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Sep 7, 2010

Benzema strike lifts Les Bleus

Two late goals helped France bounce back from a woeful start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win in Bosnia on Tuesday night.

• Gerrard: England tore Swiss apart
• Friendlies: Argentina thrash Spain
• Euro 2012 qualifying gallery

Laurent Blanc's side were on the receiving end of a shock 1-0 home defeat against Belarus on Friday but a clever goal from Karim Benzema in the 72nd minute got Les Bleus back on track.

Benzema collected the ball with his back to goal, rolled it with the sole of his boot and turned swiftly to squeeze past two defenders before scoring with an angled, left-foot shot. Winger Florent Malouda made it 2-0 after 78 minutes.

Wayne Rooney netted his first England goal for a year as Fabio Capello's side overcame 10-man Switzerland 3-1 in Basel to go top of Group G. The Manchester United striker ended an 11-game drought for his country after 10 minutes.

Switzerland had Stephan Lichtsteiner sent off before Adam Johnson made it 2-0 and, although Xherdan Shaqiri reduced the arrears, Darren Bent wrapped up the points two minutes from time.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored both goals as the Netherlands beat Finland 2-1 at the De Kuip Stadion in Rotterdam.

Huntelaar, who also grabbed a hat-trick against San Marino on Friday, put the Dutch in front after seven minutes when he headed in a cross from Wesley Sneijder. He then doubled the lead nine minutes later by converting a penalty.

Finland pulled one back in the 18th minute when an unmarked Mikael Forssell netted with a close-range header.

Stephen McManus' last-gasp winner for Scotland saved their blushes with a 2-1 win against Liechtenstein at Hampden Park. After a first half of frustration, Mario Frick gave the visitors a sensational lead a minute after the break before Kenny Miller fired in the equaliser.

It looked like the Scots were running out of time but seven minutes into added time McManus headed in a Barry Robson corner for the most dramatic of finishes seen for years at the national stadium.

Portugal's difficult start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign continued as they fell to 1-0 defeat against Norway in Oslo.

They were held to a 4-4 draw with Cyprus in their opener and were unable to respond after Erik Huseklepp gave the hosts a 21st-minute lead at the Ullevaal Stadion tonight, leaving them languishing in fourth place in the pool.

Germany continued their smooth start to qualifying with a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Berti Vogts' Azerbaijan in Munich's Allianz Arena.

Substitute Heiko Westermann made the breakthrough in the 28th minute and goals from Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose in first-half stoppage time made the result safe.

Rashad Sadygov's own goal eight minutes after the interval stretched the hosts' advantage and, although Vagif Javadov pulled one back four minutes later courtesy of an error by Manuel Neuer, further goals in the final five minutes from Klose and Holger Badstuber sealed the rout.

Alberto Gilardino ended his 11-month goalscoring drought for Italy in a 5-0 triumph over the Faroe Islands. Playing in front of his club fans at Fiorentina's Artemio Franchi stadium, Gilardino put the Azzurri on their way in the 11th minute.

Daniele De Rossi doubled Italy's lead 11 minutes later and Antonio Cassano made it 3-0 before the half-hour mark. Substitute Fabio Quagliarella added another in the 80th minute before Andrea Pirlo capped off a wonderful evening for the Azzurri at the death.

Miroslav Stoch scored the only goal as Russia suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat against Slovakia at Moscow's Lokomotiv Stadium.

The Fenerbahce midfielder took advantage of keeper Igor Akinfeev's mistake to find the net in the 27th minute and Russia failed to make the most of their dominance as Slovakia held firm, with keeper Jan Mucha to the fore.

Turkey made it two wins out of two in qualifying thanks to a thrilling 3-2 victory over battling 10-man Belgium in Istanbul. The visitors took the lead through Daniel Van Buyten just before the half-hour mark but Turkey pulled level through Hamit Altintop early in the second period.

The dismissal of Vincent Kompany just after the hour hit Belgian hopes and Guus Hiddink's side duly capitalised when Semih Senturk fired home.

Van Buyten's second of the night put Belgium on course for an unlikely point before Arda Turan popped up to win it inside the final 15 minutes as Turkey maintained their perfect start to the group following Friday's victory over Kazakhstan.

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