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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rejuvenated England Seals Easy Victory

Combined Reports


LONDON -- After England's last World Cup performance failed to get the team to the finals, the headlines and pictures reflected doom and gloom. After Sunday's 3-0 victory in Moldova it was all smiles and even kisses.


Paul Gascoigne, scorer of England's second goal in Chisinau was pictured planting a playful kiss on the cheek of his team captain, Alan Shearer, scorer of the third.


There were no such scenes after England's previous World Cup game in November 1993, even though the team had gained a 7-1 victory at San Marino. It wasn't enough to get them to the World Cup in 1994, and two years of misery and soul-searching followed.


Now an uplifting performance in reaching the last four of the European Championship has been followed by a successful first game under new coach Glenn Hoddle.


England is a far more imaginative and confident team compared with the squad that labored under Graham Taylor and failed to qualify for 1994.


"What did please me was that we had a cutting edge in the last third of the pitch. We got in six or seven times and looked like scoring on every one of them," Hoddle said.


England captain Shearer knows there will be improvements, but he was happy with the result.


"If you'd said to us before we flew out that we'd win 3-0, we'd have taken it," said the striker.


Israel 2, Bulgaria 1. Israel shocked 1994 World Cup semifinalist Bulgaria 2-1. The Israelis went a goal down after two minutes but rallied back to win before 25,000 fans at Ramat Gan.


After Krassimir Balakov had scored for Bulgaria with a penalty, Israeli captain Tal Banin set up an equalizer for Ronen Harazi in the 34th and then scored the winner himself from the penalty spot in the 62nd.


Austria 0, Scotland 0. Austria dominated its World Cup group four qualifier against Scotland on Saturday with wave after wave of attacks but were unable to penetrate the visitors' defense and had to settle for a goalless draw.


"The result is acceptable," Scottish coach Craig Brown told reporters. "We'd hoped not to lose and we tried not to play for a draw but the Austrian defense was simply too good."


In Saturday's games Azerbaijan scored an upset 1-0 victory over Switzerland, Portugal missed a late penalty in a 0-0 tie in Armenia while Ireland and Wales started with high-scoring romps.


Azerbaijan 1, Switzerland 0. Vidadi Rzayev scored the 26th minute clincher for Azerbaijan in Baku against a Swiss team playing under new coach Rolf Fringer.


Ireland 5, Liechtenstein 0. Niall Quinn hit two for the Irish in Liechtenstein, the team which stunned Ireland a year ago by drawing 0-0 in European Championship qualifiers.


This time the Irish made no mistakes and raced into a 4-0 lead inside the first 19 minutes.


Andy Townsend shot Ireland ahead after only four minutes and Keith O'Neill added the second in the seventh. Quinn scored his first in the 11th and Ian Harte celebrated his 19th birthday with the fourth in the 19th. The Irish eased the pressure after that and Quinn scored the only other goal in the 61st minute.


Wales 6, San Marino 0. The Group 7 game at the National Stadium was only 1 minute 22 seconds old when Dean Saunders shot home from Ryan Giggs' through ball from the left. Mark Hughes added goals in the 26th and 54th minutes, Andy Melville and John Robinson also netted and Saunders, who had a penalty saved by the erratic Stefano Muccioli, scored again in the 75th.


Northern Ireland 0, Ukraine 1. After Victor Leonenko twice had shots saved by Northern Ireland goalkeeper Alan Fettis, the Ukraine defense came under pressure from the home team. But substitute Sergei Rebrov headed the winner 11 minutes from the end from Viktor Skrypnyk's looping left wing cross.


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