CRAIG LEVEIN’S decision to drop Kenny Miller and play a defensive line-up failed to pay off as Scotland suffered the first defeat of their campaign going down 1-0 against Czech Republic in Prague last night.
LEVEIN’S decision to drop Kenny Miller and play a defensive line-up failed to pay off as Scotland suffered the first defeat of their campaign going down 1-0 against Czech Republic in Prague last night.
The manager opted for a formation designed to frustrate their hosts and hopefully return home with at least a draw to add to the four gained against Lithuania and Liechtenstein.
The Scots held out for 69 minutes before Roman Hubnik grabbed the only goal of the game to hand the Czechs their first victory in the section, and Levein’s men must now pick themselves up ahead of the visit of Spain next week.
The European and world champions, meanwhile, made hard work of overcoming Lithuania in Salamanca – eventually running out 3-1 winners.
After a scoreless first half, Fernando Llornte put the Spanish one up on 47 minutes before the visitors stunned their hosts with an equaliser through Darvydas Sernas.
Llornte scored again on 57 minutes before Man City winger David Silva made it safe.
Elsewhere, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored his sixth goal in three European Championship qualifiers to lead the Netherlands to a 1-0 victory over Moldova. Huntelaar’s 37th-minute strike sent the Dutch top of Group E with maximum points, and he should have scored more to make the game safe earlier.
Elsewhere in the same group Adam Szalai struck a hat-trick as Hungary secured their second straight win in Euro 2012 qualifying with a comprehensive victory over minnows San Marino at the Ferenc Puskas Stadion in Budapest. The Mainz frontman netted twice in the first half-hour, as did Gergely Rudolf, as the hosts stormed into a 4-0 lead.
Szalai completed his treble three minutes into the second period and Vladimir Koman made it six on the hour. Balazs Dzsudzsak extended the advantage in the 89th minute and there was still time for Zoltan Gera to convert a penalty after Zsolt Laczko had been fouled by Carlo Valentini, who was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Luxembourg picked up their first point in Group D of the Euro 2012 qualifiers as they frustrated 10-man Belarus in a goalless draw.
In the same group Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina played out a 1-1 draw in Tblisi.
Georgia’s last competitive home victory came three years ago, when they beat Scotland 2-0, and a strong showing from visiting keeper Justin Haber almost denied them again.
Also in Group H, former European champions Greece edged out Latvia 1-0 with a goal from Vasilis Torosidis after 58 minutes.
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