Skip to main content

Italy frustrated by Northern Ireland in Euro 2012 qualifier

Italy striker Marco Borriello was left frustrated as the four-time world champions were denied a goal in Belfast.
Italy striker Marco Borriello was left frustrated as the four-time world champions were denied a goal in Belfast.
  • Four-time world champions Italy held 0-0 by minnows Northern Ireland in Euro 2012 qualifier
  • World champions Spain go top of Group I with 3-1 victory at home to Lithuania
  • South Africa finalists Netherlands win third successive match, beating Moldova
  • Germany trounce Turkey 3-0 with two goals from veteran striker Miroslav Klose
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Euro 2012

(CNN) -- Italy dropped their first points of the Euro 2012 campaign after being held 0-0 by minnows Northern Ireland on Friday night, but World Cup finalists Spain and the Netherlands maintained their 100 percent records along with Germany.

Cesare Prandelli had presided over two consecutive Group C wins after taking charge of Italy following a miserable World Cup campaign, but his team could not break down a stubborn Irish side in Belfast.

It was the first match there between the two nations in 52 years, when Italy lost 2-1 and missed out on reaching the World Cup finals while their hosts went through.

Northern Ireland, who have never qualified for the European Championship, beat Slovenia 1-0 in their opening game last month and should have taken the lead in the 31st minute when all-time leading scorer David Healy headed wide from Chris Brunt's teasing cross.

Italy striker Marco Borriello was denied one on one by keeper Maik Taylor, and Antonio Cassano curled the rebound wide, before teammate Daniele De Rossi was lucky not to concede a penalty for handball.

Four-time world champions Italy dominated the second half but substitute Giampaolo Pazzini headed a golden chance wide in the 86th minute, and Northern Ireland should have then snatched a famous win but midfielder Steven Davis shot straight at keeper Emiliano Viviano.

The result left Italy one point ahead of second-placed Estonia, who came from behind to shock Serbia 3-1.

Zdravko Kuzmanovic put the hosts ahead on 60, but Tarmo Kink and Konstantin Vassiljev put Estonia ahead before Aleksandar Lukovic put the ball into his own net.

Slovenia thrashed Faroe Islands 5-1 in the group's other match with a hat-trick from young striker Tim Matavz.

Group A

Germany cruised to a 3-0 victory over Turkey in Berlin as veteran striker Miroslav Klose continued his remarkable international scoring run to become his country's second highest scorer behind Gerd Muller.

Klose netted four times at the World Cup after being a fringe figure at Bayern Munich, and his double gave him five in this campaign and 57 from 104 outings -- now one more appearance than the legendary Franz Beckenbauer.

The 32-year-old headed home from close range just before halftime after Thomas Muller's effort was pushed onto the bar, and he made it 3-0 with three minutes to play following a goal by Real Madrid midfielder Mezut Ozil -- who has Turkish ancestry.

Austria kept up the pressure on their neighbors with a second successive win, beating Azerbaijan 3-0 thanks to an early header from Sebastian Prodl and a second-half double from Werder Bremen clubmate Marko Arnautovic.

Belgium bounced back from two opening defeats to inflict a third on 10-man Kazakhstan, with debutant Marvin Ogunjimi netting twice after coming on as a second-half substitute.

The striker netted either side of a second yellow card for Aleksandr Kislitsyn, with goalkeeper Andrei Sidelnikov at fault for both goals.

Group B

Russia bounced back from last month's defeat by Slovakia to win 3-2 away to the previously unbeaten Republic of Ireland -- but nearly blew a three-goal lead.

Aleksandr Kerzhakov put Russia ahead and then set up Alan Dzagoev's first international goal before Roman Shirokov's 50th-minute effort was deflected in.

Forward Robbie Keane pulled one back with a penalty and substitute striker Shane Long gave the Irish hope, but Dick Advocaat's team held on for a second win from three outings.

Slovakia, who reached the second round at the World Cup at the expense of Italy, slumped to a 3-1 defeat away to Armenia but still ended the night top on goal difference.

