Ronaldo claims Euro goals record, Germany toils
15 November 2014, 07:43
Berlin — Cristiano Ronaldo became the European Championships' all-time top scorer by giving Portugal a 1-0 victory over Armenia, while Germany could only beat Gibraltar 4-0 as its World Cup victory hangover continued on Friday.
Portugal captain Ronaldo broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute to take his tally across Euro finals and qualifying to 23 goals. Denmark's Jon Dahl Tomasson and Turkey's Hakan Sukur had previously scored 22 goals each.
Germany was looking for a high score against Gibraltar, a territory of just 30,000 people which is playing its first qualifying tournament and had already lost 7-0 to both Ireland and Poland in Group D.
However, there were whistles from some fans at full-time after watching the World Cup holders labor against a defensively set-up side made up mostly of amateurs.
Convincing in Brazil during the summer, Germany had been held to a 1-1 draw by Ireland and beaten 2-0 by Poland in its two previous Euro 2016 qualifiers. It also lost 4-2 to Argentina in a friendly repeat of the World Cup final in September.
Elsewhere, Greece slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at home to the Faroe Islands and Denmark came from behind to beat Serbia 3-1. There were qualifying wins for Poland, Scotland, Romania and Hungary.
In London, Teofilo "Teo" Gutierrez headed in a late goal as Colombia came from behind to beat the United States 2-1 in a friendly.
Here's a roundup of action from Friday's Euro 2016 qualifying games:
Ronaldo's winner against Armenia meant Portugal stayed one point behind group leader Denmark. The Real Madrid star struck from close range following a goalmouth scramble.
Nicklas Bendtner scored twice as Denmark came from a goal down to beat Serbia 3-1 in Belgrade. The match was played in an empty Partizan stadium because of incidents in a qualifier between Serbia and Albania last month. Serbia was penalized by UEFA for pitch skirmishes involving players and fans over an Albanian flag that was flown above the stadium by a drone.
Serbia winger Zoran Tosic opened the scoring with a low strike from 12 yards (meters) in the fourth minute.
But Bendtner equalized from close range in the 60th before centerback Simon Kjaer gave the visitors the lead two minutes later by heading in a free kick from Christian Eriksen. Bendtner made it 3-1 in the 85th.
Serbia coach Dick Advocaat was quoted by UEFA's website: "This is our first terrible match since I became the manager. If someone should be blamed then it's me. And, yes, I will think about resigning."
France, which has already qualified as the host of Euro 2016, drew 1-1 with Albania in Rennes.
Albania defender Mergim Mavraj stunned the hosts with a header in the 40th. But France substitute Antoine Griezmann salvaged a draw by cutting inside to fire into the bottom corner in the 73rd.
Thomas Mueller scored twice as Germany got its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign back on track with an unconvincing 4-0 win over Gibraltar.
Mueller opened the scoring in the 12th minute and claimed his second 17 minutes later. Mario Goetze made it 3-0 in the 38th, before an own goal from Yogan Santos completed the scoring in the 67th.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said beforehand he wanted a result to reflect his side's status as the World Cup winners and he started with a very attacking line-up and just three defenders.
The home side dominated the game but found it hard to penetrate the visitors' stubborn defending, especially in the second half.
Liam Walker almost scored for Gibraltar with an audacious effort from the sideline just before the interval, only to be denied by a great save from Manuel Neuer.
Germany remains three points behind Group D leader Poland, which won 4-0 in Georgia thanks to second half goals from Kamil Glik, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Sebastian Mila and Arkadiusz Milik.
Shaun Maloney's 75th-minute strike was enough for Scotland to beat Ireland 1-0 in Glasgow, moving the Scots level on points with Ireland and Germany.
Greece continued its disastrous run in qualifying with a humiliating 1-0 defeat to the Faroe Islands, while Northern Ireland surrendered its lead in Group F to Romania.
The result in Greece is almost certain to prompt the dismissal of coach Claudio Ranieri, who hasn't won a game since taking over in the summer and has now lost three straight at home.
Greek Football Association president Giorgos Sarris has called an emergency board meeting and said he took "full responsibility for the most unfortunate selection of this coach." Sarris pledged to make changes "so that the national team never again has such a shameful evening."
The Faroe Islanders, winning only their third European qualifier in 19 years, celebrated after the four minutes of injury time were up. Several of them in tears as they were clapped by Greek fans at Karaiskaki Stadium in Piraeus.
The remote archipelago of 50,000 inhabitants is ranked 187th among 208 nations in FIFA, while Greece is ranked 18th.
Joan Edmundsson scored in the 61st minute, firing in a ball that fell favorably in front of Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis.
In Bucharest, Romania looked rejuvenated under coach Anghel Iordanescu, returning for his third spell at the national team, fighting hard to beat Northern Ireland 2-0. Paul Papp scored twice in six minutes in the second half, finally beating goalkeeper Roy Carroll who had been key to his country's opening run of three wins.
There was a late winner at Budapest's Groupama Arena, where Hungary's Zoltan Gera scored in the 84th minute to beat Finland 1-0 and claim third place.
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