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Scotland seal shock win in Croatia

ESPN staff
June 7, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Croatia 0-1 Scotland

Robert Snodgrass was the hero as Scotland pulled off a major shock by picking up their first win of the World Cup qualifying campaign 1-0 against Croatia in Zagreb.

Gordon Strachan's men headed into the match already out of the race for Brazil in 2014, massive underdogs to claim a positive result and a staggering 70 places behind Croatia in the world rankings.

But Snodgrass proved to be the difference between the two nations when he grabbed the only goal of the game to hand the Scots their first competitive victory since beating Liechtenstein in October 2011.

Poland suffered frustration in Chisinau as they were held 1-1 by lowly Moldova.

Needing a point to put the pressure on second-placed England in Group H, Poland got off to the perfect start when Jakub Blaszczykowski fired them ahead just six minutes into the match. But they failed to build on it before Eugen Sidorenco levelled in the 37th minute and Poland could not find a winner as Moldova sat deep in the second half.

Malta finally earned their first points of the campaign as they scored early to beat fellow strugglers Armenia 1-0 in Yerevan.

The visitors, defeated in all five of their qualifiers to date, struck after just seven minutes when Michael Mifsud fired into the top right-hand corner of the goal from close range.

Bosnia-Herzegovina scored five second-half goals to finally put away 10-man Latvia 5-0 and strengthen their position atop Group G.

The hosts had Aleksandrs Fertovs sent off early in the game but kept the scoreline goalless until the interval. But Senad Lulic and Vedad Ibisevic struck shortly after half-time and further goals from Haris Medunjanin, Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko made for an emphatic away win.

Liechtenstein claimed just their second point with a 1-1 home draw against Slovakia which left the visitors' hopes in tatters.

Martin Buchel put Liechtenstein ahead in the 13th minute only for Jan Durica to head home the second-half equaliser, but the draw was an unappealing result for Slovakia who started the match third in Group G, two points behind second-placed Greece.

Azerbaijan and Luxembourg are both still searching for their first win after drawing 1-1 in Baku.

Hosts Azerbaijan, having hit the woodwork twice in the opening 25 minutes, took the lead in the battle of Group F's bottom two nations in the 71st minute when Ruslan Abishov headed home Araz Abdullayev's cross from the right. However, that lasted just nine minutes before Stefano Bensi drew Luxembourg level.

A Kasper Hamalainen goal separated Finland and Belarus as the home side edged a battle of the Group I also-rans 1-0 in Helsinki.

With Spain and France running away with the five-team World Cup qualifying group, Finland, Belarus and Georgia have been little more than cannon fodder for the European heavyweights, but this meeting gave two nations a chance to flex their own muscles.

Finland took the points and their first qualifying win thanks to Hämäläinen's 57th-minute goal, which could go down as an own goal for Igor Shitov. Belarus ended up a man down as Pavel Nekhaychik was sent off late on.

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