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Germans held by Cyprus, Ireland trounce San Marino

15 November 2006 22:56

NICOSIA/DUBLIN, Nov 15 (SW) - A weakened Germany squad were held to a stunning draw by Cyprus in Euro 2008 qualifying Group D while Ireland put five on the board against San Marino at Landsdowne Road.

Cyprus - Germany 1-1

An injury-depleted German side were delighted to take the lead just after the quarter-hour mark as Michael Ballack hit a brilliant free kick into the net after Yiannakis Okkas fouled Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Germany, though, failed to assert themselves and didn't create many clear-cut scoring opportunities, allowing Cyprus to sneak back into the game two minutes before the interval as Okkas blasted a pinpoint volley past Timo Hildebrand in the German goal.

The second half saw Germany enjoy the better of the possession, but any of the slim chances they created in the offensive end were wasted or stopped by goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides.

The draw ended Germany's perfect record in the group, although they remain unbeaten on 10 points.

Republic of Ireland - San Marino 4-0

The Irish dominated from the outset against an overmatched San Marino side, and they went in front on seven minutes when visiting defender David Simoncini deflected a free kick into his own net.

In-form Reading striker Kevin Doyle then doubled the advantage in the 24th minute as he put a head to Kevin Kilbane's cross, and then Robbie Keane got the first of his three goals in the 31st minute after he converted another Kilbane centering pass.

The Spurs forward extended the lead to 4-0 just shy of the hour mark when he slotted home a penalty after Paul McShane was brought down in the area, and he completed the treble five minutes from time to complete the rout.

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