UEFA World Cup qualifying: Spain wins opener; England ties Ukraine
TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- World Cup champion Spain defeated Georgia 1-0 on an 86th-minute goal by Roberto Soldado on Tuesday, the first step by the Spaniards on their road to the 2014 World Cup.
This was the 23rd consecutive victory in qualifying matches for Spain, which has three points in Group I and is tied with Georgia. Spain is attempting to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive major title after repeating as European champion this summer.
Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Loria kept Spain from converting its overwhelming possession into a goal until he was forced off with a leg injury. Substitute Cesc Fabregas then found Soldado, who took the pass and scored with four minutes left.
David Silva hit the post in Spain's best chance in the first half. Aleksander Amisulashvili hit the post in the 54th minute for Georgia.
WEMBLEY, England (AP) -- Frank Lampard's late equalizer spared Roy Hodgson from losing his first competitive home match as England coach on Tuesday, salvaging a draw against Ukraine in 2014 World Cup qualifying.
Lampard scored his 26th England goal in the 87th minute from the penalty spot after Yevhen Khacheridi handled the ball.
But England's pursuit of a winner was stymied by being reduced to 10 men when captain Steven Gerrard received a second yellow card for fouling Denys Garmash.
Yevhen Konoplianka had put Ukraine in front in the 39th, crisply curling the ball from 25 yards (meters) into the top corner of Joe Hart's goal in the team's first qualifier on the road to Brazil.
England, which hired Hodgson before Euro 2012, opened World Cup qualifying Friday with a 5-0 rout in Moldova.
LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Gonzalo Higuain scored in the 37th minute to help Argentina scratch out a 1-1 draw with Peru on Tuesday and stay on top of the standings in South American World Cup qualifying.
Carlos Zamorano scored in the 22nd minute for Peru, which could have had at least one more goal, but Argentina keeper Sergio Romero stopped Claudio Pizarro's penalty in the 3rd minute. Peru also hit a post and was always more threatening against Argentina's frail defense.
The draw gave Argentina 14 points after seven of 14 matches, followed by Ecuador and Colombia with 13, Chile and Uruguay with 12 and Peru on 7.
"We knew it was going to be like this,'' Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano said. "This is a tough place to play and the pitch wasn't that good. Everyone wants to beat Argentina.''
Zamorano gave Peru the lead, chipping in from 8 meters after a cross from Luis Advincula.
Higuain equalized for Argentina in the 37th, set up by a perfect pass from the right wing by Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Peru matched Argentina in the first half, with the attacking of Jefferson Farfan and Advincula troubling Argentina's nervous defense. Lionel Messi was held in check and Peru was more aggressive, getting away with several rough tackles.
The Gauchos knew they were in for a high-intensity match ever since Monday when the bus carrying Argentina players from practice was pelted with thrown objects, breaking several windows.
Peru had the better chances early in the second half with Paulo Cruzado hitting the post in the 54th. Three minutes later Argentina midfielder Fernando Gago was taken off the field on a stretcher with a head injury.
Peru's Pizarro and Argentina's Higuain and Marcos Rojo had chances to score late in the match, although a late goal by Argentina would have been an injustice.
Messi had nine goals in his previous five games for Argentina, but the Barcelona forward was not a factor in this one.
VIENNA (AP) -- Marco Reus scored his third international goal and Mesut Oezil added a penalty Tuesday to help Germany beat Austria 2-1 in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Germany looked vulnerable in defense and narrowly avoided a second Austrian goal several times.
"We have got six points from two matches, the start is good,'' Germany captain Philipp Lahm said. "But we can't be satisfied with our game, especially early in the match and at the end.''
Coming from the left wing, Reus dribbled past Austria defenders Gyorgy Garics and Emanuel Pogatetz and beat keeper Robert Almer at the near post in the closing minute of the first half.
Oezil doubled Germany's lead in the 52nd from the penalty spot after Thomas Mueller was pushed down by Austria midfielder Veli Kavlak.
Zlatko Junuzovic reduced Austria's deficit five minutes later, converting a cross by Marko Arnautovic.
Austria got several chances for a late equalizer but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer prevented Joachim Loew's team from dropping points in the sold-out Ernst Happel Stadium.
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- Jeremain Lens scored twice to lead the Netherlands to a win over Hungary in a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday.
