia France 0-1 Scotland Iceland 2-1 Northern Ireland Slovakia 2-5 Wales


By Charlie Henderson

Player of the day: Craig Bellamy set the standard early, but he has been pipped at the post by another two-goal hero, Michael Owen. The England striker is polling 8.94 compared to the Welshman's 8.73. Scotland keeper Craig Gordon takes the plaudits in Paris with a rank of 8.62.

2155: A month and one day off before the international action takes centre stage again. Stick with the BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5live for all the reaction from Wednesday night's games.

Euro 2008 qualifying: Saturday 13 October

  • Cyprus v Wales
  • England v Estonia
  • Republic of Ireland v Germany
  • Scotland v Ukraine
  • Northern Ireland have the round off

    2154: Grab the phone and dial Alan Green on BBC Radio 5live's 606 if you want to rant and rave in delight or devastation at any of the results. Phone 0500 909693 or text in on 85058. Alternatively, log on to 606 and have your say there...

    2153: FULL-TIME France 0-1 Scotland
    Absolutely amazing. Scotland have done a qualifying double over France and go top of Group B - B for brilliant. The boys in white lead Italy by a point and the French by two.

  • Highlights are on BBC Scotland at 2240 BST.

    "In all my years of watching Scotland I have never seen such a transcendent result or performance away from home. They have beaten the World Cup runners-up not once, but twice - 1-0 at home and 1-0 away from home."
    Roddy Forsyth, BBC Radio 5live commentator

    "Surrounded by Aussies and South Africans here in Paris, and we all finished the game singing 'Allez les Blancs'. Vive l'Ecosse!"
    Richard, in Paris, via text on 81111

    2152: Another France corner. Barry Ferguson blocks a France near-post header and it's another corner. Scotland clear.

    2151: Scotland finally get more than a glancing feel of the ball as Scott Brown tackles Florent Malouda. Three passes. It feels like the best sweeping move you've ever seen and gives them a slight breather.

    2150: Florent Malouda breaks down the right, but his square pass is aimless. Scotland clear.

    2149: There will be three minutes of added time in Paris. Another corner for France. Yet again the men in white hold firm.

    2149: FULL-TIME England 3-0 Russia
    Easy in the end, although England had some edgy moments. So is this another false dawn or a new dawn? England open up a two-point lead over Russia and go second in Group E behind Croatia. When the teams next meet in Moscow, Steve McClaren's side, who now have the best defensive record in qualifying, could and should be five points clear of their Russian rivals.

    "A magnificent four days work for England and coach Steve McClaren. No blots on England's landscape tonight, Wembley feels like home again and the much-admired Hiddink has some thinking to do before the return. Top marks to Owen and Barry - but every England player can take pride in their performance. As can the coach, who deserves to bask in victory after receiving so much criticism, of which the constructive kind was warranted."
    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

    "McClaren has proved to be an inspiration. Already well on his way to being the greatest England manager in history. The man is a tactical genius. The world is once again in awe of England's football might."
    jim040z on 606

    2148: Samir Nasri's shot is straight at Craig Gordon.

    2147: Raymond Domenech is pacing his technical area and throws his head back with typically Gallic drama as his team fail to find a way through Scotland... again.

    2146: Alex McLeish has taken a leaf out of the Sir Alex Ferguson school of management and is masticating furiously on some gum. Sir Alex is probably doing likewise up in the stands.

    2145: Anxious whistles from the Scotland fans. Five minutes to go and those five minutes will feel like a lifetime. Karim Benzema fires wide.

    2144: Lassana Diarra releases Franck Ribery on the left of the box. Another shot from the Bayern Munich man is deflected behind for a corner.

    2143: All hands to the deck for Scotland. They repel France from yet another corner, lump it upfield but Garry O'Connor can't hold on to the ball for longer than a millisecond. Here come France again.

    2142: Franck Ribery looks to dance through a crowded Scotland defence but his shot is deflected behind for a corner.

    2141: That's England sorted. All eyes on Paris and Scotland.

    2140: GOAL England 3-0 Russia
    A poor effort from the Russia keeper but Rio Ferdinand won't give a damn. The centre-back collects a Michael Owen pass in the box after a corner, shapes to backheel to Gareth Barry before stepping clear from his marker and firing in at the near post for his second goal in England colours.

    2139: Italy have taken the spoils against Ukraine. Can Scotland do likewise against France in Group B? Into the last 10 minutes in Paris.

    2138: France boost their attacking options as Karim Benzema - the top scorer in Le Championnat - replaces defender Eric Abidal.

    2137: Mickael Landreau, France's only starter who actually plays in France, easily saves Barry Ferguson's low free-kick.

    2136: A good save from Russia's Vyacheslav Malafeev, palming away a Shaun Wright-Phillips shot which bounces just in front of him and kicks up off the turf.

    2135: A wholesale change to Scotland's one-man attack - Garry O'Connor for James McFadden. An attacking change for England as well, Peter Crouch replacing Emile Heskey.

    2134: A booking for Joe Cole which looks a touch harsh on the Chelsea man. He joins John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole on yellow cards in the competition.

    2133: England scramble Diniyar Bilyaketdinov's shot clear.

    2132: France are setting up a base camp in the Scotland half. Will be a testing 20 minutes or so for Scotland who are being cheered on by a roaring rendition of 'Flower of Scotland'.

