Belgium tops Serbia to lead Group A

By
Updated: June 7, 2013

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Belgium took another step toward
qualifying for the 2014 World Cup on Friday as goals from Kevin De Bruyne and
Marouane Fellaini gave the team a 2-1 win over Serbia in UEFA Group A
qualifying.

Belgium entered the day level on points with Croatia, but the win, combined
with a surprising 1-0 home defeat for Croatia against Scotland, moves Belgium
three points clear at the top of the group with three games remaining.

Serbia came into the match needing three points to get back into the
discussion at the top of the group, but the visitors fell behind after 13
minutes when Jan Vertonghen’s cross was turned into the net by the head of De
Bruyne.

A corner kick on the hour mark allowed Belgium to double its lead as De Bruyne
floated the ball into the area, where Fellaini got up to nod the ball inside
the right post in traffic.

Aleksandar Kolarov made things interesting in the final minutes when he scored
on a free kick in the 87th minute for Serbia, but Belgium held on to move
closer to its first World Cup appearance since 2002.

Scotland pulled off a huge surprise at Croatia with a first-half goal from
Robert Snodgrass, providing the Scots with their first victory in seven
qualifiers.

Italy was only able to move one point further ahead of Bulgaria at the top of
Group B as Mario Balotelli was sent off in the second half of a 0-0 draw at
Czech Republic, while Malta topped Armenia, 1-0, in a battle of the bottom two
sides in the group.

Ireland and Austria both secured three big points as they battle for the
second position behind Group C leaders Germany.

Austria tallied two goals in the first half and held on for a 2-1 triumph over
Sweden, and Robbie Keane netted a hat trick as Ireland coasted past the Faroe
Islands, 3-0, leaving both Austria and Ireland level on 11 points in second
place.

Albania was poised to climb atop Group E, but the team conceded an 87th-minute
equalizer to Norway’s Tom Hogli in a 1-1 draw, leaving them one point back of
Switzerland, which faces Cyprus on Saturday. Slovenia notched a 4-2 at Iceland
on Friday as the team came from a goal down after 30 minutes to claim three
points and dent Iceland’s hopes of qualification.

Helder Postiga’s ninth-minute goal held up as Portugal claimed a vital 1-0 win
over Russia to move two points clear at the summit in Group F, although the
Russians have two games in hand. Luxembourg and Azerbaijan played to a 1-1
draw in Friday’s other Group F match.

Bosnia-Herzegovina remains three points clear at the top of Group G after a
5-0 thumping of 10-man Latvia with all five goals coming after halftime.
Greece was able to remain within three points of the leaders with a 1-0
victory at Lithuania, while Slovakia earned a 1-1 draw at Liechtenstein.

Montenegro squandered a big chance to go five points clear of second-place
England in Group H as the club sustained a 4-0 home defeat to Ukraine, which
moves to within three points of Montenegro. England sits two points back of
the leaders with a game in hand. Poland also could have moved closer to the
top, but a disappointing 1-1 draw at Moldova sees the Poles five points from
the top.

The lone match in Group I saw Finland down Belarus, 1-0, with the lone goal
arriving in the 57th minute from Kasper Hamalainen.