Germany seals berth in Euro 2012 finals
Gelsenkirchen, Germany – Mesut Ozil scored a hat trick in 47 2, on Friday to become the first country to seal qualification for the Euro 2012 finals.
Ozil scored in the 8th, 23rd and 47th minutes and Lukas Podolski scored in the 28th, as Germany scored four goals inside 47 minutes to remain perfect through eight matches in Group A to seal the top spot in the standings.
Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze added goals in the closing stages to complete a German rout.
Marko Arnautovic and Martin Harnik scored for Austria, which is fourth in the group but still alive for second place and a berth in the playoff round of the qualifying stage.
Also in Group A, Arda Turan scored in the 97th minute as Turkey escaped with a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan to overtake Belgium for second place. Rauf Aliyev took Belgium down to third as he scored in the 85th of a 1-1 draw for Azerbaijan.
In Group B, Igor Semshov scored in the first half as Russia beat Macedonia 1-0 to take possession of first place, Ireland tied Slovakia 0-0 as both teams are now two points back of the top spot, and Armenia beat Andorra 3-0.
In Group C, Antonio Cassano scored in the 11th minute and Italy beat the Faroe Islands 1-0 to open an eight-point lead atop the standings, and Marko Pantelic had a goal in the second half as Serbia beat Northern Ireland 1-0 to move into a tie for second with Slovenia, which was stunned by Estonia 2-1.
In Group D, Karim Benzema and Yann M'Vila scored inside 17 minutes and France edged Albania 1-0 to stay atop the group, Sejad Salihovic and Haris Medunjanin scored two minutes apart as Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Belarus 2-0 to stay three points back, and Gabriel Torje scored twice as Romania beat Luxembourg 2-0 to remain just five points off the pace in fourth.
In Group E, Robin van Persie scored four goals as the Netherlands rolled to an impressive 11-0 win over San Marino to extend its lead atop the standings, and Gergely Rudolf scored in stoppage time as Hungary beat Sweden 2-1 to move even on points for second place. Kasper Hamalainen had a brace to lead Finland to a 4-1 win over Moldova in the group's other match.
In Group F, Sotiris Ninis scored in the second half as Greece edged Israel 1-0 to remain atop the standings, while Ognjen Vukojevic, Milan Badelj and Dejan Lovren scored as Croatia beat Malta 3-1 to stay just one point back in second. Aleksandrs Cauna scored in the second half as Latvia edged Georgia 1-0.
In Group G, Wayne Rooney scored twice as England defeated Bulgaria 3-0 to move atop the group, and Steve Morison and Aaron Ramsey scored to help Wales upset Montenegro 2-1 and leave it three points back in second.
In Group H, Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal had three late goals in a 4-0 win over 10-man Cyprus to remain level atop the group with Norway, which used a goal from Mohamed Abdellaoui with two minutes to go for a 1-0 win over Iceland.
In Group I, Liechtenstein and Lithuania tied 0-0.