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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Swiss deny England in qualifier as Rooney gets new hair


While suspended star striker Wayne Rooney was recovering from a hair transplant, England's hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2012 suffered a blow on Saturday as Switzerland claimed at 2-2 draw at London's Wembley Stadium.

The balding Manchester United player, who was booked in March's win over Wales to trigger the ban, revealed on Twitter before kickoff that he had used his time off to visit a hair specialist.

"Just to confirm to all my followers I have had a hair transplant. I was going bald at 25, why not. I'm delighted with the result," he wrote on the social networking website.

"It's still a bit bruised and swollen when it dies down u will be first to see it. Anyone recommend any good hair gel. Haha."

France held by Belarus in Euro 2012 qualifier

It was more serious for Fabio Capello's team, who had to come from two goals down after goalkeeper Joe Hart was badly caught out by two free-kicks from Tranquillo Barnetta just after half an hour.

Frank Lampard reduced the deficit with a penalty before halftime and his replacement Ashley Young leveled soon after coming on at the interval.

The result meant Montenegro joined England on 11 points at the top of Group G after five games after also being held at home, 1-1 by Bulgaria.

Bulgaria and the Swiss have little chance of earning second place and a berth in the playoffs, with both nations having five points with three matches left.

England next travel to Bulgaria on September 2, when Montenegro visit pointless bottom nation Wales.

Hart looked on in bemusement as Barnetta's curling set-piece drifted past his defenders and into the far corner in the 32nd minute, and he was caught out at the near post by the same player from wide out on the left soon after.

However, Lampard made it 2-1 in the 36th minute when Jack Wilshere was fouled in the box by his Arsenal teammate Johan Djourou, and Young leveled six minutes after his halftime introduction after being set up by fellow substitute Leighton Baines.

Striker Darren Bent blazed over the bar when he should have hit the target for England with 20 minutes left, and both teams went close in the closing stages.

England manager Capello said his players were tired after a long season.

"You can see the Switzerland players were fresher. They have had a different season," the Italian said.

"We had three clear chances to score goals but at the end of the game, in the last 10 minutes, some players were without energy."

Slovakia, Russia and the Republic of Ireland are tied on 13 points at the top of Group B after all three won on Saturday.

Slovakia edged a 1-0 win at home to bottom nation as striker Robert Vittek scored the only goal in the 63rd minute.

Russia triumphed 3-1 at home to Armenia thanks to a hat-trick from striker Roman Pavlyuchenko, while the Irish defeated Macedonia 2-0 away as skipper Robbie Keane netted both goals to pass a half-century in internationals.

Greece returned to the top of Group F with a 3-1 victory over Malta, with two goals from young attacking talent Giannis Fetfatzidis and another by teenage debutant Kyriakos Papadopoulos.

That moved the Greeks a point above Croatia, who were joined on 12 by Israel following that nation's 2-1 win in Latvia.

Midfielder Yossi Benayoun and Tal Ben Haim, with a penalty, scored in the first half to keep Israel's qualification bid alive.

Group H also has a three-way tie at the top with Portugal, Denmark and Norway battling for automatic qualification.

Portugal beat Norway 1-0 at home as striker Helder Postiga scored the only goal eight minutes after halftime.

Denmark joined them on 10 points, winning 2-0 in Iceland thanks to second-half goals from Lasse Schone and Christian Eriksen.

In a friendly international, five-time World Cup winners Brazil drew 0-0 with three-time runners-up the Netherlands.

The home team had midfielder Ramires sent off in the 79th minute for his second booking.

Current world champions Spain crushed the United States 4-0 in Massacheusetts as Santi Cazorla scored twice, with the other goals coming from fellow striker Alvaro Negredo and his halftime replacement Fernando Torres.

The U.S. upset Spain in the semifinals 2009 Confederations Cup, but this time conceded three goals in 13 minutes from just before the half-hour mark.

Spain visited in a warm-up match for the Americans ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament which the U.S. is hosting this month.


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