Road to Brazil 2014: Kola-rocket sets up Serbia rout
- Tue 11 Sep 2012, 9:56PM
- Posted by Mark Booth
City’s Balkan trio celebrate comprehensive wins while England leave it late to rescue a draw at Wembley.
England edged June’s meeting with Ukraine at Euro 2012 but they were unable to do enough to grab the three points this time, with only a late Frank Lampard penalty getting Hodgson's men out of jail.
City’s trio of England stars Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and James Milner kept their places and played the full 90 minutes for their second Group H fixture which proved to be a far tougher test than Friday's 5-0 cakewalk in Moldova.
Just before half-time, the so-called “Ukrainian Messi” Konoplyanka gave Ukraine the lead with a beautiful strike from 25 yards that even the little Argentine maestro would have been proud of, leaving Hart with no chance.
A handball decision late into the second half granted Lampard the opportunity to level matters and the Chelsea man made no mistake, slamming the ball home after 86 minutes.
Elsewhere, Aleksandar Kolarov celebrated his 32nd cap by opening his account for Serbia with a rocket of a free-kick in the 6-1 destruction of Wales but the trademark strike wasn’t the only thing to admire in the 26-year old’s performance.
The full-back was a constant menace to the right hand side of the Welsh defence and he provided the second for Tosic after a surging run and pinpoint cross.
Matija Nastasic was also in action for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side and was largely untested against a Wales team that struggled in every department.
City’s Bosnian hitman Edin Dzeko hit a hat-trick in his nation’s 8-1 rout over Liechtenstein on Friday and made it four in two games, netting the fourth and final goal in injury time for his country in a 4-1 win over Latvia.
In scoring, Dzeko stretched his legs at the top of the all-time Bosnian scoring charts after securing the record last time out and he even found time to set up Pjanic for his goal in the 44th minute.
David Silva was also in action for Spain for their first World Cup Qualifying fixture away in Georgia.
Vincente Del Bosque handed Silva a free role and the midfielder floated between Xavi and Soldado to great effect, looking the likeliest to break the deadlock against the stubborn Georgian resistance in the first half, hitting the post with a well hit effort.
He lasted 70 minutes of the qualifier before he was withdrawn for Arsenal’s Santi Carzola but it was Valencia’s Roberto Soldado who found the breakthrough with a glorious swept finish five minutes from time.
Belgium captain Vincent Kompany played the full 90 minutes in a hard-earned 1-1 draw against Croatia in Brussels.
Finally, Gael Clichy and Costel Pantilimon were unused subsitutes for France and Romania’s wins over Belarus and Andorra respectively. Pablo Zabaleta will be hoping to feature for Argentina in the early hours of Wednesday morning when they take on Peru in Lima.