Croatia Soar to Summit
Dado Prso(R) of Croatia and Kevin Sammut of Malta fight for the ball during a qualification match in Zagreb for the 2006 World Cup. Coratia won 3-0(AFP/Denis Lovrovic)
By Steve Douglas, PA International
Croatia climbed to the top of World Cup European Zone qualifying Group Eight with a 3-0 win over Malta at the Stadion Maksimir. With previous leaders Sweden not having a qualifying game tonight, the Croats took full advantage as they overran the group minnows in a one-sided contest.
Two first-half goals by Rangersâ€™ Dado Prso, who scored in the 24th and 35th minute, set the home side on their way before Igor Tudor fired home in the 80th minute to see off the plucky visitors.
The Czech Republic claimed their fifth win in Group One with a comprehensive 4-0 drubbing of bottom side Andorra at the Estadio Comunal de Aixovall.
The visitors, vying with Holland for top spot in the table, took a two-goal lead into the break thanks to Marek Jankulovskiâ€™s penalty and Liverpoolâ€™s Milan Baros.
Further strikes in the second period by Vratislav Lokvenc and Tomas Rosicky â€“ who netted a last-minute penalty â€“ sealed the win for the Czechs.
A second-half goal by forward Sergei Terehhov earned Estonia a surprise point in the 1-1 home draw with Group Three rivals Russia. Terehhov struck just after the hour mark to derail Russiaâ€™s hopes of challenging Slovakia and Portugal. The visitors had taken the lead through Andrei Arshavin after 18 minutes.
Elsewhere in the group, Luxembourg are still without a point after they were soundly beaten 4-0 at Latvia.
Imants Bleidelis put the hosts ahead in the 33rd minute before Juris Laizans fired home a 38th-minute penalty.
Maris Verpakovskis added a second-half double to wrap up the comfortable win for Latvia, who remain in fourth place but close the gap on Russia to just one point.
Croatia cruise past Malta to lead group
Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:17 PM GMT
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ZAGREB, March 30 (Reuters) - Croatia moved top of European zone Group Eight on Wednesday as two goals from Dado Prso and one
from Igor Tudor gave them a 3-0 victory over Malta.
Croatia leapfrogged Sweden to lead their World Cup qualifying group with 13 points to Sweden's 12.
Rangers striker Prso outjumped Malta goalkeeper Justin Haber to open the scoring after 24 minutes and 12 minutes later he doubled the lead after latching on to a Niko Kranjcar pass.
Croatia coach Zlatko Kranjcar reshuffled his side at halftime and they had to wait until 10 minutes from time to add a third when Siena defender Tudor shot home from the edge of the area.
Croatia Takes Easy 3-0 on Malta
Sports: 30 March 2005, Wednesday.
Croatia has defeated Malta in an easy home win 3-0 on Wednesday.
The outsider Malta confirmed preliminary expectations it is too small against the strength of Croatia who has a bunch of good footballers. Only a few days ago Iceland came to Croatia and lost 4-0. Malta did draw 0-0 with Iceland but that is their only point so far. The win for Croatia put them on top of Group 8 ahead of Sweden. They beat Sweden away earlier. Malta has conceded 13 goals in 4 games but seven of those did come in just one game when they lost 7-0 at home to Sweden. They were
also beaten hard by Bulgaria, which is playing later on Wednesday its crucial qualified against Hungary.