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European Qualifiers Group D

Special analysis

Wednesday's international action yielded wins for Scotland, Wales and Spain and a loss for Ireland. Here's what our analysts made of proceedings...

Last Updated: 06/03/14 at 09:25 Post Comment

Poland 0-1 Scotland

ALAN McINALLY SAYS: Gordon Strachan has got Scotland's players playing fantastically well - and for each other. It doesn't look like there is an individual bigger than the team and the two wide boys, Barry Bannan and Ikechi Anya, were very good in this game, as they weren't just watching the play when the ball was on the opposite side to where they were. Scotland also moved the baller quicker but were much more patient with it and realised that if the ball forward is not on it is okay to come back and maintain possession. It was capped by a great strike from the skipper Scot Brown and gave us a great result psychologically, not just because we are playing Poland in the Euro 2016 qualifiers but because we won playing exactly the way Gordon wants us to.

Republic of Ireland 1-2 Serbia

PAT BONNER SAYS: Martin O'Neill will know that a lot of improvement is needed. Ireland started off the game really well and looked really sharp with Wes Hoolahan both creating and closing people down in that No. 10 position. They got the goal through Shane Long and could have had another if Hoolahan hadn't been ruled offside, but once Serbia got into their stride and started to play, especially Chelsea's Nemanja Matic, Ireland were up against it. I think Ireland need to try and become a little more compact between the back four and midfield and push up the pitch a bit, so that when they do put pressure on they can break from there offensively. I was impressed by James McClean on the left-hand side but I think Martin will dismiss most of this and say: 'Let's move on'.

Wales 3-1 Iceland

DEAN SAUNDERS SAYS: Gareth Bale is the difference and he was absolutely breath-taking at times tonight [Wednesday]. It was worth going to this game just to watch him as the way he travels with the ball, the way he strikes the ball [is fantastic]. Hal-Robson Kanu had a good game and everyone else was alright - and then there was Gareth, who made the first goal with a fantastic in-swinging cross which James Collins headed in, before being involved in the second and scoring the third.

Spain 1-0 Italy

TREVOR FRANCIS SAYS: David Silva and Xabi Alonso were excellent but I thought Diego Costa had a mixed bag, so the toughest task for [Spain boss] Vicente del Bosque is to decide who to start with. Will he play Alonso or Sergio Busquets? If he plays both, does Silva find himself on the bench? Has Costa, who I feel is as good as on the plane to the World Cup, done enough to be that main central striker, or does the team revert to a false nine, perhaps Cesc Fabregas? It is a little dilemma.

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