Story by Ryan Howden
Portugal 1-1 Northern Ireland
Norther Ireland put in a great performance to provide the shock of the night as they came home with a point against Portugal. Niall McGinn gave the visitors the lead with a chipped shot over Portugal keeper Rui Patricio.
Portugal heavilly dominated the game, but Northern Ireland put in a stout defensive display. The Portuguese were constantly a threat with a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo skewing just wide, before Ruben Micaels long-range effort went just over the bar.
Northern Ireland keeper Roy Carroll pulled off a fine save to deny Ronaldo as he latched onto a cross from Nani. Late in the game Steven Davies was forced to put the ball over his own bar and Aaron Hughes blocked a fierce shot from Ronaldo as an heroic rearguard defence sought to secure the three points.
But 11 minutes from time Helder Postiga found the ball at his feel in the area and whipped it past Carroll into the back of the net. Despite not gaining all three points for their great display, Northern Ireland can be very proud of a good result against a strong Portugal side.
Faroe Islands 1-4 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland secured a vital win over the Faroe Islands in Torshavn. Marc Collins opened the scoring early in the second half with a 25-yard shot, before his Stoke City team mate Jon Walters headed in to make it 2-0.
The Faroe Islands pulled one back through Arnbjorn Hansen, but five minutes later Pol Johannes Justinussen’s own-goal restored Ireland’s two goal lead. Darren O’Dea’s header finished the match off, in a game touted by the Irish media as a must win for under-fire boss Giovanni Trapattoni.
Belgium 2-0 Scotland
Belgium showed their class as a side capable of big things as they faced Scotland. Christian Benteke’s second-half header broke a fierce Scottish defence before Vincent Kompany doubled the lead two minutes later with an effort from 15-yards.
Scottish keeper Allan McGregor put in a fine display as his goal was besieged by Axel Witsel and Eden Hazard, stopping what could easily have been an embarrassing defeat. Scotland are now bottom of Group A with two point from four matches, Craig Levein’s position as manager must now surely come into question.
Croatia 2-0 Wales
Wales chances of World Cup qualification were struck a major blow as they sunk to defeat in Croatia. The home side took the lead when Mario Mandzukic charged down Wales keeper Lewis Prince’s kick, after defender Ashley Williams had put his own keeper under pressure with a weak back-pass.
Eduardo Da Silva scored the second on 58 minutes after a rebound fell to him a yard from the goal.
Poland P-P England
England match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch amidst farcical scenes in Warsaw. The roof of the £400m national stadium was not closed despite heavy rain being forecast well before kick-off.
The affair was a disaster for the Polish FA who had been rightly praised for the smooth running of this summers European Championships. The whole night was a disorganised mess, rain was expected, but a Polish FA spokeswoman said they were ‘expecting heavy rain but not a downpour’, I’m not sure of the difference. No groundsmen were seen on the pitch, the much touted under-pitch heating could not be turned on till the roof was closed and the roof could not be closed because of the wind and rain.
No-one seemed to know who was in charge and communication lines failed. It was the fans in the stadium who had travelled so far to support their team who suffered, never mind us at home who had to watch 90 minutes of Adrian Chiles.
The match has been rescheduled for WEDNESDAY 17th OCTOBER 4pm UK Time