    2131: Michael Owen runs free on the right. His pass into the box for Shaun Wright-Phillips is woeful. England's two-goal hero looks well and truly knackered.

    2130: Russia look to have blown a gasket. After that supersonic start to the second 45 things are much more sedate from Guus Hiddink's team.

    2129: Patrick Vieira's done his night's work in Paris, although with his team trailing he hasn't really. Samir Nasri comes on.

    2128: There are 20 minutes or thereabouts left in each match.

    2126: Just the two games to keep an eye on and England and Scotland are now unequivocally the best bet for Home Nations representation in Austria and Switzerland next summer.

    2124: Italy are back in front against the Ukraine. If things stay as they are Scotland will lead Group B from Italy with France in third.

    2123: FULL-TIME Czech Republic 1-0 Republic of Ireland
    Playing most of the second half with 10 men was always going to make this one difficult for the Republic of Ireland and that's exactly what it was. With that defeat their Group D qualifying hopes look to be over but for some surprising results over the coming months.

    2122: GOAL France 0-1 Scotland
    Unbelievable. The travelling support are going absolutely blinking nuts in Paris. James McFadden unleashes a quite astonishing shot from distance and while Mickael Landreau gets fingers to it, that's not enough to keep the exocet out.

    2119: News from Scotland's group, and it's good news for the Scots. Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko has scored a goal to level up the Ukraine's match with Italy.

    2116: Paul Hartley chops down Franck Ribery and receives a booking.

    2115: Steve Gerrard makes a right hash of meeting Joe Cole's cross on the half volley. It ends up closer to Cole than the goal.

    "Old Guus is getting a little tetchy. He's just done a little tell-tale on Steve McClaren to the fourth official, pointing out that his England counterpart has been a few inches outside his technical area. The phrase "bigger things to worry about" springs to mind."
    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

    2114: More excellent play from France, but Craig Gordon tips over Nicolas Anelka's shot after the Bolton man was teed up by Franck Ribery.

    2113: Wonderful play by France. Nicolas Anelka to Franck Ribery to David Trezeguet back to Ribery. Quick passing which cuts open Scotland's rearguard, but Ribery can't finish despite having to efforts after Craig Gordon parried the first shot.

    2111: Florent Malouda flights a cross into the Scotland box but no blue-shirted Frenchmen are at the back post to capitalise. Just three white-shirted Scots shepherding the ball out.

    2108: England are edgy. Russia are rampant. Vladimir Bystrov twists and turns Ashley Cole into the ground like a corkscrew only for the England man to tussle him to the ground in the box. A fair shout for a penalty but nothing given by Sweden's Martin Hansson.

    2107: Manchester City's Richard Dunne is going to wake up with a stunning shiner tomorrow. He goes off for some treatment to a cut by his right eye.

    2106: Are the French getting frustrated? Franck Ribery lashes a wild shot ridiculously wide.

    2105: Dmitri Sychev goes close again, agonisingly so from a Russian perspective. He can't quite get to Yuri Zhirkov's pass.

    2104: Here come the French and it is a prompt start when they do appear. No changes from either side in Paris.

    2103: Scotland are out in Paris, but where are France?

    2102: Russia have raced out of the blocks. Vladimir Bystrov flicks a pass wide to Dmitri Sychev and his shot from the right flashes across goal.

    2101: England and Russia resume.

    "Gareth Barry's brilliant first-half performance is the talk of the media during the interval and deservedly so. He looks an ideal partner for Gerard in central midfield. If he carries on like this, McClaren faces an interesting future dilemma, given England's new-found balance."
    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

    Player rater: Craig Bellamy set the benchmark and that mark, or is it a bench, is on the rise. The Welshman is now up to 8.70. Can anyone else knock him off his pedestal. If you think so you know what to do.

    2056: FULL-TIME Iceland 2-1 Northern Ireland
    Two own goals have scuppered Northern Ireland's qualifying dreams in the last five days. With games to come against Sweden (a), Denmark (h) and Spain (a) do they still have a chance? Yes. Is it a realistic one? Not really.

    2054: A disjointed closing few minutes for Northern Ireland. That goal has knocked the stuffing clean from them.

    2052: GOAL Iceland 2-1 Northern Ireland
    That's Northern Ireland done for. Gretar Steinsson's low cross into the box causes chaos and the final touch seems to be off Keith Gillespie for an own goal. Eidur Gudjohnsen is the man getting mobbed by his team-mates as he was in close attendance.

    2051: Just when Northern Ireland need to be camped out in the Iceland half, they are actually seeing time out in their own half.

    2050: RED CARD Republic of Ireland
    The Republic's chances now look slimmer than a size zero model. Substitute Stephen Hunt is shown a red card for a rash tackle on the halfway line. Greek referee Kyros Vassaras is on the spot and decides it's early bath time for the Reading man.

    2049: Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt is booked. Like Warren Feeney he will miss the next qualifier in Sweden.

    2048: All eyes on Northern Ireland where Nigel Worthington looks more than a little frustrated in the damp dug-out as his team dominate but can't find that second goal.. Into the last five minutes in Reykjavik.

    2047: HALF-TIME France 0-0 Scotland
    France have dominated possession, but it's the scoreboard that matters and at the moment it looks pretty handy for Scotland.

    2046: HALF-TIME England 2-0 Russia
    What were you worrying about?

