Dutch stay on course as Van Nistelrooy seals win over Armenia

GROUP ONE: The Netherlands stayed on course for World Cup qualification with a 2-0 defeat of Armenia.

Romeo Castelen opened the scoring after three minutes and Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy sealed the win with the second from a tight angle after 34 minutes.

The Dutch remain top of the Group with 16 points after six matches, one point clear of the Czech Republic following their 4-0 win in Andorra. Romania are third with 13 points from seven games. Milan Baros, Tomas Rosicky Marek Jankulovski and Vratislav Lokvenc were all on target for the Czechs. A double from Nicolae Mitea helped Romania to a 2-1 win over Macedonia.

GROUP TWO:

Ukraine moved a step closer towards their first World Cup finals with a 1-0 victory that left Denmark's qualification hanging in the balance. A second-half strike from Andriy Voronin was enough to seal the win for the Group 2 leaders and move them eight points clear of a Danish team now down to fourth place after Turkey's 5-2 win in Georgia.

European champions Greece also improved their chances of qualification for Germany with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Albania. The Greeks stay second in the Group Two on 14 points, three behind Ukraine but two clear of Turkey. Angelos Haristeas and Giorgos Karagounis were on target.

GROUP THREE:

Portugal needed a goal eight minutes from time from former Tottenham striker Helder Postiga to earn a 1-1 draw against Slovakia in Bratislava. Miroslav Karhan had given the hosts an eighth-minute lead from the penalty spot but Postiga's late strike kept the Euro 2004 runners-up on top of the group on goal difference from Slovakia

Russia's hopes of closing the gap on the top two were snuffed out when they could only draw 1-1 with Estonia for whom Sergei Terehhov earned equalised Andrei Arshavin's 18-minute opener. Latvia still remain in the hunt following a 4-0 win over Luxembourg.

GROUP FIVE:

Bottom team Moldova held second-placed Norway to a goalless draw in a dull World Cup qualifier played in driving snow in Chisinau. The result leaves Norway clinging to second place with eight points from five matches, level on points with Slovenia who drew 1-1 at home to Belarus. It all means that Scotland's slim hopes of qualification remains alive.

Italy are four points clear at the top of the standings.

GROUP SEVEN:

Daniel van Buyten spared Belgium's blushes as they scraped a 2-1 victory at Group Seven whipping boys San Marino.The centre-back scored in the 65th minute after the hosts' striker Andy Selva had equalised Timmy Simons' 17th-minute penalty.

Belgium are in fourth out of the running. Serbia and Montenegro still top the group despite a goalless draw with Spain.

GROUP EIGHT:

Two first-half goals from Dado Pro helped Croatia on their way to a comfortable 3-0 victory against Malta in Zagreb to move a point clear of Sweden at the top of the Group

Pro's double quickly buried any notion of a shock result and when Igor Tudor added another after the interval the contest was effectively over. Sweden had no game last night. Hungary (Rajczi 90) and Bulgaria (S.Petrov 52) played out a 1-1 draw to move fourth and third respectively.

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