Cyprus holds Germany to 1-1 draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Cyprus held three-time champion Germany to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday in European Championship qualifying.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Cyprus held three-time champion Germany to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday in European Championship qualifying, and Eduardo da Silva scored a hat trick to give Croatia a 4-3 win over Israel. Michael Ballack gave Germany the lead in the 16th minute at Cyprus, and it appeared that the Germans were on their way to a fourth victory in a row in Group D. But Yiannakis Okkas leveled for the Cypriots, who beat Ireland 5-2 victory a month ago. Despite dropping two unexpected points, Germany is tied with the Czech Republic, which drew 1-1 against Denmark in a friendly, for first place. Cyprus is tied for fourth with Ireland, which outplayed San Marino 5-0 in Dublin. Robbie Keane scored three goals for the Irish. There were seven Euro 2008 qualifying matches and 17 friendlies Wednesday, including England's 1-1 draw at the Netherlands and Brazil's 2-1 victory at Switzerland. World Cup champion Italy, France, European champion Greece and Spain played later. Group E is building up to be a close fight with five teams all closely in contention for the two qualification spots. Croatia moved to the top with a 4-3 victory at Israel, while Russia jumped three places to second by beating host Macedonia 2-0. Croatia has 10 points, followed by Russia with eight and England, Macedonia and Israel with seven each. Roberto Colautti scored the first of his two goals for Israel in the eighth minute before a penalty by Darijo Srna and two goals by Da Silva put the Croats in control in Tel Aviv. Yossi Benayoun hit back for Israel in the 68th, but Da Silva scored a third in the 72nd and Colautti's second in the final minute came too late. Routine victory Russia's victory in Macedonia was routine, Vladimir Bystrov and Andrei Arshavin scoring in the first 32 minutes. "It was the best game since I became coach of the national team," Russia coach Guus Hiddink said. "We came here with a lot of respect, but without fear. We managed to control the game in the early stage and we successfully isolated their strikers." Finland edged Armenia 1-0 to take over first place in Group A. Mika Nurmela scored in the 10th minute in Helsinki. In the other group game, Poland beat host Belgium 1-0 with Radoslaw Matusiak scoring in the 19th minute. Poland is a point behind the Finns and level with Serbia, which drew 1-1 with Norway in a friendly. Wayne Rooney scored for the first time in eight international's in England's 1-1 draw at the Netherlands. The Manchester United striker scored with right heel in the 37th minute at the Amsterdam Arena, but Rafael van der Vaart equalized in the 86th after England failed to clear Arjen Robben's long throw in. Luisao and Kaka scored in Brazil's 2-1 victory over the Swiss in Basel, one of the venues for Euro 2008, which is being co-hosted with Austria. Milan Baros scored in injury time for the Czech Republic against the Danes. After Peter Loevenkrands had given Denmark a 28th-minute lead in Prague, Baros leveled with seconds to go. After netting eight goals for Chelsea so far this season. Didier Drogba, who has scored eight goals for Chelsea this season, maintained his standout form with the Ivory Coast's lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Sweden in Le Mans, France. (AP)

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