Hindu, India

Friday, Apr 01, 2005

Sport - Football

England ekes out a win over Azerbaijan

PARIS, MARCH 31. Steven Gerrard and David Beckham scored as England scored a
2-0 victory over minnows Azerbaijan while other top sides France and Spain
struggled in European World Cup qualifiers.

England was expected to put a hatful of goals past the former Soviet
Republic but it was not to be while 10-man France could only draw 1-1 in
Israel and Spain's trip to Serbia and Montenegro finished 0-0 on Wednesday.

Azerbaijan, 8-0 loser to Poland at the weekend, managed to hold England at
bay till half-time at St. James' Park.

It took 51 minutes for midfielder Gerrard to break the deadlock before
Beckham beat the offside trap to seal victory 11 minutes later.

England remains on top of Group Six with 16 points, one ahead of Poland
which beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in Warsaw.

Argentina posts win

Meanwhile, in South America, Argentina extended its lead, beating a 10-man
Colombia 1-0 while Brazil was held to a 1-1 draw by Uruguay.

Hernan Crespo scored in the 65th minute to lead Argentina, which improved to
28 points with five rounds remaining.

Crespo converted on a pass from Luciano Galletti to score his fifth goal in
qualifying and Argentina moved a step closer to securing a berth for the
2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

Colombia was reduced to 10 men in the 41st minute after midfielder Fabian
Vargas was ejected with his second yellow card in seven minutes. Brazil's
draw at Montevideo dropped it four points behind the Argentines in second
place while Ecuador also fell back two more points, remaining third with 20
after a 2-2 draw at Peru.

The results: urope: Group 1: Andorra 0 lost to Czech Republic 4; Netherlands
2 bt Armenia 0; Macedonia 1 lost to Romania 2; Group 2: Georgia 2 lost to
Turkey 5; Greece 2 bt Albania 0; Ukraine 1 bt Denmark 0; Group 3: Estonia 1
drew with Russia 1; Latvia 4 bt Luxembourg 0; Slovakia 1 drew with Portugal
1; Group 4: Israel 1 drew with France 1; Switzerland 1 bt Cyprus 0; Group 5:
Moldova 0 drew with Norway 0; Slovenia 1 drew with Belarus 1; Group 6:
Austria 1 bt Wales 0; England 2 bt Azerbaijan 0; Poland 1 bt Northern
Ireland 0; Group 7: Bosnia 1 drew with Lithuania 1; San Marino 1 lost to
Belgium 2; Serbia-Montenegro 0 drew with Spain 0; Group 8: Croatia 3 bt
Malta 0; Hungary 1 drew with Bulgaria 1.

South America: Argentina 1 bt Colombia 0; Paraguay 2 bt Chile 1; Peru 2 drew
with Ecuador 2; Uruguay 1 drew with Brazil 1.

CONCACAF: Trinidad and Tobago 0 drew with Costa Rica 0; Panama 1 drew with
Mexico 1; United States 2 bt Guatemala 0. - Agencies