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England Hits Eight But Spain And Portugal Can Only Draw

England put eight past San Marino in their World Cup qualifier but the result of the day was in Spain where Finland held the current World Champions to a 1-1 draw.

Sergio Ramos gave Vicente Del Bosque’s side the lead shortly into the second half but Teemu Pukki made the most of a rare chance for the visitors to draw level on 78 minutes.

The result means that Spain slipped to second place in Group I, two points behind leaders France, who Spain play in Paris next Tuesday. Anything less than a Spanish win, will mean that Spain will be forced to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil via the playoffs.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of starring in Rio next summer hit in a bump in Tel Aviv when Israel led Portugal 3-1 with 20 minutes left in their World Cup qualifier. But Portugal rescued a point thanks to Fábio Coentrão’s 93rd-minute goal.

The result leaves Israel and Portugal tied on on eight points, four behind group leaders Russia, half-way through their qualifying campaign.

England warmed up for their crunch game in Montenegro on Tuesday by thrashing San Marino 8-0, their biggest win since October 1987. Having needed 35 minutes to make the breakthrough in the reverse fixture at Wembley in October, England were five to the good by half-time courtesy of a Alessandro Della Valle own goal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jermain Defoe, Ashley Young and Frank Lampard. Wayne Rooney, substitute Daniel Sturridge and Defoe added further goals after the break.

Like Spain, England trail leaders Montenegro by two points, and they will need a win on Tuesday to avoid having to qualify through the play-off.

Elsewhere in Europe, Croatia won 2-0 against Serbia as the sides met in Zagreb, and Germany maintained their unbeaten start in Group C with a routine 3-0 win in Kazakhstan.

Denmark finally picked up their first win of their Group B campaign, an impressive 3-0 in the Czech Republic, while Bosnia and Herzegovina put themselves in the clear at the top of Group G with a 3-1 success against second-ranked Greece.

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