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A day for stunning results
by Paul Kennedy, September 11th, 2008 7AM



[WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING] Wednesday produced a series of stunning results in World Cup qualifying in Europe. The day wound up with Brazil's 0-0 tie against Bolivia that put more pressure on its beleaguered coach Dunga.

CROATIA-ENGLAND (1-4). Move over, David Beckham. Theo Walcott's hat trick in Zagreb may have signaled the end to Beckham's England career -- at least as a starter. The Arsenal teenager vindicated Coach Fabio Capello's move to drop the 33-year-old Beckham on the right wing with one goal in the first half and two in the second half. "I decided to put Theo in the first 11 because of what I saw against Andorra and also during training," Capello said. "Psychologically and physically, he is in fantastic shape at this moment and he is very dangerous for defenders of the other team."

BRAZIL-BOLIVIA (0-0). The reprieve for Brazil coach Dunga will not have lasted long. Brazil's scoreless tie with 10-man Bolivia at the half-empty Joao Havelange Stadium in Rio de Janeiro will put more pressure on beleaguered Dunga, who was given a brief respite when his team beat Chile 3-0 away on Sunday.

SWITZERLAND-LUXEMBOURG (1-2). Fielding a team with only two professionals, Luxembourg earned the greatest victories in its history, winning in Zurich. Captain Jeff Strasser curled a free kick in off the glove of Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio for the first goal and found sub Alphonse Leweck with another free kick for the winner with four minutes to go. Said Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, "Losing to Luxembourg is an embarrassment, and that's not to take away from their performance. Given their resources, they played well and made our job difficult. But these are the games you have to win."

PORTUGAL-DENMARK (2-3). Portugal lost its first World Cup qualifier in 12 years, and it was a doozy. All three Danish goals came in a nine-minute span at the end of the game -- Nicklas Bendtner's header in the 83rd minute, a Christian Poulsen header after Portugal keeper Quim failed to clear his area following a corner, and Daniel Jensen's deflected shot two minutes into stoppage time. "It's bad to lose this way," Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said. "We had the game under control, but in soccer a team that doesn't score sometimes gets punished unfairly."


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