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Last runners ready to spring out of EURO blocks

Published: Monday 6 September 2010, 9.10CET
The road to UEFA EURO 2012 continues on Tuesday as five more teams enter the fray, with highlights including a daunting trip for France and Switzerland's meeting with England.
Last runners ready to spring out of EURO blocks
Azerbaijan coach Berti Vogts ©Getty Images
 
Published: Monday 6 September 2010, 9.10CET

Last runners ready to spring out of EURO blocks

The road to UEFA EURO 2012 continues on Tuesday as five more teams enter the fray, with highlights including a daunting trip for France and Switzerland's meeting with England.

The five countries yet to kick a ball in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying enter the fray on Tuesday when another 23 matches take place.

Two of those sides, Austria and Azerbaijan, are in Group A, with the latter facing a daunting fixture against Germany almost 12 months to the day since losing 4-0 to the FIFA World Cup semi-finalists. Austria have a somewhat gentler introduction in the shape of a visit from Kazakhstan.

In Group G, Switzerland begin their campaign at home to an injury-affected England side nonetheless in buoyant mood after a 4-0 defeat of Bulgaria, while Denmark play their opening Group H match at home to Iceland. The Czech Republic complete the quintet as they take on Lithuania in Olomouc.

The Netherlands, meanwhile, are preparing for their first home match since losing to European champions Spain in the World Cup final two months ago. Bert van Marwijk's team welcome Finland to Rotterdam fresh from Friday's 5-0 Group E success in San Marino, where Ruud van Nistelrooy rounded off the scoring in his first international appearance in over two years.

The strike was Van Nistelrooy's 34th in the Oranje jersey, lifting him above Johan Cruyff and Abe Lenstra into fourth in the Dutch's all-time scorers' list and within sight of Faas Wilkes (35), Dennis Bergkamp (37) and Patrick Kluivert (40). "That is really nice for him, he is a true lover of the game," said Van Marwijk.

While the Netherlands were enjoying themselves in Serravalle, France were enduring a shock 1-0 home loss to Belarus − Les Bleus' fourth successive defeat in all competitions. With injuries mounting – strikers Guillaume Hoarau, Loïc Rémy and Louis Saha have all withdrawn – Laurent Blanc's squad face another testing Group D assignment in Sarajevo against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A new era of sorts will be ushered in for Italian football as visitors the Faroe Islands provide Cesare Prandelli with his first home opposition as Azzurri coach. Prandelli will be hoping for a more straightforward evening than Friday, when Antonio Cassano and Leonardo Bonucci turned the Group C game in his team's favour after Estonia had taken a first-half lead.

A full list of Friday's results and Tuesday's matches can be found here.

 
Last updated: 17/09/10 17.20CET

Related information

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/finals/news/newsid=1523160.html#last+runners+ready+spring+euro+blocks

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