Slovakia Stun Spain as England Stroll Past San Marino

A goal in each half from Juraj Kucka and Miroslav Stoch gave Slovakia a shock 2-1 win over former world champions Spain in a UEFA Euro 2016 Group C qualifying match this evening in Zilina.

The result ensures Slovakia is the only country in the qualifying group with a 100% record after two matches while Spain is joined on three points by Ukraine and Macedonia following a third loss in their last five competitive matches.

A strong starting XI for Spain, which included Premier League top scorer Diego Costa, did not deter Slovakia from making a good start to the match, forcing a one-hand save from Iker Casillas after 12 minutes.

Costa glanced a header just wide moments later but the Slovakians would take the lead in the 17th minute when Kucka met Vladimir Weiss’ freekick with a right foot shot that beat Casillas.

Spain should have equalised midway through the half when a Jordi Alba ball in fell to Raul Albiol in the Slovak area only for the Napoli defender to fire over from six yards out.

The Spaniards again came close to an equaliser just before half-time but were denied by the Slovak goalkeeper Kozacik’s double-save from close range efforts by Sergio Busquets.

Kozacik was on hand to deny Costa and Fabregas in quick succession early in the second half but was eventually beaten with eight minutes left when Paco Alcácer converted an Alba cross.

But Slovakia took the lead again through Stoch who headed in a Michal Duris cross three minutes to the end, with the home side holding off a late barrage on their goal from Spain to claim a memorable win.

Meanwhile in Group E, England captain Wayne Rooney scored twice as the Three Lions maintained their perfect start to qualifying with a 5-0 thumping of minnows San Marino at Wembley.

Expectedly England dominated the match, with Phil Jagielka heading the home side ahead in the 25th minute from a James Milner cornerkick before Rooney doubled the lead with a penalty three minutes before half-time.

A combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from the visiting keeper meant England was unable to score further goals between the strikes of Jagielka and Rooney in the first half.

But it took just three minutes of the second half for the Three Lions to find the net again as Danny Welbeck was on hand to slot into the bottom corner after being set up by Arsenal teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Rooney missed a host of chances afterwards while Oxlade-Chamberlain’s effort which deflected off Adam Lallana into the goal was ruled out for offside as England looked to add more to their lead.

A fourth goal inevitably came through substitute Andros Townsend in the 72nd minute while Alex Della Valle turned in a chipped cross in from Rooney six minutes later to seal a comfortable win for England.

The win leaves Roy Hodgson’s side top of the qualifying group with six points, ahead of Lithuania on goal difference, with Saulius Mikoliunas scoring the only goal of the match for Lithuania at home to 10-man Estonia.

Elsewhere in qualifying, Russia came away from Sweden with a 1-1 draw, which was just enough to keep Fabio Capello’s men top of Group G with four points, ahead of Montenegro and Austria on goal difference.

Montenegro played out a goalless draw at Liechtenstein while David Alaba and Marc Janko scored either side of Alexandru Dedov’s penalty to give Austria a 2-1 win at Moldova, with Janko getting sent off late on.