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England and Dutch cruise, Serbia looks impressive in WC qualifying
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England took a big step towards next year's soccer World Cup by thrashing Andorra 6-0 in Group Six of the European Zone qualifying tournament on Wednesday.

England make it seven wins from seven matches in the group, but they still need one more victory to seal their berth in the finals.

Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe both struck twice for Fabio Capello's side while Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch were also on target.

England now boast a 10-point lead over second-placed Croatia and Ukraine who scraped a 2-1 home victory over Kazakhstan to keep alive their hopes of finishing in the runners-up spot and earn a playoff chance against another second-placed nation.

The Netherlands, who on Saturday became the first European nation to book their place in South Africa, eased past Norway 2-0 in Rotterdam to also collect a maximum 21 point in Group Nine.

Russia thumped Finland 3-0, closing the gap on Group Four leaders Germany and damaging Finnish hopes of reaching the finals in South Africa.

Goals by Alexander Kerzhakov in the 26th and 53rd minutes and Konstantin Zyryanov in the 71st secured the visiting side's victory and Finland rarely threatened Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev.

Russia have 15 points from six matches, one behind Germany and five ahead of Finland.

In Group Seven, Serbia are impressive with a 2-0 win in the Faroe Islands as they looked more like they will qualify automatically as group leaders.

Milan Jovanovic and Neven Subotic scored for the Serbians whose next match is at home to France, who stands second in the group.

In Group One, Sweden hit back from their weekend defeat at home to Denmark with a 4-0 defeat of Malta in Gothenburg, although their chances of snatching even the runners-up spot are up in the air.

(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2009)

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