World Cup Qualifying Roundup: England Suffers Worst Loss in 25 Years

By Robert Millward The Associated Press- Denmark sent England to its worst loss in 25 years Zinedine Zidane scored in his return to France's national team and Russia's chances of qualifying for the World Cup were hurt with a tie at Latvia on Wednesday night.

There were 15 World Cup qualifiers but most of Europe's biggest nations played exhibition games.

Denmark beat England 4-1 the first three-goal defeat for the English since they lost to Wales by the same score on May 17 1980. Zidane scored in France's 3-0 victory over the Ivory Coast Italy beat Ireland 2-1 World Cup champion Brazil was held to a 1-1 tie at Croatia and World Cup host Germany rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 2-2 tie at the Netherlands.

At East Hartford Conn. the United States (5-1) defeated Trinidad and Tobago (1-4-1) 1-0 moving to the brink of its fifth straight appearance in soccer's showcase tournament. Brian McBride scored just 91 seconds in and the Americans held an 18-1 advantage in shots.

At Mexico City Jared Borgetti pushed Mexico (5-0-1) to the verge of the 2006 World Cup with a record 36th career goal for the national team. Francisco Fonseca had the other goal for Mexico in its 2-0 victory over Costa Rica (2-3-1).

At Guatemala City Gonzalo Romero scored in the 92nd minute to give Guatemala (2-3-1) a 2-1 victory over Panama (0-4-2). Panama's Jorge Dely Valdes opened the scoring but Carlos Ruiz tied the match for Guatemala before Romero's decisive goal.

At Copenhagen Dennis Rommedahl Jon Dahl Tomasson and Michael Gravgaard scored in a seven-minute span during the second half to give the Danes a 3-0 lead. Wayne Rooney got England's goal with two minutes left and Soeren Larsen added a goal for Denmark.

"I am very sorry and angry about the second half. That was a disaster England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said. "We were all over the place not defending well losing the ball. We did nothing right for 30-35 minutes.

"We came out in the second half and it seems like it's a holiday. I am very sorry for the fans. I told (the players) that if we are going to play football like this we can forget the World Cup."

Zidane who quit the French national team after the 2004 European Championship volleyed in a cross from Sylvain Wiltord in the 63rd minute at Montpellier. William Gallas scored in the 28th minute and Thierry Henry in the 67th — both turned 28 Wednesday.

In Russia's qualifier at Riga Vitalijs Astafjevs scored for Latvia in the sixth minute and Andrey Arshavin tied it in the 27th. Portugal (6-0-2) leads Group Three with 20 points two ahead of Slovakia (5-1-3) which played a 0-0 tie at Liechtenstein and five ahead of Russia (4-1-3). The eight European group winners and top two second-place teams qualify while the other second-place teams advance to playoffs.

At Rotterdam Arjen Robben scored in the fourth and 46th minutes for the Dutch. Michael Ballack scored in the 50th ending goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar's scoreless streak at 668 minutes a Dutch record. Gerald Asamoah tied it in the 81st.

At Dublin Andrea Pirlo scored in the 10th minute and Alberto Gilardino in the 31st for Italy which allowed a goal to Andy Reid in the 32nd.

At Split Niko Kranjcar put Croatia ahead in the 32nd minute when he scored off a rebound after a shot went off a post. Ricardinho tied the score for Brazil in the 43rd on a 20-yard free kick that went in off the crossbar.

Argentina which already has clinched a berth beat Hungary 2-1 in Budapest on goals by Maxi Rodriguez in the 19th minute and Gabriel Heinze in the 62nd. Sandor Torghelle scored for the hosts in the 29th.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi entered as a second-half substitute and was ejected one minute into his national team debut for elbowing Vilmos Vanczak who had pulled Messi's jersey.

At Gijon Spain beat Uruguay 2-0. Uruguay captain Pablo Garcia deflected Vicente Rodriguez's pass into his own net in the 25th minute and Rodriguez converted a penalty kick in the 38th.

In Asian qualifying Uzbekistan rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat visiting Kuwait 3-2 and advance to a playoff against Bahrain. The winner of that playoff meets the No. 4 team from CONCACAF for a spot in next year's tournament.

In Africa Tunisia (5-1-2) won 1-0 against visiting Kenya (3-4-1) and moved into the lead in Group Five one point ahead of Morocco (4-0-4). The five African group winners qualify.