Tuesday 16 January 2018

Giroud ends Spain's streak

FRANCE sub Olivier Giroud headed past Iker Casillas with almost the last touch of the game to snatch a 1-1 draw against holders Spain in Group I.

The draw denied Spain a 25th straight win in major championship qualifiers although they remain top of the group tied with France on seven points from three matches.

Sergio Ramos had put Spain ahead in the 25th minute before France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saved a Cesc Fabregas penalty before the break.

The French came out fighting in the second half and almost equalised several times before Franck Ribery crossed for Giroud to nod home in the fourth minute of injury-time.

Meanwhile, in Group A, a question mark hangs over Craig Levein's future as Scotland manager as hopes of salvaging their campaign were shattered by a 2-0 defeat to Belgium.

The Scots headed into the match in Brussels sitting second bottom of the group and still seeking a first win, desperately needed to boost their slim hopes of reaching Brazil in 2014.

But second-half goals from Christian Benteke and Vincent Kompany just a minute apart resulted in a very disappointing night for Scotland.

Elsewhere, in Group F, Helder Postiga's 79th-minute goal denied Northern Ireland a famous victory in Portugal last night. The North took the lead through Niall McGinn on the half-hour mark. The game finished 1-1.

Irish Independent

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