presented by
Good night’s work for FCB men

Wins for Italy and Dutch, stalemate elsewhere

Bayern’s non-German internationals involved in 2010 World Cup qualifying will return to Munich in a positive frame of mind after coming through a midweek round of matches undefeated. Italy and the Netherlands both won, and there were draws for Belgium, Brazil and Argentina, although the Europeans will be happier at taking a point than the South American big guns.

Mark van Bommel and the Netherlands got their qualifying campaign underway with a win as the men in orange overcame Macedonia 2-1 in Skopje. John Heitinga (45) fired the visitors in front on the stroke of half time, before Rafael van der Vaart doubled the advantage on the hour. Goran Pandeev converted from the spot to pull one back for the home team and ensure a tense final 15 minutes, but the Dutch survived to claim three points from a match in which Van Bommel played the full 90 minutes.

Italians win, Belgians draw

By contrast, Luca Toni was substituted after 71 minutes of Italy’s 2-0 win over Georgia in Udine, Daniele de Rossi netting for the Azzurri on 17 and 89 minutes. The World Cup holders lead Group 8 on maximum points from two matches.

Daniel van Buyten and Belgium are level on points but behind on goal difference to Turkey at the top of Group 5. The Red Devils appeared poised to go clear in the standings after Wesley Sonck netted a 31st-minute opener in Istanbul, but Emre Belozoglu levelled with a penalty a quarter of an hour from time. The teams ended up sharing the spoils 1-1 in a match watched by Van Buyten from the subs’ bench, with injured Turkey star Hamit Altintop confined to the stands.