    "Perfect first 45 minutes for England, carrying on the impressive work against Israel. Russia have looked dangerous, but England suddenly look a side with cohesion and balance - with a rejuvenated spearhead in Owen. Russia's noisy fans have certainly not given this one up while Wembley's pa announcer appears to be celebrating Led Zeppelin's reunion by attempting to break their decibel record. He announces at ear-splitting volume that the score is England 2 Russia 0. Really? And adds for good measure "I want that hat-trick too." Oh dear."
    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

    2044: Into the last 10 minutes for Northern Ireland.

    2042: Patrick Vieira's pass goes straight out of reach of Eric Abidal and out of play as another France attack comes to nothing. The French crowd are starting to voice their discontent.

    2041: Scotland are having a tidy little spell.

    2039: A change for Russia. Vladimir Bystrov replaces Igor Semshov. Looks like it could be tactical from Guus Hiddink. Everyone talks up the Dutchman but he was completely undone when he last came to Wembley with Holland and lost 4-1 in Euro 96.

    2038: Yuri Zhirkhov fires over for Russia.

    2036: If anyone wants reminding why Claude Makelele hardly ever scores there it is. His volley has gone over the goal and inter-galactic. The camera pans to Thierry Henry in the stands who has creased up.

    2035: The Republic derby has started again. Rubbish effort at a gag but is saves on the typing you see.

    2034: GOAL Iceland 1-1 Northern Ireland
    More than a chance for Northern Ireland as they win a penalty. David Healy makes no mistake from the spot. That strike is his 12th in the group and equals Davor Suker's record from qualifying for Euro 96.

    2032: A chance for Northern Ireland in a crowded Iceland box, but Steven Davis stabs an effort straight at the keeper.

    2030: GOAL England 2-0 Russia
    Emile Heskey knocks a long clearance down to Michael Owen who seems to have all the time in the world before hitting a dipping volley home high past Vyacheslav Malafeev.

    "McClaren's decision to pick Heskey vindicated with a single touch. Owen looks razor-sharp and the replay of his goal on the big screens sends gasps of admiration around Wembley. Taken with the ease of a man whose confidence and sharpness is returning by the second. England needed that in the face of a genuine Russian threat."
    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

    2029: Northern Ireland are into the final third of their match and time is running out. Nigel Worthington wanted at least four points from their two matches in Iceland and Latvia. They're struggling to get even one.

    2028: Joe Cole's deflected shot is spinning all over the place but Vyacheslav Malafeev, Russia's third-choice stopper, keeps his beady eye on it all the way and beats the ball away.

    2026: Darren Fletcher is off, with Stephen Pearson coming on. Patrick Vieira comes out on top in that ding-dong battle then.

    "Fletcher going off is a major concern in this enthralling encounter."
    Adam, in Glasgow, via text on 81111

    2025: Darren Fletcher is struggling in Paris with an injury. Sir Alex Ferguson, fresh from his Euston hiding, is watching from the stands. A concern as his club coach and a red-blooded Scot.

    2023: Russia are beginning to look pretty handy. Neat passing before Diniyar Bilyaletdinov flashes a shot in on goal. Paul Robinson is at full-stretch to palm it clear. That's more than he did in 90 minutes against Israel!

    2021: Scotland are being stretched. A breather for the visitors as Patrick Vieira is booked for a foul on Darren Fletcher. The pair are having a good old ding-dong in midfield.

    2020: A chance for Shaun Wright-Phillips after good work from Joe Cole. He should have done better.

    2019: Konstantin Zurianov has the ball in the England net but is pinged for a handball. It came after good play from Yuri Zhirkov. Zhirkov. Mmmm, close to Zarkov, the doctor in 'Flash Gordon'. Bizarre coincidence.

    "I thought it was clear handball until I saw the replay. The Russians were unlucky there."
    Cold War Kid on 606

    2018: Craig Gordon makes a comfortable low save from Florent Malouda. Was Brian Blessed's "Gordon's alive" comment in 'Flash Gordon' a question or a statement?

    2017: HALF-TIME Czech Republic 1-0 Republic of Ireland
    The Czechs deserve their lead but Kevin Doyle hit the post moments before they turned for the tunnel.

    2016: Eidur Gudjohnsen makes his return from injury for Iceland. The Barcelona striker comes on for goalscorer Armann Smari Bjornsson and gets a brilliant reception.

    2014: David Trezeguet beats the offside trap but can't find the target. He gets more air than ball as he attempts to make contact with the round thing.

    2013: An absolute belter from Chris Brunt. His shot from distance rattles the Iceland crossbar which will probably still be wibble-wobbling early next week. Warren Feeney's follow up is saved.

    2012: The winners in Paris will end the night on top of Group B. That's some incentive for Scotland.

    2011: What of Scotland? In comparison to England's start it has been quite quiet, but just as impressive. The Scots, wearing all white, are more than holding their own against France.

    2010: Almost a second for England. Emile Heskey's shot is blocked and a sliding Russian leg gets to the rebound ahead of Michael Owen.

    2009: Northern Ireland are back in action in Iceland. The visitors need to get something out of the second 45 otherwise their dream of qualification will be going down the swanny.

    2008: A change for the Republic of Ireland and it's not even the break in Prague. Stephen Hunt is on for the hobbling John O'Shea.

    2007: That's four goals in four games for Michael Owen. He can add Russia to a list that includes Barnsley, Wigan and Israel.

