England, the Netherlands and Spain continue to sweep aside all before them on the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Greece, by contrast, surrendered their own 100 per cent record, losing 2-1 at home to Switzerland, while continental giants Germany and Italy both suffered nervy evenings before edging Wales and Montenegro respectively.
Game of the day
Belgium 1-2 Spain
Goals: Wesley Sonck 6 (Belgium); Andres Iniesta 36, David Villa 88 (Spain)
A young Belgium side surprised the Group 5 leaders with their impressively energetic start on a slippery surface, and they were rewarded early when Wesley Sonck arced a header into the net for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Instead of panicking, however, Spain proved they remain in excellent shape by responding with maturity, before eventually drawing level through Andres Iniesta. The Barcelona midfielder shook off three defenders with two slick touches of the ball, and beat goalkeeper Stijn Stijnen from a tight angle.
After flirting with disaster more than once in the second half, the hosts turned to the prolific David Villa to once again deliver the points, the Valencia striker registering his 23rd international goal with a header of his own two minutes from time. The European champions now enjoy a four-point advantage over runners-up Turkey.
Surprise of the day
Greece 1-2 Switzerland
Goals: Angelos Charisteas 68 (Greece); Alexander Frei 41 pen, Blaise N'Kufo 77 (Switzerland)
In Group 2, Greece experienced a shock home loss to a completely transformed Switzerland team, who opened the scoring from an Alexander Frei penalty. Angelos Charisteas got the former continental champions back on equal terms but their visitors bristled with determination, no doubt eager to make up for their recent 2-1 defeat by Luxembourg. Twente striker Blaise N'Kufo, 33, struck the decisive blow to leave the Greeks just a solitary point clear of Israel, and two ahead of the Swiss.
The other games
Hungary won 1-0 in Malta to move level on points with the inactive Denmark at the Group 1 summit, which is a position in which Portugal firmly believed they would finish the round. Albania, however, had different ideas and their shock goalless draw in Braga kept them level with their opponents, two points behind the front two.
Slovakia replaced Poland atop of Group 3 by beating them 2-1 in Bratislava, while Germany required a 72nd-minute Piotr Trochowski goal to move four points clear at the head of Group 4.
Steven Gerrard's opener preceded a Wayne Rooney brace as England consolidated their position out front in Group 6 with a 3-1 win in Belarus, and Alberto Aquilani scored both Italy's goals when they edged Montenegro 2-1 to stay in control of Group 8.
30 - Marcello Lippi has gone 30 consecutive matches without defeat as Italy coach. In doing so he has equalled the record of double world champion Vittorio Pozzo, Hungary's Gusztav Sebes and France's Aime Jacquet. On top with 31 consecutive matches without defeat are Argentina's Alfio Basile and Spain's Javier Clemente.
Goal of the day
Russia 3-0 Finland
Goal: Andrei Arshavin 88
With the result beyond all doubt in Moscow, UEFA EURO 2008 revelation Andrei Arshavin scored an individual goal of the highest order. The Zenit player began by outfoxing two defenders on a run into the area, then shimmied to the left of the goalkeeper and somehow slipped the ball between the posts from the tightest of angles.
What they said
"We didn't expect to draw but I'd like to say that, even without producing a fantastic exhibition of football, I don't know what else we could do to win. The players dominated the match and did everything to win. Make no mistake we will get the points we need to qualify," Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz remains defiant after his sides stuttering start to qualification.
Have your say
Who, if anyone, will be able to stop Spain from cruising through the qualifiers with an impeccable 100 per cent record? Is there any stopping England?