World Cup qualifiers: Czech Republic beat Malta 4-1 in Group B
Last Updated: 11/10/13 9:50pm
Tomas Pekhart: On target for Czech Republic
The Czech Republic will battle Bulgaria, Denmark and Armenia for one World Cup qualifying play-off place after beating Group B basement boys Malta 4-1.
Goals from Tomas Hubschman, David Lafata, Vaclev Kadlec and substitute Tomas Pekhart in Ta' Qali saw the Czechs reach 12 points, despite Michael Mifsud spoiling their clean sheet, ahead of Tuesday's crucial showdown with rivals Bulgaria.
The team from Sofia have 13 points but suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Armenia earlier on Friday that saw Vardan Minasyan's men enter a four-nation fight for second place, which will also feature Denmark.
Malta were on the back foot for most of the match, but were unlucky when conceding the opening goal.
Hubschman had been properly closed down before shooting from the edge of the box, yet a fateful deflection off Rowen Muscat unsighted goalkeeper Justin Haber and the ball span past him and into the net.
Sparta Prague striker Lafata was the next man to beat Haber as he headed Frantisek Rajtoral's cross home in the 33rd minute.
Malta, however, regrouped somewhat over the break and pulled a goal back two minutes after the restart.
Mifsud was making his 100th appearance for Malta and notched his 38th goal in red and white colours by showing great composure to beat Petr Cech.
It proved a false dawn for the hosts, though, as the Czech Republic wrested back their two-goal advantage through Kadlec four minutes later, the Eintracht Frankfurt man doing the damage from six yards out.
Malta were deflated and their heads dropped completely when, 20 seconds before the full-time whistle, Kadlec's replacement Pekhart stole onto Borek Dockal's cross to plunder a fourth and final goal.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 11th Oct - Group B
Armenia2 - 1Bulgaria
Malta1 - 4Czech Rep
Denmark2 - 2Italy
Fri 11th Oct - Group G
Lithuania2 - 0Latvia
Bos & Herz4 - 1Liechtenstein
Greece1 - 0Slovakia
Fri 11th Oct - Group A
Croatia1 - 2Belgium
Wales1 - 0Macedonia
Fri 11th Oct - Group F
Azerbaijan2 - 0N Ireland
Luxembourg0 - 4Russia
Portugal1 - 1Israel
Fri 11th Oct - Group H
Moldova3 - 0San Marino
Ukraine1 - 0Poland
England4 - 1Montenegro
Fri 11th Oct - Group C
Faroe Islands1 - 1Kazakhstan
Sweden2 - 1Austria
Germany3 - 0Rep Ireland
Fri 11th Oct - Group E
Albania1 - 2Switzerland
Slovenia3 - 0Norway
Iceland2 - 0Cyprus
Fri 11th Oct - Group D
Holland8 - 1Hungary
Andorra0 - 4Romania
Estonia0 - 2Turkey
Fri 11th Oct - Group I
Spain2 - 1Belarus
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||25|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I