    2006: GOAL England 1-0 Russia
    Gareth Barry's corner is cleared right back to him on the right. At the second attempt his dinked delivery finds Michael Owen lurking on the edge of the six-yard box in space. He traps the ball, picks his spot and fires in off the post. A perfect start.

    "Owen's critics still crawl out of the woodwork even though he scored on Saturday, and yet he proves once again he is a born world-class goalscorer to add to his international tally. England's best bet for a goal and has been for almost a decade - this time a more typical piece of penalty area poaching."
    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

    2005: England have recovered well.

    2002: Early menace from Russia as Andrei Ashavin scampers down the right after Rio Ferdinand lunges in. Gareth Barry is on sentry duty covering at the near post to clear.

    2001: And we've a full-house of matches as France and Scotland get going.

    2000: It doesn't happen often these days but England and Russia start bang on time.

    1958: France against Scotland is set to be a right old humdinger if the singing's anything to go by. An honourable score draw as the French come back with a strong rendition of La Marseillaise, and the technicalities of timing are far superior.

    1957: In anthem terms the Flower of Scotland isn't far behind, especially when you have that many Scots giving it large in Paris. Awesome, which is more than can be said for their musical timing. Not even remotely close to following the bagpiper's lead.

    1956: The King of Anthems at Wembley, but the majority of the fans in attendance don't share those sentiments on the Russian national anthem if the booing is anything to go by.

    1955: The players are in the tunnel in Paris.

    1954: TEAMS Scotland v France
    France: Landreau, Lassana Diarra, Thuram, Escude, Abidal, Ribery, Vieira, Makelele, Malouda, Trezeguet, Anelka.
    Subs: Frey, Evra, Toulalan, Benzema, Nasri, Clerc, Mexes.
    Scotland: Gordon, Hutton, McManus, Weir, Alexander, McCulloch, Ferguson, Fletcher, Brown, Hartley, McFadden.
    Subs: McGregor, McEveley, Caldwell, Boyd, O'Connor, Maloney, Pearson.

    1953: HALF-TIME Iceland 1-0 Northern Ireland
    Not what was wanted.

    1952: England and Russia emerge at Wembley. Shaun Wright-Phillips has the company of a mascot who is almost bigger than him.

    1951: TEAMS England v Russia
    England: Robinson, Richards, Ferdinand, Terry, Ashley Cole, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Gerrard, Joe Cole, Heskey, Owen.
    Subs: James, Brown, Neville, Smith, Downing, Johnson, Crouch.
    Russia: Malafeev, Vasili Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Alexei Berezutsky, Aniukov, Bilyaletdinov, Zhirkov, Semshov, Sychev, Arshavin, Zurianov.
    Subs: Shunin, Torbinsky, Kerzhakov, Pogrebniak, Pavluchenko, Bystrov, Kolodin.

    1950: An excellent atmosphere at the Parc des Princes in Paris where Scotland fans are rocking. France coach Raymond Domenech fears their presence will turn home advantage on its head.

    1948: Arni Gautur Arason gets to a loose ball a fraction ahead of the sliding Warren Feeney. The Northern Ireland striker catches his rival and is booked. He misses the next game, away to Sweden.

    1946: GOAL Czech Republic 1-0 Republic of Ireland
    AC Milan's Marek Jankulovski fires home after a sweet, quick one-two on the edge of the box.

    1944: Maik Taylor comes racing from the Northern Ireland goal to the right of his box. A poor, low clearance, but there is no glory volley back over his head.

    1939: Jonny Evans rises well to meet a cross but his header takes a slight deflection off an Iceland head. He doesn't get the corner and is all north and south to the referee. Questionable whether Yuri Baskakov understands what the Manchester United man's grievances are.

    1936: A gilt-edged chance for Northern Ireland... and it doesn't go in. Arni Gautur Arason flaps at a free-kick from the left and gets minimal contact leaving Jonny Evans free at the back post. He blazes the half volley over the unguarded goal and tumbles to the turf holding his head in his hands. After that miss he must want the ground to eat him up.

    1932: The battle of the Republics starts in Prague.

    Player rater: Craig Bellamy is your Man of the Match from the Slovakia v Wales match and the two-goal striker has set a high benchmark for others to follow with a rating of 8.52. You can give your marks on all the matches.

    1930: England coach Steve McClaren is going into the Russia game with a me, me, me attitude. "It's all about us," he tells BBC Sport. "They have to set up to stop us and that is what they have done. They will defend and defend deep. If we win this one it puts us in a very good position going into the Russia game."

    1929: Northern Ireland are seeing plenty of the ball, but not in the part of the pitch where they really want it.

    1926: Iceland's goalscorer Armann Smari Bjornsson is in the book for a late tackle on Jonny Evans.

    1925: TEAMS Czech Republic v Republic of Ireland
    Czech Republic: Cech, Ujfalusi, Rozehnal, Kovac, Jankulovski, Sionko, Galasek, Rosicky, Polak, Plasil, Baros.
    Subs: Blazek, Sivok, Vlcek, Pospech, Jarolim, Kulic, Dosek.
    Republic of Ireland: Given, Kelly, McShane, Dunne, O'Shea, McGeady, Carsley, Reid, Kilbane, Kevin Doyle, Keane.
    Subs: Colgan, Hunt, Keogh, Douglas, Gibson, Long, Murphy.

