World Cup qualifiers: Scotland stun Croatia as Italy's Mario Balotelli sees red

Updated: 08 June 2013 12:28 IST

Gianluigi Buffon kept Italy in the match with saves from Vladimir Darida, Petr Jiracek and Libor Kozak. That was enough to push out the Azzurri lead over second-placed Bulgaria at the top of Group B to three points, with the Czechs two-points further back.

World Cup qualifiers: Scotland stun Croatia as Italy's Mario Balotelli sees red

Paris:

Scotland caused the upset of the latest round of World Cup qualifiers in Europe with a 1-0 victory at Croatia on Friday.

But it was still errant Italy forward Mario Balotelli who stole the headlines as he was sent off in his team's 0-0 draw at Czech Republic.

There was little to get excited about in the game itself as the hosts dominated but were kept at bay by a Juventus-dominated Italian rear-guard.

But 18 minutes from time AC Milan striker Balotelli picked up his second booking within three minutes to earn a red card.

That sent the troubled 22-year-old into an angry fit as he lashed out at anything within range once he'd left the pitch, as Italy coach Cesare Prandelli told him to sit down on the bench and stay calm.

Gianluigi Buffon kept Italy in the match with saves from Vladimir Darida, Petr Jiracek and Libor Kozak.

That was enough to push out the Azzurri lead over second-placed Bulgaria at the top of Group B to three points, with the Czechs two-points further back.

In Zagreb, Robert Snodgrass notched the only goal of the game as Gordon Strachan's Scotland earned their first win of the qualifying campaign, ending Croatia's unbeaten Group A record.

Snodgrass volleyed home on the stretch after a mazy run from Wigan's Shaun Maloney ended with the ball breaking kindly to his team-mate off a home defender.

The result was even more surprising as Croatia are currently ranked fourth in the FIFA World Rankings.

It also meant they dropped three points off Belgium, who maintained their unbeaten start with a 2-1 win over Serbia, who are now out of contention as they trail the group leaders by 12 points.

Ukraine ensured Group H remained even more congested at the top than before with a stunning 4-0 success at group leaders Montenegro.

That result, earned with goals from Denys Garmash, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Artem Fedetskiy and Roman Bezus, played into England's hands.

England are second, two points behind Montenegro but with a game in hand. Ukraine are third, a further point back, and also with a game in hand, meaning the top three could be separated by just a single point if the two chasers win their games in hand.

The game in Podgorica finished with just 19 players on the pitch as the hosts had Savo Pavicevic and Vladimir Volkov dismissed in the second half while Roman Zozulia had already been given his marching orders for the visitors in the first period.

Robbie Keane scored a hat-trick as Republic of Ireland beat minnows Faroe Islands 3-0 in Dublin to remain level on points with second-placed Austria, who beat Sweden 2-1, in Group C, where Germany are five points clear.

Bosnia and Hercegovina maintained their unbeaten record and three-point lead over Greece at the top of Group G with a 5-0 win in Lativia. Greece won 1-0 at Lithuania.

Topics : Football Croatia Italy Czech Republic Mario Balotelli
Related Articles
Cristiano Ronaldo Awaits Fourth Ballon d'Or Coronation
Cristiano Ronaldo Awaits Fourth Ballon d'Or Coronation
Sergio Ramos to Rescue as Real Madrid Set 35-Game Unbeaten Record
Sergio Ramos to Rescue as Real Madrid Set 35-Game Unbeaten Record
Jamie Vardy Shreds Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, Arsenal go Top
Jamie Vardy Shreds Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, Arsenal go Top
Show Comments
Advertisement