- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 7, 2010

France’s recovery from a humiliating World Cup finally began with a first win in European Championship qualifying on Tuesday night, while Germany and the Netherlands earned their second straight victories.

The French had begun with a surprising loss in Group D to Belarus on Friday, but Karim Benzema and Florent Malouda led them to a 2-0 victory at Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Italy and England also put miserable World Cup campaigns behind them by making it two wins out of two on the path to Euro 2012.

Following Sunday tabloid stories alleging he cheated on his pregnant wife last year with a prostitute, Wayne Rooney ended his yearlong goal drought for England in a 3-1 victory over Switzerland.


Italy cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Faeroe Islands, Miroslav Klose’s two goals helped Germany beat Azerbaijan 6-1, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice for the Netherlands in a 2-1 victory over Finland.

Spain was beaten for the first time since winning the World Cup, allowing its most goals in a decade it a 4-1 exhibition loss at Argentina.

Spain trailed 3-0 down by halftime after goals by Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez.

Sergio Aguero added Argentina’s fourth in second-half injury time after Fernando Llorente scored for Spain. Interim coach Sergio Batista won his second game since replacing Diego Maradona.

Having lost its previous four games, France had little margin for error in Bosnia. But it took until the 72nd minute for Benzema, who had recovered from a sore ankle, to put the visitors ahead with a left-footed shot after turning a defender.

Malouda doubled the lead six minutes later to give Laurent Blanc his first win since taking over from coach Raymond Domenech after the first-round exit in South Africa.

“This match summarized all the good things I saw during our preparations but that we failed to put in place against Belarus,” Blanc said. “It could be the start of something good.”

France is third in Group D behind Albania and Belarus, which both have four points. Hamdi Salihi’s goal led Albania to a 1-0 win over Luxembourg, while Belarus was held 0-0 by Romania.

Italy looked a shadow of the side that struggled to beat Estonia 2-1 on Friday.

At his home ground, Fiorentina’s Alberto Gilardino headed Italy ahead after 11 minutes against the Faeroe Islands after 11 minutes.

Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Cassano added further goals before halftime, while substitute Fabio Quagliarella scored from close range in the 81st and Pirlo completed the rout in the 90th.

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