    1922: FULL-TIME Slovakia 2-5 Wales
    A wonderful night for Wales, the first time they have scored five away from home in 11 years. That means they are still mathematically in with a hope of qualifying... just.

    "Well done boyos!! Hopefully this is a sign that better things are coming. Shows how important Bellamy is too!"
    chrisp2412 on 606

    1918: GOAL Slovakia 2-5 Wales
    The wonderfully-named Peter Petras fails to cut out Carl Fletcher's pass into the box for Simon Davies, who slams home a fifth for Wales. Remarkable. What was that about the curse Dave.

    1914: TEAM NEWS France v Scotland
    Alex McLeish is forced into changes with Gary Teale being sick. Jay McEvely, Kris Boyd and Garry O'Connor also miss out. Graham Alexander, Paul Hartley, Barry Ferguson and James McFadden come in. Looks like a 4-4-1-1 with McFadden leading the line.

    1913: TEAM NEWS Czech Republic v Republic of Ireland
    The Republic of Ireland make just one change, with Andy Reid coming into midfield for the absent Stephen Ireland.

    1912: GOAL Iceland 1-0 Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland lost at the weekend despite Latvia not having a shot on target. Iceland score with their first effort on target. Armann Smari Bjornsson sweeps in a pull back from the right after some poor defending and it is the worst possible start for the visitors.

    1908: An early shot from Warren Feeney. He spears a shot in and Arni Gautur Arason has to be watchful at his near post.

    1907: Iceland and Northern Ireland commence.

    1906: GOAL Slovakia 2-4 Wales
    Craig Bellamy's bursts down the left and his barrelling run into the box culminates with a prodded pass across goal. With Simon Davies lurking near the back post, the retreating Jan Durica is the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. He slides the ball in for an own goal. Game over, surely.

    "Nice one Charlie boy. Give it the old commentator's curse why don't you! Game over? Cue three goals from Slovakia! Bloody idiot!" Sexist Dave, in Wales, via text

    1902: Craig Bellamy goes so close to a hat-trick. He hits the post with a cross-cum-shot from an acute angle on the right. Carl Fletcher is on for Freddie Eastwood.

    1900: Here come the players in wet and wild Reykjavik where it is 1800 local time. Win tonight and Northern Ireland will finish the evening on top of Group F.

    An Anonymous rant via text. "Northern Ireland cannot top the group so long as Spain win - they have better goal difference! Get your facts right!" The facts are right. It's to do with head-to-head records.

    1859: TEAMS Iceland v Northern Ireland
    Iceland: Arason, Kristjan Orn Sigurdsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Ingimarsson, Hreidarsson, Arnason, Vidarsson, Steinsson, Hallfredsson, Thorvaldsson, Bjornsson.
    Subs: Larusson, Gardarsson, Adalsteinsson, Asgeirsson, Skulason, Gunnarson, Gudjohnsen.
    Northern Ireland: Taylor, Baird, Duff, Evans, McCartney, Gillespie, Clingan, Davis, Brunt, Healy, Feeney.
    Subs: Mannus, Craigan, Elliott, McCann, Jones, Lafferty, Sproule.

    Player rater: It is a shoot-out between Wales strikers Craig Bellamy and Freddie Eastwood for your affections. The two-goal striker just has the edge over the one-goal striker.

    1850: Wales are under the cosh. Sam Ricketts jumps in to block a Marek Cech shot on the left.

    1848: Wayne Hennessey is made to work by Peter Petras. The Slovak's shot dips just in front of Hennessey, but the Wolves stopper pushes it away. The hosts are playing well.

    1847: TEAM NEWS England v Russia
    England are unchanged from the team that beat Israel. Striker Peter Crouch is on the bench.

    "Wise choice by coach Steve McClaren - now it's up to Emile Heskey to repay his faith. There is already a growing sense inside Wembley that this is the real thing as opposed to Saturday's stroll against Israel. It needs to be the rampaging Heskey rather than the timid giant witnessed on so many occasions."
    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

    "Sorry boys, I want to see the top European nations at Euro 2008, so no place for the Welsh, Scots or Northern Irish. Or the other Irish while you are at it. Come on England!"
    Steve, via text on 81111

    1846: GOAL Slovakia 2-3 Wales
    The net's bulging this time. Marek Cech shapes to shoot but releases a wonderful reverse pass to Marek Mintal who slots his second of the night.

    1844: Marek Cech charges forward and wrong foots the Welsh defence, but his right-footed effort is poor.

    1842: Wales boss John Toshack is looking to pick a fight with a very slight fourth official. Bit of a mis-match. Tosh is fuming over an offside decision - although he ends the verbals with a broad smile and some finger waving. Active v passive. That old chestnut.

    1841: Wales have picked up where they left off. In short, they're playing some nice stuff.

    1837: Remember that first-half harmony of British solidarity kick-started by the . Well, you can forget about it...

    "Come on Scotland and Russia! Make this the most perfect night ever!
    Greg Parkins, in Glasgow, via text on 81111
    "Just to be clear, this latest Jamie from Glasgow isn't the same Jamie (Lafferty) from earlier. If Scotland don't qualify I dont want any of the Home Nations to qualify."
    Jamie Lafferty via text on 8111
    "Jamie might want to consider why he is having to watch England on BBC Scotland tonight instead of Scotland. Come on the Ruskies."
    Mike, in Dundee, via text on 81111

    1835: Bit of a wait, but it's not for the PA announcer who is back to his echoing best as the Slovakians get the ball rolling.

