Hungary edged closer to a first FIFA World Cup™ appearance in almost 25 years with a 3-0 win over Malta that piles further pressure on Portugal. The victory in Budapest takes the Hungarians top of Group 1 on 13 points, seven ahead of Germany 2006 semi-finalists Portugal, who had the night off.
Goals from Tamas Hajnal, Fulham striker Zoltan Gera and Roland Juhasz gave Erwin Koeman's side victory, although Denmark can reclaim top spot if they beat Albania later tonight. Hungary, FIFA World Cup finalists in 1954, haven't made the finals since 1986.
In Group 4, Russia, coached by another Dutchman Guus Hiddink, the boss of Chelsea, scraped a 1-0 win at Liechtenstein thanks to a Konstantin Zyrianov strike. Russia have 12 points and remain in second spot behind three-time winner Germany, who were facing Wales in Cardiff.
In Group 8, where world champions Italy were playing Republic Ireland in a later kick-off, Bulgaria revived their with a 2-0 win over Cyprus thanks to goals from Ivelin Popov and substitute Dimitar Makriev. Bulgaria were again missing captain Dimitar Berbatov.