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Czechs defeat Cyprus to finish top

  • Story Highlights
  • The Czech Republic defeat Cyprus 2-0 in Nicosia to finish top of Group D
  • Germany qualify in second position after disappointing 0-0 draw with Wales
  • Romania finish top of Group G after a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Albania
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NICOSIA, Cyprus -- The Czech Republic sealed top spot in Euro 2008 Group D qualifying with a comfortable 2-0 victory in Cyprus.

Jan Koller scored the Czech's second goal as they finished top of Group D with victory in Cyprus.

Daniel Pudil's goal gave the early initiative to Karel Bruckner's side, before Jan Koller struck 16 minutes from time to secure the points.

The result ensured the Czechs finish first in the group with 29 points, ahead of second-placed Germany -- who were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at home by Wales.

The visitors had already gone close through Marek Matejovsky, Tomas Galasek and Michal Kadlec before midfielder Pudil, found the bottom corner of Antonis Georgallides' net from around 30 meters out.

Second-half substitute Milan Baros then shot wide before strike partner Koller put the win beyond doubt when heading home Jaroslav Plasil's 74th-minute corner.

Meanwhile, Romania completed their qualifying campaign in style with a comprehensive 6-1 victory over nine-man Albania in Bucharest to finish top of Group G.

After taking a first-half lead through Nicolae Dica, Romania then scored five goals in a 20-minute second-half spell.

Gabriel Tamas put the home side 2-0 up on 53 minutes before Debatik Curri was dismissed for Albania.

Daniel Niculae added Romania's third and although Edmond Kapllani pulled one back for Albania, Romania countered with further strikes from Niculae, Ciprian Marica and Dica, who registered his second with a penalty after Nevil Dede was shown a second yellow card for fouling Marica.

In the group's other match, second-half goals from Vitali Bulyga and Vladimir Korythko ensured Belarus ended their qualifying campaign with a shock 2-1 win in Minsk over the Netherlands -- for whom Rafael Van der Vaart scored a late consolation goal.

The visitors had secured their place with a 1-0 weekend defeat of Luxembourg, but this result left Marco van Basten's side in second place behind Romania.

Belarus, meanwhile, climbed from sixth position to fourth on 13 points, two above Albania and Slovenia.

World champions Italy completed their qualifying campaign by securing top spot in Group B with a 3-1 triumph over the Faroe Islands in Modena.

Defender Frodi Benjaminsen's own goal put the home side in front after 11 minutes, Luca Toni doubled the lead on 36 minutes and Giorgio Chiellini's stunning strike four minutes before the break gave the Azzurri a commanding advantage.

Rogvi Jacobsen's header reduced the deficit seven minutes from the end but the visitors ended the qualifying tournament without a single point.

France qualified in second position but Andriy Shevchenko's second-half header earned Ukraine a point in a 2-2 draw in Kiev.

The hosts had gone ahead early on through Andriy Voronin, but well-taken goals by Thierry Henry and Sidney Govou put France, who had already qualified for next summer's finals, in front.

However, goalkeeper Sebastien Frey failed to deal with Shevchenko's looping header in the opening minutes of the second half so the spoils were shared on a freezing night in the Ukraine capital. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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