    1833: The men in white re-emerge to the 'Rocky' theme music. And here come the men in red, who will be looking for a knock-out punch... if they haven't already landed it.

    "Come on the UK! Nice one Wales! Hopefully England will win by 3-0, Scotland will draw 0-0 or 1-1. Northern Ireland will probably win 1-0."
    aloyalred4evaneva on 606

    Player rater: Whistling wolverines! What's Wayne Hennessey done wrong? A couple of cracking saves, but he's your worst player of the half! Harsh or fair? Get involved.

    1817: HALF-TIME Slovakia 1-3 Wales
    Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey maintains the two-goal lead with a finger-tip save on to his crossbar from Filip Holosko's rising effort moments before the break. Excellent stuff from the men in red... and Hennessey in black.

    1814: Jamie in Glasgow has started a revolution of sorts with his call for all the Home Nations to support each other instead of descending into a jingoistic quarrel of cross-border hatred...

    "Nice one Jamie! Come on England and all the rest! Very hopeful for the Scots tonight, and hopefully Wales can come from behind!"
    Jimmy K, in London, via text on 81111
    Wales have done that and some...
    "Well spoken Jamie from Glasgow. If you are Jamie Murray perhaps you should convey the sentiment to your brother Andrew who said he hoped England would lose every game of WC 2006! Good luck the Scots!"
    Anthony, in Surrey, via text on 81111

    1811: GOAL Slovakia 1-3 Wales
    What a turnaround. Joe Ledley picks out Craig Bellamy with a delightful flicked pass off the outside of his left boot. For a moment the West Ham man looks to have taken the ball too wide on the left, but he hammers a shot in off the underside of the bar. Having been a goal down, Wales are now two to the good.

    "Wales again! Well done the lads, I didn't think they had it in them. Press on."
    Im_partial on 606

    1808: TEAM NEWS Iceland v Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington makes two changes following the defeat to Latvia. Chris Brunt and Warren Feeney come in for Stephen Elliott and Kyle Lafferty.

    "What Jamie said - we want as many Home Nations as possible at Euro 2008 just for the interest level. Who remembers anything about USA 94?
    Dave, in Edinburgh, via text on 81111

    1805: That is Craig Bellamy's 14th goal in Wales colours - one more than his boss John Toshack.

    1804: GOAL Slovakia 1-2 Wales
    They're doing way better now. Craig Bellamy races on to a long ball over the top, has the pace to hold off the defender and clips a wonderful finish over the advancing keeper from the edge of the area.

    1803: Wales are doing better than they did when the teams met 11 months ago in Cardiff. By this stage it was 2-0 to Slovakia. That was the game keeper Paul Jones had 50 cut into his head.

    "To anyone else who made the trip to Iceland... could you pick me up some oven chips?
    Beach, in Sutton, via text on 81111
    For those of you worried the Northern Ireland game may be called off because off bad weather in aisle 15 in Iceland, fear not. If we hear anything different you'll be the first to know.

    1755: Craig Bellamy is booked, but a real pernickety decision by Laurent Duhamel. The Frenchman pulls up the Wales skipper after he knocks the ball away having been flagged offside. It was instinctive more than anything.

    1753: Slovakia haven't kept a clean sheet for an unlucky 13 games now.

    1752: GOAL Slovakia 1-1 Wales
    Slovakia keeper Stefan Senecky hasn't had anything to do all game... apart from pick the ball out of his net. Craig Bellamy releases Joe Ledley down the left and his cross into the box is prodded home by Freddie Eastwood.

    1750: Slovakia look to have made a right old mess of a short corner, but the ball is worked to Marek Cech and Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey pulls off an outstanding save from his low, drilled drive.

    "I'm a Scotland fan but good luck to all Home Nations. Statements like 'I'm supporting Russia because I'm Scottish' are stupid. Being Scottish doesn't make you anti English. We'll never move forward until we forget this attitude."
    Jamie, in Glasgow, via text on 81111
    Those over on 606 might disagree.

    1745: Slovakia have hit their stride and that man Marek Mintal lines up another shot on goal. It lacks the venomous accuracy of his previous effort and Wayne Hennessey easily saves.

    1742: Croatia are in cruise control before the break in Andorra. Mladen Petric has doubled their advantage.

    1741: GOAL Slovakia 1-0 Wales
    Terrible defensive work from Wales as they attempt to clear a cross from the left and Slovakia skipper Marek Mintal spins and fires in the opener.

    1738: For any England fans out there hoping against hope that Andorra would do you a favour, think again. Darijo Srna has given Croatia the lead with 34 minutes played in their Group E clash.

    1737: The lack of atmosphere in the crowd doesn't help, although the Welsh enclave have found their voices. They want to know who somebody is.

    1736: The teams are going through that very tentative, feeling each other out routine along the lines of the sort of thing you see dogs getting up to in the park.

    1734: Sprightly start from Wales, who are all in red. Joe Ledley races forward but cannot get on the end of a return pass in the box after an attempted one-two.

    1733: Two minutes into the action and the tannoy announcer has finally stopped regaling one and all with the teams.

    1731: Play begins at the Anton Malatinsky Stadium. He was a former player and coach well respected in these parts.

    Player rater: Don't forget to give your verdict on the players in action throughout the action.

