Euro 2012 round-up: Mario Gomez gives Germany late victory

Mario Gomez
Gomez celebrates after scoring the first of his goals against Austria

Mario Gomez's 89th-minute winner gave Germany victory over Austria in their Euro 2012 qualifier to leave his side with six wins out of six in Group A.

Gomez put his side ahead from close range but Arne Friedrich's own goal meant Austria were set for a point until Gomez met Philipp Lahm's cross.

In Group D, a lacklustre France side were held to a draw in Belarus.

Eric Abidal deflected a free-kick into his own net but Florent Malouda rescued Les Bleus with a curling shot.

France manager Laurent Blanc was unhappy that his side failed to avenge the defeat they suffered in their opening game of their campaign, saying: "It was a disappointing match, especially in the first half. We lacked a bit of freshness - I don't think we deserved to win tonight.

"They've taken four points off us in two matches and that's a lot - yet they are not a better team than us. We came for three points and we didn't get them."

France remain four points clear of Belarus at the top of the group, while Romania are up to third on eight points thanks to a 3-0 win over Bosnia, with Ciprian Marica getting two of their goals.

Antonio Cassano
Cassano scored Italy's second goal against Estonia

Italy remain runaway leaders in Group C after thumping Estonia 3-0.

Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano both notched with angled drives and Giampaolo Pazzini came off the bench to score a third goal.

Cesare Prandelli's side stay five points clear of second-placed Slovenia, who beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 through a Tim Matavz drive and an Rogvi Baldvinsson own goal, despite having defender Marko Suler sent off early on.

Northern Ireland, who are next in action against the Faroe Islands in September, are five points further back in fifth, having played two games fewer.

The biggest shock of Friday's other qualifiers was a 2-0 win for Liechtenstein over Lithuania, which means Scotland remain third in Group I.

Lithuania created a host of chances but Liechtenstein took the lead through a rising strike from Philippe Erne in the sixth minute, and Franz Burgmeier set up Michele Polverino for their second goal.

Elsewhere, Croatia clinched their first win in Georgia to move above Greece at the top of Group F.

Jaba Kankava headed Georgia in front but Croatia hit the woodwork three times before Mario Mandzukic levelled with a neat finish from outside the area with 14 minutes to go.

Almost straight from the restart, former Arsenal striker Eduardo teased and taunted three defenders before threading a superb low cross for Nikola Kalinic to slide in and drill the ball home.

"The winning goal will come as a tremendous confidence boost after I was starved of first-team football at Blackburn for the best part of this season," a delighted Kalinic told Croatian TV afterwards.

"The most important thing, though, is we fought back after falling behind to earn three priceless points."

Sweden gave their chances of taking second place in Group E a huge boost as they won 4-1 in Moldova, with two goals from Johan Elmander helping them on their way.

The Dutch lead that group with a perfect 18 points from six matches, with Sweden second on 12 points from five games and Hungary third, having played a game more.

In the other game in Group A, Guus Hiddink's Turkey boosted their qualifying hopes with a 1-1 draw against second-placed Belgium in Brussels.

Marvin Ogunjimi put the Belgians ahead after only four minutes but Burak Yilmaz tapped home to equalise and the home side wasted a golden opportinity to take the points when Axel Witsel missed a late penalty.

Turkey are a point behind Belgium, who have 11 points from seven matches, but Hiddink's men have played a game less.

Germany are seven points clear at the top, although their coach Joachim Loew felt they were "lucky" to beat Austria, adding: "We did not show our usual class. Otherwise, Austria would have had more problems. They fought hard but in the end, the three points are the only thing that matters to us."

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