Portugal turned on the style in Luxembourg to remain the dominant force in Group 3 as the year's final instalment of UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifiers saw games in seven of the eight groups, with new leaders in two and perfect records disappearing in two more.
Romania went top thanks to a 5-0 win in Armenia. Nicolae Mitea crossed for Razvan Cocis's fifth-minute opener before Armenia's Mkhitar Grigoryan missed a penalty. Gabriel Tamas's long-range free-kick doubled the lead on 15 minutes and Mitea made it 3-0 by half-time. Cosmin Moti and Mitea scored at either end of the second period to complete the rout. The Czech Republic will return to the summit on Wednesday if they defeat F.Y.R. Macedonia in the final U21 qualifier of 2004.
Denmark are the new leaders after their 4-2 victory in Georgia. Michael Krohn-Dehli and Thomas Kahlenberg scored in the first half-hour, and although Irakli Modebadze pulled one back before the break, Jonas Kamper and Mikkel Thygesen struck on 78 and 80 minutes before Pawel Datunaishvili's consolation. Ukraine are a point adrift, having played a game more, as they lost 1-0 in Turkey. Ibrahim Akin scored the first-half winner. Greece are just behind Turkey in fourth place, within three points of Denmark, after a 5-0 home success against bottom team Kazakhstan, Evagelos Mantzios missing a penalty then registering a hat-trick before substitute Dimitrios Pliagas added two more goals.
Portugal maintained their perfect record from four matches as they triumphed 6-1 in Luxembourg. Varela, Filipe Oliveira and Paulo Sérgio scored before half-time and Castro, Oliveira and Manuel Fernandes after it, with Philippe Durrer briefly reducing the deficit to 5-1. Russia remain within three points and consolidated second place by beating visiting Estonia 3-0. Yuri Zhirkov made it 1-0 and second-half substitutes Vartan Mazalov and Yuri Mamaev confirmed the result. Estonia stay fifth, a point ahead of Luxembourg.
Israel gained a 1-0 victory in Cyprus to overtake Switzerland and go second, two points behind France. Aviram Baruchyan was the scorer in the final ten minutes to take Israel three points above Switzerland, who have two games in hand.
Germany were only able to reduce England's advantage to three points as their perfect record ended with a 1-1 home draw against third-placed Poland. Karol Gregorek scored early on for the visitors and the hosts needed a 72nd-minute equaliser from Christian Schulz to secure a point. Germany also had Christian Müller carried off with a broken leg.
The pool was thrown wide open by Belgium's 4-0 home win against leaders Serbia and Montenegro. The latter had not dropped a point before tonight but Kevin Vandenbergh's hat-trick and substitute Benjamin De Ceulaer's strike lifted Belgium above Spain into second, two points behind Serbia and Montenegro with a match in hand. San Marino hoped to claim their first home point in the competition in 24 attempts when Mattia Masi gave them a half-time advantage against Lithuania. But Tomas Mikuckis levelled midway through the second period and four minutes later Arturas Rimkevicius converted a penalty to give the visitors a 2-1 win that leaves them third, level on points with Belgium.
Hungary rose from bottom spot to third after a 2-0 triumph in Malta. Krisztián Vadócz and Tibor Tisza's first-half goals ensured the Hungarians went within three points of leaders Croatia, with Malta falling into last position in the six-team group.
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