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Mixed Euro 2008 prospects for Bayern stars

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Mixed Euro 2008 prospects for Bayern stars

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:10 pm

25.03.2007

Europe's footballing nations are targeting berths at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, but the dream of appearing at next year's European Championships may yet crumble to dust for one or two of Bayern's international stars. Whereas Germany and France continued serenely on track for the tournament in the two Alpine republics, a couple of the established names in the continental game are in danger of stumbling.

A Kevin Kuranyi brace helped form team Germany take a giant stride towards next summer's showdown with a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic in front of a 17,821 sell out crowd in Prague. The Schalke striker's headed efforts either side of half time confirmed the visitors' dominance, which only seriously came under threat after Milan Baros had pulled one back 15 minutes from time. The result sees the Germans pull clear at the top of Group D on 13 points, ahead of the Czechs and Ireland on 10 points apiece.

<b>Cech thwarts Schweini and Poldi</b>

Coach Joachim Löw started with Bayern trio <b>Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger</b> and <b>Lukas Podolski</b>, although the Munich men were out of luck in front of goal on the night. Czech keeper Petr Cech saved three early Schweinsteiger efforts before twice denying Podolski, who held his head in anguish after seeing a shot rebound from the bar on the stroke of half-time. The striker turned provider only for Bernd Schneider to squander a gilt-edged opening after the interval, but Lahm went one better with the assist for Kuranyi's match-winning goal.

World Cup runners-up France look a solid bet in Group B, settling in nicely at the top of the standings on 12 points thanks to a 1-0 victory in Lithuania. <b>Willy Sagnol</b> covered the full match distance for the 1984 European champions, who took the points courtesy of Nicolas Anelka's 73rd minute strike. The French still have work to do, as Scotland are level on points at the top, with Ukraine (9 pts) and World Cup winners Italy (7) hot on their heels.

<b>Belgium in trouble</b>

The situation is less positive for <b>Owen Hargreaves</b> and his England team-mates, as Steve McLaren's side suffered a setback in Tel Aviv, where Israel held firm against the dominant English to secure a goalless draw. Hargreaves and his team-mates now lie third in Group E with eight points from five matches, behind leaders Croatia (13) and Russia (11). The Bayern midfielder managed the full 90 minutes in a solid display in his first international after a long injury lay-off.

England remain in with a good shout of qualifying, but Belgium and their captain <b>Daniel van Buyten</b> are practically out of the Group A running following a thumping 4-0 defeat in Portugal. The 1980 Euro runners-up lie a lowly fifth with seven points from six games, trailing Poland (13), Finland (11), Portugal and Serbia (both 10), and look to have only an outside chance of making the finals.

<b>Victory for Lucio</b>

In friendly match action, five times World Cup winners Brazil recorded a comfortable 4-0 victory over Chile in Gothenburg, Sweden. The side captained by <b>Lucio</b> eased to victory courtesy of a Ronaldinho brace and individual strike from Kaka and Juan. The <i>Selecao</i> remain in Stockholm for a friendly against Ghana on 28 March.

Finally, <b>Ali Karimi</b> will return to the Säbener Strasse on a winning note after the midfielder and his Iran team-mates defeated Qatar 1-0 in a friendly.
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