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Inspired Spain sinks Turkey, Terry to the rescue

WINGER Albert Riera struck a stoppage-time winner for European champion Spain which rallied to beat Turkey 2-1 and maintain its 100 percent record in 2010 World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.

Spain, the world's top-ranked side in the FIFA rankings, made it six wins from six in Group 5 and can almost certainly start planning for next year's finals in South Africa.

England continue to banish memories of its failed Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with defender John Terry hooking in the winner five minutes from time as Group 6 rival Ukraine was beaten 1-2 at Wembley.

The Netherlands also extended their perfect record in Group 9 with Dirk Kuyt scoring twice in a 4-0 demolition of Macedonia.

Europe's other heavyweight sides also flexed their muscles with differing performances and results.

World champion Italy, a man down for almost the entire game in Bari after striker Giampaolo Pazzini's early red card, was foiled by a late Robbie Keane equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Ireland in Group 8.

Group 4 leader Germany eased to a 2-0 win over Wales in Cardiff while France scraped a 1-0 win over Lithuania in Paris.

Spain extended its remarkable unbeaten run to 31 games stretching back to November 2006 but was again forced to display its resilience after Samih Senturk, who scored three goals in Turkey's run to the semifinals of Euro 2008, had fired the host ahead at a raucous Ali Sami Yen stadium in Istanbul.

Turkey, which lost 0-1 to Spain in Madrid on Saturday, took the lead against the run of play after 26 minutes.

Tuncay Sanli got to Ara Turan's teasing cross into the danger zone before Iker Cassilas and with the Spain keeper out of position, an off-balance Tuncay was able to square for Semih to slot in.

Spain drew level just past the hour when English referee Mike Riley awarded a penalty after Ibrahim Uzulmez blocked a Torres close-range header with his arm. Xabi Alonso scored from the spot.

Swift break

The winner came from a swift break in injury time. From a long ball forward, Daniel Guiza got the better of his marker down the right flank and cross low for an unmarked Riera to fire in.

A stunned crowd in Bari fell silent after four minutes when Pazzini, who scored Italy's second goal in its 2-0 win over Montenegro on his international debut on Saturday, was harshly shown a straight red card for catching John O'Shea with his leading arm.

Italy went ahead soon after when Vincenzo Iaquinta tapped in but Ireland, managed by former Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni, eventually capitalized on its numerical advantage with Robbie Keane levelling late on.

England appeared set to drop its first points of the campaign after Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko cancelled out a Peter Crouch strike with 16 minutes left. Shevchenko celebrated hard but the smile was wiped off his face on 85 minutes when Steven Gerrard knocked down a David Beckham free-kick and centre back Terry stretched out a leg for the winner.


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