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Spain crash, England cruise in Euro qualifiers

By The Assam Tribune
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PARIS, Oct 10 (AFP): Defending European champions Spain suffered their first qualifying defeat in eight years on Thursday when they slumped to a 2-1 loss against Slovakia while England made it two wins in two.

Spain, who had opened their Euro 2016 campaign with a 5-1 mauling of Macedonia, exhibited all the faults which had led to their World Cup humiliation as Slovakia went top of Group C with a perfect six points.

Former Chelsea midfielder Miroslav Stoch, now plying his trade at Al Ain in the UAE, struck three minutes from time in Zilina to condemn Vicente Del Bosque�s team to a first qualifying defeat since 2006, a streak lasting 36 matches. At a subdued Wembley, England made it two wins from two with a routine 5-0 defeat of whipping boys San Marino.

Wayne Rooney took his international goal tally to 42 and forced Alessandro Della Valle into a late own goal, while Phil Jagielka, Danny Welbeck and substitute Andros Townsend also found the target.

Having won 2-0 away to Switzerland in their Group E opener, England have now prevailed in what are likely to be their hardest and easiest fixtures of the campaign. They play away to Estonia on Sunday.

�Job well done,� said England manager Roy Hodgson. �The crowd were fantastic. They�ve had an enjoyable night. We could have had more, but I can�t fault the players. I�m really pleased.

�At 5-0 when we lost the ball, we had three or four players sprinting back to win the ball back. That type of desire is very commendable.�

Switzerland�s campaign went from bad to worse as the team which made the last-16 at the World Cup slumped to a 1-0 defeat in Slovenia.

Milivoje Novakovic grabbed the winner from the penalty spot in Maribor in the 79th minute after Johan Djourou had brought down Kevin Kampl. The Swiss pressed for a point but were denied by a string of fine saves from Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

Lithuania also made it two wins in two in the group with a 1-0 win over Estonia in Vilnius.

Group G favourites Sweden and Russia fought out a 1-1 draw in Solna but Fabio Capello�s Russians stay top on goal difference from Montenegro and Austria.

Ola Toivonen scored a second-half equaliser for the Swedes who were missing injured striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Rennes forward cancelled out Dynamo Moscow forward Alexander Kokorin�s first-half opener as Sweden drew for the second time in as many group matches. Sweden should have claimed all three points but they missed a first half penalty awarded after Igor Smolnikov fouled Jimmy Durmaz in the area.

Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev parried Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson�s spotkick.

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Spain crash, England cruise in Euro qualifiers

PARIS, Oct 10 (AFP): Defending European champions Spain suffered their first qualifying defeat in eight years on Thursday when they slumped to a 2-1 loss against Slovakia while England made it two wins in two.

Spain, who had opened their Euro 2016 campaign with a 5-1 mauling of Macedonia, exhibited all the faults which had led to their World Cup humiliation as Slovakia went top of Group C with a perfect six points.

Former Chelsea midfielder Miroslav Stoch, now plying his trade at Al Ain in the UAE, struck three minutes from time in Zilina to condemn Vicente Del Bosque�s team to a first qualifying defeat since 2006, a streak lasting 36 matches. At a subdued Wembley, England made it two wins from two with a routine 5-0 defeat of whipping boys San Marino.

Wayne Rooney took his international goal tally to 42 and forced Alessandro Della Valle into a late own goal, while Phil Jagielka, Danny Welbeck and substitute Andros Townsend also found the target.

Having won 2-0 away to Switzerland in their Group E opener, England have now prevailed in what are likely to be their hardest and easiest fixtures of the campaign. They play away to Estonia on Sunday.

�Job well done,� said England manager Roy Hodgson. �The crowd were fantastic. They�ve had an enjoyable night. We could have had more, but I can�t fault the players. I�m really pleased.

�At 5-0 when we lost the ball, we had three or four players sprinting back to win the ball back. That type of desire is very commendable.�

Switzerland�s campaign went from bad to worse as the team which made the last-16 at the World Cup slumped to a 1-0 defeat in Slovenia.

Milivoje Novakovic grabbed the winner from the penalty spot in Maribor in the 79th minute after Johan Djourou had brought down Kevin Kampl. The Swiss pressed for a point but were denied by a string of fine saves from Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

Lithuania also made it two wins in two in the group with a 1-0 win over Estonia in Vilnius.

Group G favourites Sweden and Russia fought out a 1-1 draw in Solna but Fabio Capello�s Russians stay top on goal difference from Montenegro and Austria.

Ola Toivonen scored a second-half equaliser for the Swedes who were missing injured striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Rennes forward cancelled out Dynamo Moscow forward Alexander Kokorin�s first-half opener as Sweden drew for the second time in as many group matches. Sweden should have claimed all three points but they missed a first half penalty awarded after Igor Smolnikov fouled Jimmy Durmaz in the area.

Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev parried Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson�s spotkick.

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