Coach Heiner Brand of Germany looks on during the Euro 2012 qualifier match between Germany and Lithuania (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying: Why Not Just Hand The Trophy To Germany Already?

A host of very important Euro 2012 qualifying matches are happening today. In turn, we at SB Nation Soccer will let you know what happened -- so you don't have to actually watch!

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Euro 2012 Qualifying, Group H Recap: Portgual Thrash Cyprus, Norway Keep Pace

Portugl travelled to Cyprus and - get this - they won! By a lot. Such a shocker today has been, eh? The Cypriots played a five-man back line in order to try to blunt the Portugal attack, but that didn't work out very well thanks to Sinisa Dobrasinovic managing to get himself booked twice in basically the first half hour of the match. Once the red came out, the goals started flowing for the visitors, with Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing a brace and Danny and Hugo Almeida each scoring as well. Easy stuff.

Portugal, of course, weren't the only team in Group H on ten points to start the day - they shared that distinction with both Norway and Denmark. Of the two, Norway were the only ones in action, hosting to Iceland for a bit of Scadanavian fun and emerging 1-0 victors thanks to a very late penalty scored by Mohamed Abdellaoui, who has replaced John Carew was Norweigian's least Norweigian-sounding player. It should have been far easier for the hosts, but it wasn't - fortunately for them they got a win regardless.

Oh, and there was one game in Group I today that involved zero interesting players and no goals and some hard-to-spell words. I'm not going to bother.


Euro 2012 Qualifying, Group G Recap: England Clinches Top Two, Wales Helps Them Keep First

England didn't exactly surprise anyone by beating a poor Bulgaria team today, but it was a bit surprising how easy they had it. The Three Lions didn't even look at their best, but they absolutely coasted to an easy three points. Elsewhere, Wales stunned Montenegro, giving England a solid grip on first place.

England 3-0 Bulgaria

This was the easiest 3-0 you'll ever see, and it should have been more. Wayne Rooney scored twice and he didn't even have his finishing boots on. Theo Walcott could have had a hat trick and failed to score, which is more or less the story of his career. Ashley Young and Stewart Downing looked fantastic, while Gary Cahill netted his first international goal. Bulgaria are not a good team.

Wales 2-1 Montenegro

Montenegro, once tied at the top of the group with England, are no longer in such a position. A struggling Wales side got a bit of a moral victory while helping out England on Friday with a 2-1 win in Cardiff. Steve Morison scored the opener while Aaron Ramsey scored what would be the eventual winner. Montenegro are now in a position where second place might not get them right into the tournament, thanks to their three dropped points today.

Switzerland were idle today.


England: 14 points (6 games played)

Montenegro: 5 points (6 games played)

Switzerland: 5 points (5 games played)

Bulgaria: 5 points (6 games played)

Wales: 3 points (5 games played)


Euro 2012 Qualifying, Group F Recap: Huge Away Win Puts Greece In Commanding Position

In the group's big game, Greece managed to snatch a narrow win over third-place Israel to keep pace with Croatia and stay top of the group. Sotiris Ninis notched on the hour mark against a stubborn home defence - one which had been holding out at least partially thanks to Greece's woeful finishing - and their second away goal of the group stages would prove enough to give the visitors three points in Tel Aviv.

Croatia, meanwhile, were happily hammering Malta, who started the day anchored to the bottom of Group F with zero points. Goals by Ognjen Vukojevic, Milan Badelj and Dejan Lovren ensured they stayed there, although the hosts did give their rather more illustrious guests a bit of a scare by grabbing a goal of their own just after Badelj put Croatia up 2-0. A comeback wasn't really on the cards, though, and the visitors cruised to a massively unsurprising victory. It's not really good enough for Croatia, however - they're still only in second place in a group which should have been theirs for the taking.

Oh, and Georgia beat Latvia 1-0. If you care that that's all I've written about the game, please feel free to write your own match report on Georgia vs. Latvia.


Euro 2012 Qualifying, Group E Recap: Netherlands Drop 11 Goals, Hungary Beat Sweden

Oh, poor San Marino. Far and away the worst team in UEFA at the moment, the small island nation stood absolutely no chance against the mighty Netherlands. For reasons unknown, the Oranje decided to take the game super seriously and dropped 11 goals on their opponents. Elsewhere, Hungary went and caused a major shake-up.

Netherlands 11-0 San Marino

Why? Just why. Why did this have to happen? Robin van Persie scored a hat trick while Wesley Sneijder and Klass-Jan Huntelaar both scored twice.

Hungary 2-1 Sweden

Believe it or not, this game was absolutely massive and has huge implications on Euro 2012. Hungary and Sweden are now tied in second place on 15 points apiece, with Sweden holding the advantage on goal differential. They have also played less games than Hungary, but their backs are against the wall after losing this one. Sweden continues to be about the biggest waste of talent in international football. Shut up, England fans, these guys are worse. Gergely Rudolf scored the winner for Hungary, netting in stoppage time.

Finland 4-1 Moldova

A moral victory for Finland. Yay Finland!


Netherlands: 21 points (7 games played)

Sweden: 15 points (7 games played)

Hungary: 15 points (8 games played)

Finland: 9 points (7 games played)

Moldova: 6 points (7 games played)

San Marino: 0 points (8 games played)


Euro 2012 Qualifying, Group D Recap: France Win But 2nd-Place Belarus Fall

France earned a very tight away win against Albania to maintain their cushion atop Group D, but it shouldn't have been this difficult for them. Karim Benzema and Yann M'Vila got the visitors started with two goals in the first ten minutes, but France failed to add to that lead and Albania scored shortly after half time, with Erjon Bogdani cutting the lead in half in the 46th minute. Cue rather tense times for the French who were force to rely increasingly on Hugo Lloris in goal to stop Albania from equalising. Still, nervy wins are wins, and they weathered the minor second half tempest that Albania summoned. It all would have been far easier if the French players weren't quite so good at hitting the post rather than the goal.

