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WC 2006 Qualifying Heats Up in Europe

A total of 26 European nations played in World Cup football (soccer) qualifying games Wednesday as they try to reach the 32-team finals in Germany next year.

Ukraine defeated defending European champion Greece, 1-0. Andriy Husin scored a late goal to give Ukraine a seven-point lead in Group-Two with 23 points. Turkey blasted Kazakhstan, 6-0, to move into second place with 16 points. Greece is currently third with 13.

Denmark was a 3-1 winner over Albania, but is on the verge of missing the World Cup for the first time since 1994. The Netherlands remain in first place in Group-One with a 4-0 victory over Finland.

The Czech Republic kept pace in second place with a 6-1 win over Macedonia. Romania blanked Armenia, 3-0. Spain and Bosnia-Herzegovina remain tied at the top of Group-Seven after a 1-1 draw.

Portugal kept its three-point advantage over Slovakia in Group-Three with a 1-0 win over Estonia. Slovakia downed Luxembourg, 4-0, while Latvia was a 1-0 winner over Liechtenstein. Ireland took over first place in Group-Four with a 2-0 victory over the Faeroe Islands.

Several European powers including England, Italy and France did not play.

In Group-Five it was Belarus 0, Scotland 0. In Group-Eight Iceland beat Malta, 4-1. Three international friendly games included Germany and Russia playing to a 2-2 draw. Norway was a 3-2 winner over Sweden. Singapore downed Malaysia, 2-1.

Some information for this report provided by AP.