Tuesday 17 October 2017

Poland show no mercy as Gibraltar are hit for eight

Poland's Robert Lewandowski reacts after their Euro 2016 qualification match against Germany in Frankfurt, Germany, September 4, 2015. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender
Poland's Robert Lewandowski reacts after their Euro 2016 qualification match against Germany in Frankfurt, Germany, September 4, 2015. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Jamie Holland

Robert Lewandowski, Kamil Grosicki and Arek Milik all scored twice as Poland bounced back from last week's defeat by Germany to flatten Gibraltar 8-1.

The Poles are now second in Group D on 17 points, two behind leaders Germany with two series of matches remaining.

Grosicki struck twice in the opening 15 minutes before another quickfire double from Lewandowski put the Poles 4-0 up by half-time.

Milik was on target twice in the second half while Jakub Blaszczykowski added a penalty and Bartosz Kapustka also netted.

Gibraltar, UEFA's newest international team, fielded just one professional player - Jake Gosling of Bristol Rovers - and he scored a consolation goal in the 87th minute.

It was only their second goal in the qualifying campaign but it did little to lift their spirits as they stayed rooted to the foot of the table with zero points from eight games.

Elsewhere, a stoppage-time header by defender Miguel Veloso gave Portugal a 1-0 win in Albania and allowed them to extend their lead in Group I.

The Portuguese have 15 points from six games, three ahead of Denmark, who had to settle for a 0-0 draw in Armenia.

Portugal avenged their shock defeat by the Albanians in the reverse fixture after Veloso rescued them from a series of misses by Cristiano Ronaldo in Elbasan. It looked like Albania would hang on until Veloso rose above his marker to head home a Ricardo Quaresma corner.

Despite the Danes being the better side for much of the game, Armenia spurned a great chance midway through the second half when Ruslan Koryan played in Yura Movsisyan but he fired his shot wide.

Nicklas Bendtner nearly punished the Armenians for that mistake minutes later, but he saw his rasping shot parried away.

Denmark, the 1992 European champions, struggled to create many clear chances though and Armenia almost took all three points at the death when substitute Artem Simonyan dragged his shot wide with three minutes to go.

Regulars

Meanwhile, Spain boss Vicente del Bosque is likely to rest some of his regulars and give the youngsters in the squad a chance to shine in tonight's Group C qualifier against Macedonia.

With qualification looking almost certain, Del Bosque can afford to experiment and goalkeeper David de Gea is among those likely to get a call-up.

Deploying De Gea would be a vote of confidence for the Manchester United player, whose planned move to Real Madrid broke down in farcical circumstances when paperwork was filed too late.

Meanwhile, new figures from FIFA have revealed that clubs are now spending more money on salaries for new players than transfer fees.

The figures show that the total international transfer fees for last year was £2.6billion, while the value of the salaries associated with those transfers is £3.93billion over the term of the contracts. The FIFA transfer matching system figures show there was a huge increase in the value of salaries between 2013 and 2014 - a 33 per cent rise.

The figures also show that English clubs spent twice as much as any other country on international transfers during the summer - £652million, compared to Spain's £324million.

The figures do not include domestic transfers such as Raheem Sterling's move from Liverpool to Manchester City.

Irish Independent

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