Red-hot Huntelaar blazes EURO trail

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's prolific form, a record-equalling strike for David Villa and goals galore from Belgium and Austria all make the cut in's international pick of the week.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (right) scored twice against Sweden on Tuesday
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (right) scored twice against Sweden on Tuesday ©AFP

Player: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Netherlands)
Huntelaar cannot stop scoring. The 27-year-old struck three times during wins for the Netherlands against Moldova (1-0) and Sweden (4-1) in the latest UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers, taking his campaign total to a staggering eight in four games. Speaking after Tuesday's defeat of Sweden, he said: "It was a great match to play in, especially because I got two goals myself and provided an assist for Ibrahim Afellay." Huntelaar, also in the midst of a five-match scoring run for FC Schalke 04, has therefore netted eight times in his last seven games for club and country: beware VfB Stuttgart this weekend.

Team: Belarus Under-21s
Two goals down from the first instalment of their UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off against five-time winners Italy, Georgi Kondratyev's team defied the odds in Borisov on Tuesday. They had wiped out their first-leg deficit by the fifth minute thanks to a pair of Vladimir Yurchenko strikes, and, with the tie in the balance, sealed their progress to next summer's finals in Denmark courtesy of Oleg Veretilo's extra-time goal. An unexpected success, though not for coach Kondratyev, who admitted: "To be honest, before the match I put a bottle of champagne in my bag."

Match: Belgium 4-4 Austria
With eight goals, a red card and a 93rd-minute equaliser, Tuesday's Group A fixture provided unbeatable entertainment. The visitors, reduced to ten men after Paul Scharner's dismissal midway through the second half, led 3-2 until Marvin Ogunjimi struck an 87th-minute equaliser – four days after scoring twice on debut for the Red Devils. Having trailed twice, Belgium then looked to have secured victory when Nicolas Lombaerts headed in during the final minute of normal time, only for Austria substitute Martin Harnik to restore parity seconds from the end. Breathtaking stuff.

Number: 44
With the striker having netted just once in five previous outings for Spain, David Villa's team-mates found themselves defending him amid suggestions the proximity of Raúl González's national-team scoring record was putting 'The Kid' off his game. "Nonsense, he is a natural goalscorer," insisted Sergio Busquets, while Aritz Aduriz added: "Not only will he surpass that mark, he'll do it by a distance." In the 44th minute of Spain's 3-2 win in Scotland on Tuesday, Villa converted a penalty to equal Raúl's mark of 44 goals, having played 33 fewer internationals than the Schalke forward.

Goal: Chris Maguire, Scotland Under-21s
Home and away defeats by Iceland in their qualifying play-off meant Scotland missed out on the U21 finals, but Aberdeen FC striker Maguire will never forget Monday's second leg in Edinburgh. The hosts had just fallen a goal behind on the night when, immediately from the restart, Maguire equalised with an amazing strike from the halfway line. "It was the best goal of my life," the 21-year-old said. "I told Jamie Murphy to give me the ball because I saw the keeper off his line. It was a sweet strike but it doesn't matter now. I'll always remember it though."

"I remember one time we played Iraq in a friendly in Limassol. Around 500 noisy Iraqi fans turned up to cheer on their team and there was just one man in the stands to support Cyprus. He spent the entire match swearing at me because I wasn't fielding the players he wanted."
Cyprus coach Angelos Anastasiadis remembers the good times

Striptease cancelled
England fans were hardly delighted by Tuesday's 0-0 EURO qualifying draw with Montenegro, but it could have been worse. Had Mirko Vučinić scored for the visitors, he would have performed "a striptease" to celebrate. As it was, he was injured and missed out. The AS Roma man had, however, thrown caution to the wind four days earlier when he hit the winner against Switzerland: marking the occasion by taking off his shorts and putting them on his head. It earned him a yellow card and presumably stern words from coach Zlatkjo Kranjčar, who said: "Mirko doesn't do conventional things on the pitch, you never know what he will do with the ball. But one yellow card is enough, he must be very calm when he scores again."

Safest hands in Cyprus
A would-be bank robber in Cyprus was given a reminder of how little gets past former Enosis Neon Paralimni FC keeper Demos Konstantinou. The 63-year-old ex-Cypriot international, who represented his club from 1963 to '79, was the only staff member on duty when the bank in Paralimni was raided by a man in a balaclava. "I started shouting for help but that just prompted the robber to attack me," said Konstantinou. "He grabbed me by the neck but I resisted and we fought." Soon realising that the man who conceded a mere 11 goals in 26 games in the 1974/75 season was not going to let him past, the robber gave up and ran away.

Beat-boxing clever
Pub management is a traditional post-football career choice for English players, but one-time Coventry City FC, Aston Villa FC and England forward Dion Dublin has embraced a new profession as musical innovator after launching his new percussion instrument: The Dube. The 41-year-old said: "I had the light-bulb moment about the shape and how it could work one morning at training at Norwich City, drumming on the steering wheel and the ideas started flowing." Former Arsenal FC frontman Ian Wright is already a fan: "I love the fact my good friend Dizzy has invented it and know he will do very well."

A Belfast special
Glentoran FC striker Matty Burrows became an overnight sensation after his last-gasp winner against Portadown FC at The Oval on 5 October proved an internet hit. The 25-year-old's spectacular mid-air back-heeled volley from the edge of the area went viral within hours, drawing comparisons with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. "It was a brilliant feeling seeing it go in," said Burrows. "I had my back to goal when the ball came to me, so I decided to flick it towards goal. Thankfully it came off."