    1727: The brass band is in for the anthems. Either nobody's singing of the effects mic on the trumpeter has been turned up too high.

    1725: The teams are out and the evening's footballing entertainment is almost upon us. Slovakia last won here in April 2003. Since then there have been two draws and a recent defeat to France.

    1722: A reported 500 Welsh fans have made the trip to Slovakia. Their hosts are 39th in the world, squeezed between Finland and Egypt.

    1719: Nice weather in Trnava. Absolutely nobody there. Well, not very many in the ground at least. Bit of a contrast to Paris which has been besieged by a reported 16,000 Scots.

    1715: TEAMS Slovakia v Wales
    Slovakia: Senecky, Gresko, Klimpl, Durica, Cech, Hamsik, Petras, Sapara, Mintal, Sestak, Holosko.
    Subs: Kuciak, Brezinsky, Strba, Obzera, Szabo, Sebo, Zofcak.
    Wales: Hennessey, Ricketts, Gabbidon, Morgan, James Collins, Bale, Davies, Robinson, Ledley, Bellamy, Eastwood.
    Subs: Coyne, Fletcher, Vaughan, Crofts, Evans, Edwards, Earnshaw.

    1711: Inside info from Reading's Wisey regarding England. Nicky Shorey will play and Ashley Cole will cover for injured namesake Joe in midfield. "Nicky has known this since Monday according to a close source to him." Is Wisey the 'source close to him'? Does anyone believe this? Is anyone out there?

    "It's funny how England fans are either optimistic, pessimistic, or both. Can you blame us? All the optimism is fuelled by past glories tempered by our pessimism at the inevitable collapse."
    Im_partial on 606

    1700: Just half an hour to go to some actual football. Trnava's the "Slovak Rome" don't you know. Meanwhile, over at Wembley...

    "A near-deserted Wembley is being treated to a resounding and very dramatic rehearsal of the Russian national anthem from a female opera singer. It's a real lung-buster so let's hope she's got enough left in the tank for the real thing later on. It gets a polite round of applause from the assembled stewards."
    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

    "England, Scotland, N. Ireland and Republic of Ireland to all qualify but all drawn in same group in Austria and Switzerland. It could happen if the Republic are rated second seed, Scotland 3rd and NI 4th. Wouldn't that be perfect!"
    GraymeadYNWA on 606

    "It's like the Eurovision song contest voting on 606. Any Scot picks NI or RoI plus Scotland to win, England to lose. The English pick on the Scots and the Welsh to lose. NI and RoI just start getting giddy and giving random teams wins."

    1648: TEAM NEWS Slovakia v Wales
    We knew already, but Craig Bellamy is back to lead Wales... and lead the line. Two changes. Bellamy for Jason Koumas and Craig Morgan for Lewin Nyatanga. Looks like a 3-5-2 formation from John Toshack.

    1643: And that leaves Northern Ireland, Scotland and England who are all red hot on the hotometer and tonight promises to be intriguing. Northern Ireland are first out of the blocks against Iceland at 1905, with Scotland playing France and England hosting Russia at 2000.

    "Just had text from my son who's in Iceland. Terrible heavy rain all day and match could be in doubt! Fingers crossed!"
    Allen, from NI, via text on 81111

    1639: If the Czechs beat of Ireland in the Republic derby then Steve Staunton's men can also wave goodbye to qualifying.

    "That isn't happening. Ireland are good if Stan picks the right team as in Given, Kelly, O'Shea, McShane, Dunne, Carsley, Reid, Gibson, Doyle, Keane, Kilbane.
    lassanasson on 606
    Yeah, but what about that shocking away record? No notable competitive win away from home in 20 years!

    1637: A shame Wales are first up in some ways as there isn't anything riding on their match. That's something that can't be levelled elsewhere.

    1634: Who's hot, who's not? Less than an hour until Wales kick-off and they are definitely in the freezer when it comes to qualifying for Euro 2008. They are playing for pride in Trnava against Slovakia.

    1631: ...seamless.

    By Caroline Cheese

    1630: That's all from me folks so let the cheese chat cease. Good luck one and all for later. Over to Charlie... "No, not Charlie, he's not cheesy enough."
    lassanasson on 606

    1627: "A pal just texted me from under the Eiffel Tower where he is leading a chorus of Save The Snails. Harrumph! I'm trying to decide on tea or coffee to fend off the mid-afternoon slump."
    Jamie Lafferty, Glasgow, via text on 81111

    1621: "We had our wee hiccup at the weekend, now it's payback time for the Icelanders. We're on our way to the top of group F! Being a member of the Green & White Army is like living on a rollercoaster!"
    Allen from Northern Ireland via text on 81111

    1617: "Oi Caroline - why weren't you commentating on the Israel game? I could have used my "Cheeses of Nazareth" joke then..."
    Sack the Juggler sets the cheese chat standard on 606

    1612: "Off to Wembley with the girlfriend who still thinks she'll see Beckham playing tonight, bless her!"
    Mark in Heathrow via text on 81111 (Anyone else off to a game? Remember to text us on 81111)

    1607: Back to the old Crouch/Heskey debate. This is from OneInTheBag on 606: "If McClaren played Crouch and Heskey together it'd be a worse mistake than when Argentina decided it'd be nice for their second choice keeper to have a run out against Germany so she could get some practice."