Second-place Belarus, meanwhile, took a hit, being downed 2-0 by Bosnia-Herzegovina at home. The visitors scored two first-half goals in quick succession (albeit none from Manchester City powerhouse and Premier League player of the month Edin Dzeko) and then spent the rest of the match fouling their more gracious opponents, earning the implausible total of nineteen million yellow cards. Belarus remain in second place, but Bosnia and Romania (who beat Luxemborg 2-0 in a game experts are describing as 'dull') are now hot on their heels after that reverse.


Euro 2012 Qualifying, Group C Recap: Italy Struggles To Three Points, Table Shakes Up Below

Italy has confirmed their dominance atop Group C in Euro 2012 qualifying, but it was much tougher than it should have been. The Faroe Islands gave them a surprising challenge, but they were able to get three points in the end. Elsewhere, the table is now a mess behind them after Serbia picked up three points while Slovenia were stunned by Estonia.

Faroe Islands 0-1 Italy

Though Faroe Islands have been able to progress from "absolute walkover" to "not a good team," they should not have been able to issue much of a challenge to Italy on Friday night, even at home. Italy have all three points and a secured spot atop Group C after their 1-0 win, but it didn't come without a scare. The Faroe Islands actually created a fair number of chances and Italy are a bit lucky to come home with a clean sheet. Antonio Cassano scored their lone goal.

Northern Ireland 0-1 Serbia

Northern Ireland were only going to stay ahead of a talented Serbia team in the table for so long. Serbia are back in the running for a Euro 2012 place after a deserved victory away in Belfast. They unleashed an absolute onslaught on Northern Ireland's goal, and they were lucky to only concede once. Though they're not out of the running for second place yet, this loss seriously crippled Northern Ireland.

Slovenia 1-2 Estonia

Though Slovenia are not one of the true giants of world football, this really is a massive upset. The World Cup 2010 qualifiers were securely in second place in the group and expected to defeat Estonia at home fairly easily. Instead, their place in Euro 2012 is now in serious jeopardy, thanks to their loss and Serbia's big win. Slovenia's next two matches are against Italy and Serbia, so they really couldn't afford to drop three points in this one.


Italy: 19 points (7 games played)

Slovenia: 11 points (8 games played)

Serbia: 11 points (7 games played)

Estonia: 10 points (8 games played)

Northern Ireland: 9 points (7 games played)

Faroe Islands: 4 points (8 games played)


Euro 2012 Qualifying, Group B Recap: Russia Claim Lead

Russia grabbed top spot in Group B as Slovakia and Ireland both failed to match their rivals' close win over Macedonia, held instead by the Republic of Ireland. The visitors didn't make it easy for Russia, though, putting the favourites under huge pressure throughout the match and keeping things stressful even after Igor Semshov put the ball past Martin Bogatinov to give the hosts the lead in the 41st minute. Despite chances by Macedonia throughout the second half - they actually ended with more shots than Russia did - the could find the net to reclaim the point. Russia will be disappointed with lacklustre display but absolutely thrilled to go top of their group.

Slovakia, meanwhile, failed to impress while visiting Ireland, getting their fair share of shots in the Aviva Stadium but ultimately having to hold on by the skin of their teeth to come away with a goalless draw that will leave neither team happy - they're now joint second, two points behind the leaders. It was a good chance for Ireland to put away a decent Slovakia side, but now they'll have to hope other results go in their favour if they want to qualify.

Finally, Armenia did the totally expected and hammered Andorra, with a first half goal by Marcos Pizelli followed up by strikes from Gevorg Ghazarian and Henrikh Mkhitarian after the interval. This match, unsurprisingly, changes nothing about the group dyanmics - Armenia are still trailing both Ireland and Slovakia and it'll take a miracle for them to qualify at this point.


Euro 2012 Qualifying, Group A Recap: Germany Rolls, Belgium Disappoints

Germany have kept their 100 percent record in Euro 2012 qualifying intact, while things are now a little bit more clear behind them in Group A. Belgium were seriously disappointing and Turkey are now in the driver's seat to qualify for Euro 2012.

Germany 6-2 Austria

Talk about a fun match! Mesut Özil was absolutely on fire in this one, netting a hat trick while doing plenty of work to set up his teammates for chances as well. The scariest thing about this match for Germany's potential rivals is not that they scored six goals but that Mario Götze and Andre Schurrle both came off the bench and scored. Their young backups are better than most teams' starters.

Azerbaijan 1-1 Belgium

What in the world, Belgium?!? Not having Kevin De Bruyne is not an excuse for this result. Belgium played what was mostly a healthy first choice team and somehow managed to not defeat Azerbaijan, who netted an 85th minute equalizer. Belgium's goal was a penalty, scored by Timmy Simons.

Turkey 2-1 Kazakhstan

Turkey got a serious scare in this one when Kazakhstan scored an equalizer and they missed a penalty, but they're now in position to qualify for Euro 2012 after a late winner. Burak Yilmaz scored the opening goal, but Ulan Konysbayev netted a 55th minute equalizer. Yilmaz had a chance to give his team back the lead in the 63rd minute, but missed a penalty. It looked like Turkey was going to miss their opportunity to overtake Belgium until the very end, when Arda Turan saved them with a goal at the death, moving them into second place in Group A behind Germany.


Germany: 24 points (8 games played)

Turkey: 13 points (7 games played)

Belgium: 12 points (8 games played)

Austria: 7 points (7 games played)

Azerbaijan: 4 points (7 games played)

Kazakhstan: 3 points (7 games played)

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