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09.09.2007 00:12

Three draws for Barça’s Euro stars

Berta Brau

FC Barcelona had seven players in action on Saturday as they represented their national teams in the current round of Euro 2008 qualification matches.

An azulgrana against three

Gianluca Zambrotta faced Lilian Thuram, Thierry Henry and Éric Abidal as Italy hosted France in Milan. The game was a repeat of last summer's World Cup Final, but there was to be no winner this time as the two sides fought out a goalless draw.

The four Blaugrana players may not have all have been battling for a common cause, as they do under Frank Rijkaard, but they all participated for 90 minutes in the frenetic encounter in the San Siro.

Henry will be able to return to Barcelona earlier than expected after receiving a yellow card in the 56th minute that means that he is suspended for France's game against Scotland on Wednesday. The former Arsenal forward had one good chance on goal in the game and committed four fouls , while Thuram and Abidal did not commit any mistakes at the other end. For his part, Zambrotta did not commit any errors either at the back for the hosts.

Xavi starts, Iniesta on the bench

xavi.jpgSpain coach Luis Aragonés named Xavi Hernández in the starting line-up for his team's game in Reykjavik, while Andrés Iniesta began on the bench. The Iceland trainer, Eyjolfur Sverrison left Eidur Gudjohnsen out his squad for the encounter as the striker had not been given the green light to play by doctors. In the 39th minute, the hosts took the lead through Emil Hallfredsson after the Spanish had seen Xabi Alonso sent off for stamping on an opponent. Despite playing the entire second half with ten men, the visitors managed to earn a a point when Iniesta came on to net his third international goal with five minutes remaining.

Portugal - Poland: the third draw

deco.jpgDeco started for Portugal in their 2-2 draw at home to Poland in Lisbon. During the first half both sides had chances to score and Deco had a free-kick and also provided several incisive passes as the hosts pushed forward. As half-time approached the Poles stunned the Portuguese when Lewandowski opened their account in the 44th minute. The home side were level five minutes after the break when Maniche netted and then took the lead in the 73rd minute through Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, but there was still a twist in the tail. Just two minutes before the end Krzyonwek scored an equaliser for Poland to earn them a share of the spoils.

Deco had an impressive performance in midfield for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side and had one shot on target as well as committing three fouls.
Three draws for Barça’s Euro stars
Touré helps Ivory Coast through
Touré Yaya helped the Ivory Coast to qualifiy for the African Nations' Cup next year as they drew 0-0 with Gabon in the final game of the grouop. The IOvory Coast needed only a point to go through mathematically and after a lacklustre encounter secured what they needed. With Didier Drigba to lead the team, Touré was placed in charge and he led with strength and passion as his national team reached the tournament with an unbeaten record in qualifiying and without conceding a single goal. Touré and Samuel Eto'o will be Barça¡s representatives at the African Nations' Cup in Ghana, which runs from January 20 until February 10 next year.

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