In Brief: Pedro treble sees Spain extend run
PEDRO hit a hat-trick as Spain extended their winning run in major championship qualifiers to 24 matches by beating Belarus 4-0 in a Group I qualifier in Belarus.
The world and European champions produced a typically efficient performance in chilly Minsk.
Full-back Jordi Alba opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he rounded goalkeeper Sergei Veremko and drove the ball into the net.
David Silva sent Pedro clear to make it 2-0 nine minutes later and Pedro added his second in the 69th when he lifted the ball over the onrushing Veremko. Cesc Fabregas set up his Barcelona team-mate to complete his treble in the 72nd minute
Kerzhakov goal puts Portugal out in cold
Alexander Kerzhakov scored early as Russia edged out Portugal 1-0 to earn their third consecutive win at the start of their Group F qualifying campaign under Fabio Capello.
Kerzhakov struck in the sixth minute after breaking clear.
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was a constant threat at the other end, having recovered from a shoulder injury sustained while playing for Real Madrid, but did not get clear chances.
The Russians top the group with nine points, while Portugal stayed in second place with six points.
Giles to reminisce on years in game
SOME golden memories of Irish and international football will be relived in Dublin next Thursday when John Giles makes a special public appearance.
'An Evening with John Giles' will see the former Ireland captain and manager reminisce with RTE presenter Darragh Maloney about what he has witnessed in more than 50 years of football.
Ahead of the launch of his new book 'The Great and the Good' -- extracts of which will appear exclusively in the Irish Independent next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday -- the well-known pundit will address a public audience.
From developments in coaching techniques, to the legendary figures who drove the game forward and to what makes a great player, Giles will share his thoughts.
The event kicks off at 7.30 at the County Hall on Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, and tickets -- priced at just €5 -- are available from www.pavilliontheatre.ie