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Spain, Germany given wake-up calls


MADRID – Germany squandered a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 with Sweden while world football champions Spain conceded in stoppage time to draw 1-1 with France as both teams lost 100 percent records in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

Northern Ireland came within 11 minutes of ruining Cristiano Ronaldo’s 100th appearance for Portugal before Helder Postiga equalised to earn a 1-1 draw in Porto, but the Portuguese lost ground on leaders Russia in Group F.

The Russians beat Azerbaijan 1-0 in Moscow to maintain their perfect start under Italian coach Fabio Capello. The Netherlands also won a fourth successive game, beating Romania 4-1 in Bucharest to end their opponents’ three-match winning run.

However, Poland’s Group H match with England at Warsaw’s National Stadium was called off after the stadium roof was left open despite a downpour which left the pitch waterlogged.

In other notable matches, Bosnia stayed on course for what would be their first international tournament as an independent nation by beating Lithuania 3-0 at home and staying top of Group G along with Greece who beat Slovakia 1-0 in Bratislava.

Belgium and Croatia also moved ahead of the pack in Group A with both teams beating British opposition at home. Belgium, whose emerging young team have already been tipped by pundits as having the talent to reach the later stages at the tournament in Brazil in 2014, beat Scotland 2-0 in Brussels to all but end the Scots’ hopes of reaching the finals.

Croatia stayed level on points with Belgium at the top of the standings with a 2-0 win over Wales in Osijek.
– Reuters

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