Giroud Goal Helps France Tie Spain in World Cup Qualifying
Substitute forward Olivier Giroud buried a goal in extra time to carry France to a 1-1 draw over defending champion Spain in a qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup at Vicente Calderon Stadium.
Midfielder Moussa Sissoko broke down Spain's defense down the left side before slipping the ball to Franck Ribery, who laid down a perfect cross for a header by Giroud into the bottom right-hand corner.
France and Spain ended qualifying tied for first place in Group I with seven points apiece but the French officially topped the group by virtue of head-to-head.
The loss, for their part, ended the Spaniard's 24-match winning streak in qualification matches.
Vicente Del Bosque's men appeared to be on course for a fairly comfortable victory after Sergio Ramos had given them a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute. Spain could have added more to its lead but Cesc Fabregas missed a penalty late in the first half.
Meanwhile, Netherlands kept its perfect World Cup 2014 qualification record with a 4-1 win over Romania at National Arena.
With the win, the Netherlands now tops group D with 12 points, while Romania finds itself tied for second with Hungary.
Jeremain Lens and Bruno Martins Indi scored for Netherlands in the opening 30 minutes, before a brilliant solo effort from Ciprian Marica pulled the hosts back into the game.
The Dutch would take a two-goal lead into the halftime break, though, with Rafael van der Vaart converting from the spot in added time before Robin van Persie strike in the 86th minute sealed the victory.
Mario Manduzic and Eduardo scored as Croatia blanked Wales, 2-0, at Stadion Gradski to dash its remaining hopes of qualifying to the next round.
Manzukic scored in the 26th minute before Eduardo's tap-in made it 2-0 for the Croatians.
Meanwhile, the qualifier between Poland and England in Group H has been called off due to several hours of non-stop rain in Warsaw.
Heavy rain had been forecast during the day but Polish authorities decided against closing the roof of the National Stadium.
The match has been rescheduled for 4 p.m. local time Wednesday despite Poland's reported unwillingness to have it played so soon.
In other contests, Macedonia beat Serbia, 1-0; Belgium defeated Scotland, 2-0; Czech Republic and Bulgaria ended in a scoreless draw; Italy beat Denmark, 3-1; Ireland beat Faroe Island, 4-1; Austria blanked Kazakhstan, 4-0; Germany tied Sweden, 4-4; Estonia beat Andorra, 1-0; Hungary beat Turkey, 3-1; Norway beat Cyprus;
Switzerland beat Iceland, 2-0; Slovenia downed Albania, 1-0; Russia edged Azerbaijan, 1-0; Israel blanked Luxembourg; Northern Ireland beat Portugal, 1-0; Latvia beat Liechtenstein, 2-0; Bosnia downed Lithuania, 3-0; Greece blanked Slovakia, 1-0; Montenegro beat Ukraine, 1-0; Moldova prevailed over San Marino, 2-0 and Belarus beat Georgia, 2-0.
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