    1605: France are without the suspended Thierry Henry so it looks like Nicolas Anelka and David Trezeguet will start up front. I reckon it'll be 0-0. I don't know why, but I do.

    1602: Just had a text from John in Glasgow asking what the Scotland team will be tonight. Being a proper investigative journalist, I've had a word with our team in Scotland and they agree with kaka4chelsea (see 1547). Scotland in a 4-4-1-1 formation with McFadden in the hole and O'Connor up front.

    1547: The rumours are flooding in. This from kaka4chelsea on 606: "I'm led to believe by a very reliable source that Scotland's team to face France tonight will be: Gordon, Hutton, Weir, McManus, McEveley, Brown, Fletcher, Ferguson, McCulloch, McFadden, O'Connor."

    1544: "Rumour has it from a good source Joe Cole unfit tonight and Ashley Young starts."
    Simon, Birmingham, via text on 81111

    1540: "My heart demands all the home nations to win but my head sees despair for all of them tonight."
    the mighty webby on 606 (Are you the Voice of Doom in disguise?)

    1535: Less than two hours until Wales kick off against Slovakia at the Anton Malatinsky Stadium. Jason Koumas is out but who's in? Why not have a little play with the BBC website's Squad Selector?

    1529: "CAROLINE! You know quite well I was referring to the contribution to the team of Heskey over that of Crouch! WOMEN!!!"
    blakey on 606

    1523: I've just held a straw poll in the office and the results are inconclusive. We can't decide between piles and a three-day migraine (see 1513 entry). So in the end we plumped for Heskey.

    1520: "Caroline, I've consulted with my mates on your behalf, and we all agree that football matches ARE invariably decided on goals scored. Stupid Blakey (see 1508 entry)."
    Anon via text on 81111 (Phew)

    1517: "Freddy Eastwood to score twice in a 2-0 win for Wales."
    MABR from Wolverhampton via text on 81111

    1513: "Crouch or Heskey? That's like saying - 'Piles or a three-day migraine'?"
    Jason_FC on 606

    1508: "It's not just about the goals scored you stupid woman."
    Blakey via text on 81111 (hang on a minute, I'm going to ask a man about this)

    1505: "I'm hoping for a Scotland win, a Russia win (because I'm Scottish), an Ireland win (cause they are cool), and I'm not too bothered about the other two. Unfortunately I can't see Scotland getting anything tonight."
    malkys large oversized novelty comb on 606

    1458: So what do we reckon? England unchanged? Or Crouch in for Heskey? Say what you like about big Pete but at least he scores the odd goal.

    1455: "Cheese? John Cleese's family name was Cheese until his family joined the army."
    Jamey, Liverpool, via text on 81111 (I'm only putting this in because it is factually correct and I like telling people. No more cheese chat now, promise)

    1450: "Hoping Scotland beat France though I reckon Northern Ireland will struggle against Iceland and I'm hoping England can get a win against Russia. Gonna bet it'll be a rather scrappy goal that decides it..."
    Eothain on 606

    1445: Wow, China's Xiaoli Song has just scored an absolute belter to make it 3-2 against Denmark with a couple of minutes left in their Women's World Cup game. It wasn't even a goalkeeper mistake. I can say that because I'm a girl.

    1442: "What's all this then? A woman doing the commentary on the football! We can't be having this. All we will see is messages about players legs and so on."
    Dave, Wales, via text on 81111 (Cheese chat may not be welcome - but gratuitous sexism is positively encouraged. Love it)

    1436: A pat on the back for football. Five minutes ago, the text inbox was full of nonsense about cricket.... not anymore. Well done everyone. Incidentally, anyone heard the phrase "brush your shoulders off"? Apparently it means "give yourself a pat on the back". Read more in Micah (that's Micah as in striker) Richards' BBC column.

    1433: You know that story in the papers this morning about Roman Abramovich paying the Russian team thousands of roubles to beat England? Well, it's not true.

    1429: "Craig Bellamy and lovely very rarely go together in the same sentence, but he is lovely for putting his family first last week. Come on Wales, bit of pride tonight please."
    Louise, London, via text on 81111 (Very true Louise. Just on the football pitch he's a complete... (insert appropriate noun here))

    1427: Now then, I've already had a few texts regarding my unusual surname. I'll warn you now that unless they make me laugh out loud, they're not getting published. Not that I've had a sense of humour failure you understand. More that regular readers will probably be bored sick of cheesy chat. Feel free to put me straight though, regular readers.

    1421: Of course Wales were spanked 5-1 by Slovakia nearly a year ago at the Millennium Stadium. Can they do better on their travels? Drop me a text on 81111 or have a dabble on 606.

    1408: Hello you. If it's some tasty Euro 2008 qualifiers you're after, you've come to the right place. Of the home nations, Wales are first up. They kick off against Slovakia in Trnava at 1730 BST. The lovely Craig Bellamy returns to the Wales side so that should be fun.

    International photos
    12 Sep 07 |  Football
    England v Russia reaction
    12 Sep 07 |  Internationals
    Scots won't sit back says McLeish
    12 Sep 07 |  Internationals
    Worthington set to make changes
    12 Sep 07 |  Internationals
    Eastwood pairing new to Bellamy
    12 Sep 07 |  Internationals
    Teale sickness blow for Scotland
    11 Sep 07 |  Internationals
    Republic poised to bring in Reid
    12 Sep 07 |  Internationals


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