• World Cup qualifying round-up

Scotland harmless at Hampden again

ESPN staff
September 11, 2012 « World Cup qualifying - Live | Chartbeat test »
Kenny Miller netted Scotland's equaliser © PA Photos
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Pressure grew on Craig Levein on Tuesday as Scotland failed to win at home for a second consecutive match, drawing 1-1 with Macedonia at Hampden Park.

Sections of the crowd booed Scotland off following their 0-0 draw with Serbia on Saturday, and they got the same treatment after Nikolce Noveski earned a point for Macedonia. Kenny Miller did at least give the home crowd something to celebrate with his equaliser, but a return of two points from as many home qualifiers is not ideal for Levein's men.

Miller's goal arrived when Jamie Mackie delivered an inviting ball across the face of goal and the striker fired home into the gaping net from close range.

However, Macedonia could have won it when Mirko Ivanovski found himself through on goal, only to find Allan McGregor up to the task with a superb save. McGregor was called into action again at the death to smother from Goran Pandev.

Wales' World Cup aspirations lie in tatters after an inept display at the Karadjordje Stadium saw them roundly thumped 6-1 by Serbia. Woeful defending played a major part in Wales' heaviest defeat since 1996 and Aleksandar Kolarov and Zoran Tosic had the hosts 2-0 up inside 25 minutes.

Gareth Bale gave Wales hope with a stunning free-kick but Filip Djuricic got a third for the hosts before the break and Dusan Tadic, Branislav Ivanovic and Miralem Sulejmani completed the rout.

The top-of-the-table battle between Belgium and Croatia finished 1-1, Guillaume Gillet cancelling out Ivan Perisic's opener. That result leaves Scotland two points off the pace in Group One, with Wales needing to close a four-point gap.

Elsewhere, Northern Ireland had to accept a demoralising 1-1 home draw against Luxembourg after a match they dominated ended with the visitors scoring a heavily deflected equaliser in the 86th minute.

The evening had started so promisingly for Michael O'Neill's side, with Dean Shiels claiming his first international goal with a deft finish in the 14th minute. The hosts had nearly all of the meaningful chances thereafter, with three efforts disallowed by the officials and Chris Brunt hitting a post, only for Daniel Da Mota's shot to squirm home via Ryan McGivern's shoulder.

Russia top Northern Ireland's group after they beat Israel 4-0, Alexander Kerzhakov scoring twice. The match was all but over as a contest inside 20 minutes as Kerzhakov and Aleksandr Kokorin put the visitors 2-0 up in Ramat Gan. Kerzhakov made it 3-0 in the 64th minute and Viktor Faitzulin added a fourth as Fabio Capello's side made it two wins from two qualifiers.

Portugal also chalked up a comfortable win, beating Azerbaijan 3-0 at Estadio AXA. Varela opened the scoring just after the hour, before Helder Postiga and Bruno Alves wrapped things up late on.

And Republic of Ireland's friendly against Oman resulted in a 4-1 victory. Shane Long, Robbie Brady, Kevin Doyle and Alex Pearce provided the goals.

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