Published October 12, 2012
| Sports Network
Minsk, Belarus – Pedro scored a hat trick and added an assist as Spain returned to form Friday with a 4-0 win at Belarus in UEFA qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Spain failed to impress in a 1-0 win over Georgia in its first game in Group I last month, but Pedro set up the first goal for Jordi Alba in the 12th minute, and scored 20th, 69th and 72nd against Belarus.
The defending World Cup and two-time Euro champions moved to the top of their group ahead of a showdown Tuesday with France, which won its first two matches but was idle Friday.
Spain and France both have six points, and only the top finisher is guaranteed a spot in the World Cup. Georgia, which is third on four points, tied Finland, 1-1, in the other group match Friday.
Germany also returned to form Friday, as Marco Reus and Toni Kroos each scored twice in a 6-1 win at Ireland in Group C. Mesut Ozil and Miroslav Klose also scored for Germany, while Andrew Keogh scored in stoppage time for Ireland.
The Germans lead the group with nine points from three matches, but Sweden was able to stay within three points as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the match-winner in a tougher-than-expected 2-1 win at the Faroe Islands.
Germany struggled a 2-1 win in its last match at Austria, which settled for a 0-0 draw against Kazakhstan in the other match in Group C on Friday.
England also cruised Friday, as Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck each scored two goals as England rolled to a 5-0 win over San Marino in Group H. Ukraine tied Moldova, 0-0, in the other match in Group H.
In Group A, Gareth Bale scored twice after the 80th as Wales toppled Scotland, 2-1, Belgium downed Serbia, 3-0, and Croatia edged Macedonia, 2-1.
In Group B, Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo scored as Italy defeated Armenia, 3-1, Nicklas Bendtner scored as Denmark tied 10-man Bulgaria, 1-1, and Czech Republic beat Malta, 3-1.
In Group D, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had a goal and an assist inside 14 minutes as the Netherlands beat Andorra, 3-0, to stay perfect, Romania stayed perfect as Gheorghe Grozav scored in a 1-0 win at Turkey, and Hungary edged Estonia, 1-0.
In Group E, Brede Hangeland scored two minutes after Mario Gavranovic scored for Switzerland as Norway earned a 1-1 draw on the road, Tim Matavz scored two goals as Slovenia edged Cyprus, 2-1, and Iceland edged Albania, 2-1.
In Group F, Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored six minutes into the game as Russia won 1-0 over Portugal to stay perfect in qualifying, and Tomer Hemed notched a hat trick as Israel crushed Luxembourg, 6-0.
In Group G, Marek Hamsik and Marek Sapara scored inside 10 minutes as Slovakia edged Latvia, 2-1, to pull level on points with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece, who tied 0-0, and Lithuania downed Liechtenstein, 2-0.