Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Euro 2012 : Spain and the Netherlands Enters

Euro 2012 Qualifying LIVE!

Spain and the Netherlands continue their bid to qualify for Euro 2012 as they face Lithuania and Hungary respectively.

Spain striker David Villa is expecting a tough test from Lithuania on Tuesday night for the second time in Euro 2012 qualifying.
The reigning champions and World Cup winners battled to a 3-1 win over Raimondas Zutautas' side in Salamanca in October, with all the goals coming in the second half.

And they will be hot favourites to maintain their 100% record in the group on Tuesday despite a playing surface in Kaunas which is unlikely to suit their slick passing game.

Villa, though, warned: "In the Salamanca game it was hard to break the two lines of four in defence. We expect a similar game and will try not to neglect our defence against the counter-attack.

"We have a big game and know that we have to come here fully focused. The important thing is to leave with victory and nobody suffers a major setback."

Lithuania have taken four points from three games so far - their only defeat coming in Salamanca - but go into the game on the back of a 2-0 friendly win over Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland on Friday.

"You have to believe, otherwise you'll never win," Zutautas said. "There is no need to motivate the men. Everyone knows they are playing the champions.

"The key will be to break down Spain's play because if we give them possession easily, it'll be extremely difficult."

Defender Marius Stankevicius, who plays for Valencia, apologised for the state of the pitch, adding: "I am sad about the conditions in which we are welcoming teams such as Poland and Spain. It's a shame for Lithuania."

Behind Spain, the group remains tightly poised but the Czech Republic can take a huge step forward if they beat the group's bottom side, Liechtenstein, on Tuesday.

The Czechs will look to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Spain, brought about by Villa's brace which took him past Raul as his country's all-time record goalscorer.

The Czechs lead Scotland and Lithuania by two points in the race for second place, and defender Zdenek Pospech told reporters: "There is no danger we will underestimate Liechtenstein because we know that these games against any team other than Spain will be crucial. We cannot afford to lose them.

"At home, we must not lose points. We have to win."

Holland can move to the brink of qualification for the European Championship finals when they host a Hungary side they thrashed 4-0 on Friday.

Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans is ready for one of international football's more surprising grudge matches on Tuesday night.

Romania coach Razvan Lucescu believes a win over Luxembourg on Tuesday would leave Euro 2012 Qualifying Group D wide open.

Lucescu has led the national team through their worst ever start to a qualifying campaign - they are winless in four games - but victory on Tuesday would lift them within three points of second-placed Belarus with three home games to come.

"If we win we will have five points and will be closing on second place," the coach said.

Defeats to Bosnia-Herzegovina and group leaders France, coupled with two draws against Albania, have left Romania second from bottom of the group, a point ahead of Tuesday's opponents.

Lucescu acknowledges mistakes have been made, and said: "We look at our opponents too lightly.

"There are no small teams and our opponents have developed a lot and invested.

"We start now to play at home and if we win against Bosnia (in June) and Belarus (in October), we can fight for second place seriously."

Lucescu's position has come under pressure after the run of results - embellished by four winless friendlies in the same period - dropped the nation to their lowest ever world ranking of 57th last month. They currently stand 52nd.

He insists he will battle on, though, and said: "I came to the national team with the objective of qualification and I'm not going to go as long as there are still opportunities."

Lucescu must contend with Cristian Chivu's absence with a calf injury for Tuesday night's clash at the Stadionul Ceahlaul.

Israel coach Luis Fernandez feels victory over Georgia in Tel Aviv would re-ignite their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

A late header from Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal gave Israel a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Latvia at Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday.

Another win on Tuesday would lift them above Georgia in Group F and level with second-placed Croatia, who travel to France for a friendly.

It would also see them just a point behind group leaders Greece, albeit having played a match more.

However, with Georgia beating Croatia in Tbilisi at the weekend, and so far undefeated away from home, Fernandez knows his side are set for another stern test of their credentials.

"The Georgians are a tough side, they beat Croatia 1-0 and they are capable of playing good football," he said. "It will be very tough for us and for some players to turn out for a second time in four days will be very difficult.

"However, if we beat Georgia on Tuesday we will be in a good situation."

Isreal earned a goalless draw in Georgia on September 7, but then lost successive qualifying games against Croatia and Greece before Kayal's late intervention saw them return to winning ways.
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