The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Oct 13, 2012
 

Football: Heavyweights bare their teeth in Europe

 
 

PARIS (AFP) - Defending titleholders Spain and a cluster of former champions coasted to comfortable 2014 World Cup qualifying wins across Europe on Friday.

Spain overtook France at the top of Group I on goal difference on the back of their 4-0 rout of Belarus in Minsk, while, in Dublin, Germany inflicted a record 6-1 home defeat on an injury-ravaged Republic of Ireland.

England entertained at Wembley with a 5-0 demolition of San Marino, Italy saw off spirited Armenia and 2018 World Cup hosts Russia added zest to their hopes of making it to Brazil with a 1-0 win over a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal in Moscow.

World and European champions Spain warmed up for their showdown with France on Tuesday in style as Pedro Rodriguez fired a hat-trick in their emphatic victory.