Lens scored his first in the third minute, heading in a pass from the right side by Luciano Narsingh, only for Hungary to equalize four minutes later through a penalty by Balazs Dzsudzsak after Jordy Clasie fouled Zoltan Gera.
The Dutch team regained the lead for good in the 19th when Bruno Martens headed in a free kick by Wesley Sneijder. Serious defensive lapses by Hungary led to the visiting team's last two goals, with Lens scoring again in the 52nd and Klaas Jan Huntelaar netting the fourth in the 74th.
The Netherlands are second on goal difference in Group D, behind Romania.
MODENA, Italy (AP) -- European Championship runner-up Italy limped to an unconvincing win over minnow Malta in its second World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday.
Mattia Destro scored his first international goal in the fifth minute but the bright start was to prove a false dawn for Italy as it struggled to carve out more decent goalscoring opportunities. Federico Peluso sealed the result in injury time.
Malta posed little threat and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was reduced to a spectator's role for much of the match.
However, it will be the lack of attacking thrust which will again trouble Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli.
And Italy will face more criticism after opening its European Group C campaign with a disappointing 2-2 draw with Bulgaria on Friday.
SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) -- Franck Ribery scored a well-taken goal and helped create the other two as France beat Belarus in a 2014 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Midfielder Etienne Capoue and right back Christophe Jallet got their first international goals as France followed up Friday's 1-0 win in Finland with an encouraging performance ahead of next month's crucial match away to European Champion and World Cup holder Spain.
After Anton Putilo had pulled a goal back to give Belarus hope, Ribery charged forward down the left, collected a deft pass inside from Karim Benzema, and coolly clipped the ball over goalkeeper Sergei Veremko in the 80th minute.
Although France's strikers failed to score for the sixth consecutive match, the partnership of Benzema and Olivier Giroud looked promising and Giroud went close.
PANAMA CITY (AP) --Rolando Blackburn scored in the 26th minute and Blas Perez added a goal in the 56th to lead Panama over Canada 2-0 Tuesday night in a World Cup qualifier.
Blackburn out-jumped defenders to score on a header off a post. Perez scored off a pass from Alberto Quintero.
Panama (3-1) leads Group C of the North and Central American and Caribbean semifinals with nine points, followed by Honduras and Canada (both 2-1-1) with seven points each, with the Central Americans ahead of goal difference. Cuba (0-4) is last.
The top two nations advance to next year's regional finals, which will produce three qualifiers for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Canada hosts Cuba on Oct. 12, when Honduras is at Panama. In the final group games four days later, Panama is at Cuba and Canada is at Honduras.
BRAGA, Portugal (AP) -- Portugal scored three times in the last 30 minutes to beat Azerbaijan Tuesday for its second straight win in World Cup qualifying.
Substitute Silvestre Varela scored with his first touch of the game in the 63rd minute, side-footing in a loose ball after a rebounded from Cristiano Ronaldo's shot.
Ronaldo was also involved in Portugal's second goal five minutes from the end, as Helder Postiga tapped in the Real Madrid forward's deflected header.
Bruno Alves headed in four minutes later as Portugal's misfiring attack found its touch after hitting the woodwork four times in a game it dominated.
Portugal has two wins from two games in Group F after beating Luxembourg 2-1 last week.
ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) -- Jose Salomon Rondon scored both goals for Venezuela in a 2-0 win over Paraguay on Tuesday in South American World Cup qualifying.
Rondon scored in the 44th minute and again in the 67th to clinch the victory for Venezuela, the only team in the South American confederation that has never reached the World Cup
The victory improved Venezuela to 11 points, putting it in the scramble near the top the regional standings.
Paraguay, which has played in the last four World Cups and reached the quarterfinals two years ago in South Africa, has only four points and seems to have little chance this time of advancing.
NORTH SOUND, Antigua (AP) -- Carlos Ruiz scored in the first half to give Guatemala a 1-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Ruiz rifled a shot into the back of the net in the 26th minute to give Guatemala the victory and all but eliminate Antigua from contention.
Guatemala now shares the Group A lead with Jamaica ahead of its match against the United States later Tuesday. Antigua is at the bottom of the group with one point from four matches with just two remaining.
The loss was Antigua's second in less than a week to Guatemala after a 3-1 defeat on Friday.
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