Gevorg Ghazaryan and Henrik Mkhitaryan scored in the second half after Vladimir Weiss had canceled Yura Movsisyan's 23rd-minute opener in Yerevan.

Macedonia notched their first win, 2-0 away to rock-bottom Andorra with goals from Ilco Naumoski and Vance Sikov.

Group D

Albania went top on goals scored after being held 1-1 at home by Bosnia-Herzegovina, who are third following an earlier win and defeat.

Belarus are second, also on five points, after drawing 0-0 in Luxembourg against a team who had lost their first two matches.

Group heavyweights France return to action on Saturday at home to Romania, with new coach Laurent Blanc rebuilding the team after a disastrous World Cup.

Group E

The Netherlands notched a third successive victory, winning 1-0 in Moldova as striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored his sixth goal of the campaign for the World Cup runners-up.

Huntelaar, who has revived his career after joining German club Schalke from AC Milan, added to his hat-trick in San Marino and double against Finland when he fired in off the post eight minutes before halftime from Rafael van der Vaart's pass.

Defender John Heitinga hit the crossbar with a header and Dirk Kuyt should have made it 2-0 as Bert van Marwijk's team go into Tuesday's clash with also unbeaten Sweden with confidence.

Hungary thrashed San Marino 8-0 for a second win in three outings, with Adam Szalai grabbing a hat-trick and fellow striker Gergely Rudolf scoring twice.

Group F

Georgia snatched a last-gasp win over bottom side Malta with a late header from David Siradze to move onto five points.

Greece have exactly the same record -- a win and two draws -- after beating Latvia 1-0 in Athens thanks to a decisive goal from Vassilios Torossidis on the hour.

Group G

Montenegro moved clear of also-unbeaten England with a third successive victory, beating Switzerland 1-0 at home thanks to a 68th-minute goal from striker Mirko Vucinic.

He scored his second of the qualifying campaign, his country's first since separating from Serbia, as the team triumphed yet again by a one-goal margin.

Bulgaria bounced back from two consecutive defeats to win 1-0 away to 10-man Wales, with striker Ivelin Popov firing a shot in off the post soon after halftime before home defender Chris Gunter was sent off late in the match for bringing down Dimitar Rangelov.

Group H

Leaders Norway notched a third successive victory, winning 2-1 in Cyprus thanks to first-half efforts from defender John Arne Riise and striker John Carew.

Cyprus, who held Portugal to a 4-4 draw last month, made sure of a tense finish when Yiannis Okkas celebrated his 100th appearance with a goal half an hour from time.

Portugal moved up into second place with a 3-1 win over fellow World Cup qualifiers Denmark in new coach Paulo Bento's first match in charge.

Midfielder Nani scored a fine first-half double and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo wrapped it up on 85 after defender Ricardo Carvalho scored a 79th-minute own-goal.

Group I

World champions Spain climbed to the top of the group with a 3-1 victory at home to Lithuania, despite the absence of injured striker Fernando Torres.

David Villa hit the post in the first half before Fernando Llorente made the most of his chance up front with two second-half headers either side of a 54th-minute equalizer from midfielder Darvydas Sernas.

Winger David Silva, who did not feature in South Africa, wrapped up Spain's victory in the 79th minute with a superb header for his 10th international goal.

The Czech Republic ended Scotland's unbeaten start, notching their first points with a 1-0 win in Prague thanks to defender Romain Hubnik's header with 20 minutes to play.

In Friday's international friendlies, Japan stunned Argentina 1-0 in Saitama to give former AC Milan coach Alberto Zaccheroni victory in his first game in charge.

The Italian saw striker Shinji Okazaki net a 19th-minute against a strong visiting side including the likes of world player of the year Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez.

Okazaki pounced to score after Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero could only block a long-range shot by Japan captain Makoto Hasebe.

It was the first defeat suffered by Argentina's interim coach Sergio Batista, who had two wins after taking over from Diego Maradona, and Japan's first win against the South Americans.

Uruguay thrashed Indonesia 7-1, Venezuela won 3-1 away to South American rivals Bolivia, China won 2-1 at home to Syria, Canada drew 2-2 away to Ukraine and Bahrain beat Kuwait 3-1.