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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France, England Win Key Euro 2004 Qualifiers

APEngland's Michael Owen scoring against Slovakia during the first half of their Euro '04 qualifying match in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Saturday. England won the match 2-1.
LONDON -- Former World Cup champion France showed some of its old edge in overwhelming Slovenia 5-0 in a night of European 2004 qualifiers.

The defending European champions were joined on the victory stand Saturday by Spain, England and Scotland. Italy, the team the French beat four years ago in the European championship final, needed to rally for a 1-1 draw against Yugoslavia.

The victory moved the French atop Group 1 with a perfect six points as Steve Marlet scored twice (35th and 64th) in Paris with Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord and Sidney Govou adding the others.

Despite the draw, Italy leads Group 9 with four points. Yugoslav Predrag Mijatovic's goal in the 28th was matched in the 39th on Alessandro del Piero's strike.

Spain, a World Cup quarterfinalist, easily handled Northern Ireland in a 3-0 victory and remained perfect in Group 6. Ruben Baraja scored two goals and Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez added another for Spain.

The matches were just three of 20 across Europe on Saturday with another full set of qualifiers coming up on Wednesday.

England and neighbor Scotland also picked up key wins.

Michael Owen stole a 2-1 victory for England against Slovakia, and Berti Vogts finally led Scotland to its first win -- 2-0 at Iceland.

After Szilard Nemeth, who plays in the English Premier League, had given Slovakia the lead in Bratislava, David Beckham scored on a free kick that Owen seemed to touch slightly on a header. The 65th-minute goal was initially given to Owen but then awarded to Beckham.

However, Owen did net the winner with a header in the 82nd.

The game provided some ugly crowd trouble with English fans battling with riot police behind one of the goals.

In the same group, World Cup semifinalist Turkey stayed top with a maximum six points from two games after winning 2-1 at Macedonia.

Vogts finally ended an embarrassing run of five losses and a tie as Scotland won 2-0 at Iceland. With Lithuania beating the Faeroe Islands 2-0 and leader Germany not in action until Wednesday, the result put the Scots in the rare position of top of Group 5.

In Group 6 in Albacete, Spain, Baraja got his first goal in the 19th minute and added a late one just before the whistle. Guti got his first international goal in the 59th.

In another match, Czech Republic, runner-up in 1996 to Germany, scored a comfortable 2-0 win at Moldova in Group 3. But Austria moved atop the group by winning 2-0 at Belarus. The Netherlands doesn't play until Wednesday when it goes to Austria.

Poland was embarrassed 1-0 at home by Latvia in Group 4 and Sweden narrowly avoided a home loss to Hungary to salvage a 1-1 tie. Those results put Latvia atop with Poland second, Sweden third and Hungary fourth.

In Group 2, Denmark went to the top with a 2-0 victory over Luxembourg with goals by Jon Dahl Tomasson and Ebbe Sand while leader Romania was beaten 1-0 at home by Norway after a goal six minutes from the end by Steffen Iversen. The teams are tightly bunched with Denmark and Norway on four points and Romania on three.

If any of the coaches badly needed a victory on Saturday it was Vogts.

Taking Scotland to Iceland for a Group 5 game, he said he considered his team the underdog, especially after it had conceded two goals in the first 12 minutes at the Faeroe Islands a month ago before departing with a 2-2 tie. Before then his team had lost five in a row.

But this was a far more confident Scottish team and it went ahead through West Ham's Christian Dailly in the seventh minute with Everton's Gary Naysmith firing a well-struck second in the 63rd.

"It was a brilliant game for my team and they did well this afternoon and are now back in the competition," Vogts said. "All things went well in training sessions but we just needed the win and this was a big one for Scotland."

The result was likely to put the Scots top of the group with the Germans not playing until Wednesday's home game against the Faeroes and Lithuania expected to beat the Faeroes later Saturday.

In Stockholm, Zlatan Ibrahimovic saved Sweden from an embarrassing home loss to Hungary with a 14th minute equalizer which left him stunned.

After the Hungarians had taken the lead through Krisztian Kenesei in the fifth minute, the striker turned in a cross from substitute Mattias Jonsson for the leveller. But he also collided with Hungarian keeper Gabor Kiraly and was carried off with a head injury, taking no further part in the game.

It was Sweden's second tie in two games after a disappointing 0-0 result at Latvia a month ago while Hungary earned a point from its first game. Group 4 leader Poland hosted the Latvians later Saturday.

The Czech Republic broke through with two goals in the last 19 minutes at Moldova in Group 3.

Marek Jankulovski scored the first with a 71st minute penalty after a foul by Adrian Sosnovschii on Borussia Dortmund's Tomas Rosicky. Sosnovschii was sent off for his second yellow card and Rosicky added the second 10 minutes from the end and the Czechs began the campaign with three points.