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Inzaghi saves Italy from embarrassment
by Paul Kennedy, June 4th, 2007 7AM

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TAGS:  england, european championship, france, germany, italy, spain

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Filippo Inzaghi, the hero of AC Milan's recent UEFA Champions League triumph, saved world champion Italy from embarrassment as his two first-half goals were barely enough to give the Azzurri a 2-1 victory over the Faeroe Islands in Saturday's Euro 2008 qualifier.

Carpenter Rogvi Jacobsen's goal in the 77th minute make for an anxious final quarter of an hour in the rain and cold of Torshavn.

The win was good enough to move Italy into second place in Group B behind France, which beat Ukraine 2-0, but the Azzurri came in for harsh criticism in the Italian press. Coach Roberto Donadoni was unconcerned by the close score.

"What counts is the win and the three points," he said. "We had chances to score some more goals and at the end it was difficult."

France got second-half goals by Franck Ribery and Nicolas Anelka to beat Ukraine on Saturday at the Stade de France. With the Bleus missing Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, the star of the show was 19-year-old Marseille playmaker Samir Nasri, who was in a class of his own in midfield.

Germany set a European Championship record when it beat San Marino, 13-0, on the road last September but could only manage a 6-0 win in Nuremberg on Saturday. San Marino held out until the last minute of the first half before Germany went ahead with a looping Kevin Kuranyi header.

The win moved Germany into first place in Group D, two points ahead of the Czech Republic, which was held to a 0-0 draw by Wales. Ryan Giggs made his 64th and last appearance for the Welsh.

In Group A, Poland, Portugal and Serbia, which occupy the top three positions, all won. Poland came from behind to beat Azerbaijan, 3-1, and stay five points clear at the top. Portugal won, 2-1, over Belgium. Manchester United's new signing, Nani, put the Portuguese in front. Serbia won, 2-0, in Finland to keep its chances alive.

The top three teams in Group E also won, putting even more pressure on England before its must-win game at Estonia on Wednesday. Croatia won, 1-0, in Estonia, Israel picked up a 2-1 victory in Macedonia, while Russia beat Andorra, 4-0, in St Petersburg.

Reigning European champion Greece took over first place in Group C when it beat Hungary, 2-0, and Turkey was upset by Bosnia, 3-2.

Spain's chances of earning a place in next year's finals improved when it won its third game in a row with a 2-0 victory at Latvia on Saturday and moved one point behind idle Northern Ireland in Group F.

Romania pulled even with the Netherlands for first place in Group G thanks to a 2-1 victory at Slovenia.

EURO '08 RESULTS:
GROUP A

June 2
Azerbaijan 1 (Subashic 5) Poland 3 (Smolarek 63, Krzynowek 66, 90).
Kazakhstan 1 (Baltiev 88) Armenia 2 (Arzumanyan 31, Hovsepyan 39).
Finland 0 Serbia 2 (Jankovic 3, Jovanovic 86).
Belgium 1 (Fellaini 54) Portugal 2 (Nani 43, Helder Postiga 63).
Standings: Poland 19 points; Portugal, Serbia 14; Finland 11; Kazakhstan 8; Belgium 7; Azerbaijan 4; Armenia 1.

GROUP B
June 2
Lithuania 1 (Mikoliunas 78) Georgia 0.
France 2 (Ribery 57, Anelka 71) Ukraine 0.
Faeroe Islands 1 (Jacobsen 77) Italy 2 (Inzaghi 13, 48).
Standings: France 15 points; Italy 13; Ukraine, Scotland 12; Lithuania 7; Georgia 6; Faeroe Islands 0.

GROUP C
June 2
Bosnia 3 (Muslimovic, 27, Dzeko 45, Custovic 89) Turkey 2 (Hakan Sukur 13, Sariogly 39).
Norway 4 (Haestad 31, Helstad 73, Iversen 79, Riise 90) Malta 0.
Greece 2 (Gekas 16, Seitaridis 29) Hungary 0.
Standings: Greece 15 points; Turkey 13; Norway, Bosnia-Herzegovina 10; Hungary 6; Malta 4; Moldova 2.

GROUP D
June 2
Wales 0 Czech Republic 0
Germany 6 (Kuranyi 45, Jansen 52, Frings pen. 54, Gomez 63, 65, Fritz 67) San Marino 0.
Standings: Germany 16 points; Czech Rep. 14; Ireland 13; Slovakia 9; Wales 7; Cyprus 4; San Marino 0.

GROUP E
June 2
Russia 4 (Kerzhakov 8, 16, 49, Sychev 71) Andorra 0.
Macedonia 1 (Stojkov 13) Israel 2 (Yitzhaki 10, Colautti 43).
Estonia 0 Croatia 1 (da Silva 31).
Standings: Croatia 16 points; Israel, Russia 14; England 11; Macedonia 7; Estonia, Andorra 0.

GROUP F
June 2
Latvia 0 Spain 2 (own goal 45, Xavi 61).
Iceland 1 (B.Gunnarsson 27) Liechtenstein 1 (Rohrer 69).
Denmark 3 (Agger 34, Tomasson 62, Andreasen 75) Sweden 3 (Elmander 7, 26, Hansson 23) (abandoned -- result pending).
Standings: Spain 15 points; Northern Ireland 13; Sweden 12; Spain 9; Denmark 7; Liechtenstein, Iceland 4; Latvia 3.

GROUP G
June 2
Slovenia 1 (Vrsic 90) Romania 2 (Tamas 50, Nicolita 69).
Belarus 0 Bulgaria 2 (Berbatov 28, 46).
Albania 2 (Kapllani 38, Haxhi 57) Luxembourg 0.
Standings: Netherlands, Romania 14 points; Bulgaria 12; Belarus 7; Slovenia, Albania 4; Luxembourg 0.



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