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Bright new dawn for EURO hopefuls

Published: Wednesday 3 March 2010, 23.45CET
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Scotland and Georgia all began new eras with wins as rounds up the action for the European sides not going to the FIFA World Cup.
Bright new dawn for EURO hopefuls
Craig Levein (right) celebrates a victory in his first match as Scotland manager ©Getty Images features

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Published: Wednesday 3 March 2010, 23.45CET

Bright new dawn for EURO hopefuls

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Scotland and Georgia all began new eras with wins as rounds up the action for the European sides not going to the FIFA World Cup.

While this summer's FIFA World Cup is the immediate focus for 13 European sides, the rest are already training sights on UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying. There were winning starts for the new coaches of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Scotland and Georgia, but Guus Hiddink's reign at the Russia helm ended on a low note.

Pitted against compatriot Erwin Koeman for his Russia swansong, Hiddink endured a frustrating evening from the moment Vilmos Vanczák put Hungary ahead before half-time. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov equalised when he met Andrei Arshavin's cross with his knee (59), but the game was to end on a sour note as Edison Denisov received two yellow cards late on.

Hiddink will now take the reins at Turkey, who began life without Fatih Terim in style as goals either side of half-time from Emre Güngör and Hamit Altıntop earned a 2-0 victory over World Cup hopefuls Honduras. UEFA EURO 2012 hosts Poland beat Bulgaria by the same scoreline, while Eli Ohana made a seamless switch from coaching Israel Under-19s to the senior side as his temporary charges defeated Romania 2-0 in Timisoara.

Safet Sušić, Temuri Ketsbaia, Craig Levein and Zlatko Kranjčar began permanent reigns, with all but the latter victorious. Sušić's Bosnia and Herzegovina came from behind to beat Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Ghana 2-1, while Temuri Ketsbaia said he was "happy with the result but not the quality of the game" after David Siradze's last-minute header earned Georgia a 2-1 win against ten-man Estonia.

Levein also had a tough night against the Czech Republic but, after soaking up a lot of pressure, Scott Brown's effort just after the hour proved enough to secure Scotland's first friendly victory at Hampden Park in 14 years. Kranjčar endured a disappointing start as Montenegro coach as his side lost 2-1 away to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, but one member of his household had something to smile about after son Niko scored the only goal for Croatia against Belgium.

Iceland hit the woodwork three times in ten minutes as they were held to a goalless draw away to Cyprus in a prequel to their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying tussles. Latvia were pegged back to 1-1 in Angola but they were rare draws on a night for narrow wins, with Moldova, Azerbaijan, Sweden and Finland all victorious by the odd goal. Belarus beat Armenia 3-1.

Last updated: 21/04/10 11.44CET

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