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Four stars in action

Tymoshchuk on course for World Cup spot

Bayern midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk's dream of playing at the World Cup in South Africa next summer is alive and well this morning. In the first leg of the play-off between Tymoshchuk's Ukraine side and former continental champions Greece, the East Europeans battled their way to a goalless draw away from home and are now in a promising position ahead of Wednesday's return in Donezk.

The 40,000 crowd at the Olympic stadium in Athens saw a disappointingly unadventurous display from the home side, coached by German veteran Otto Rehhagel. Tymoshchuk and his team-mates denied the Greeks space to play and held back the tide with a rock-solid defensive performance. Ukraine have now gone five World Cup qualifiers without conceding a goal.

Demichelis downed in Spain

Tymoshchuk was the only Bayern player in competitive action on Saturday night. His injured club team-mate Franck Ribéry will nevertheless have been thrilled by France's 1-0 win over Ireland in Dublin. The 2006 World Cup runners-up will now be odds-on favourites to complete the job and book their place at next summer's finals after the second meeting in Paris on Wednesday.