| Steven Gerrard of England is challenged by Vladimir Leitnez of Slovakia in Bratislava Saturday. (Reuters)
London: European champions France maintained their perfect start to their Euro 2004 qualifying campaign as they crushed Slovenia 5-0 at the Stade de France on Saturday.
In other matches England overcame a shaky start to win 2-1 in Slovakia, Turkey did the same to win 2-1 in Macedonia and Italy were held to a 1-1 draw by Yugoslavia in Naples.
Spain beat Northern Ireland 3-0 in Albacete. Germany, who drew 1-1 with Bosnia in a friendly on Friday, get back to competitive action against Faroe Islands at home on Wednesday when another full round of qualifiers take place.
In Group I France were on top after scoring their second successive win, a 5-0 victory over Slovenia in Paris with Steve Marlet scoring twice and Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord and Sidney Govou. Israel moved into second place with a well deserved 2-0 away win.
Group II saw Denmark move to the top of on goal difference from Norway after their 2-0 home win over Luxembourg.
Norway chalked up an important win in Romania thanks to an 84th-minute header from Steffen Iversen who has yet to score any goals for his Tottenham Hotspur club side this season.
In Group III Austria maintained their 100 per cent start with a 2-0 win in Belarus. The Czech Republic began their campaign with a 2-0 win in Moldova.
Latvia emerged as surprise early leaders in Group IV following their 1-0 win over Poland in Warsaw thanks to Juris Laizans’s 30th-minute winner. That upset, combined with Sweden’s 1-1 home draw with Hungary in Stockholm means that Latvia lead Poland by a point, followed by Sweden and Hungary.
In Group V Scotland beat Iceland 2-0 in Reykjavik with goals from Christian Dailly (7) and Gary Naysmith (62).
The win took Scotland top on four points, one ahead of Germany, although they have played two matches and the Germans just once
Spain proved too good for Northern Ireland winning 3-0 in Group VI with two goals from Ruben Baraja and one from Guti. They now lead the group from with six points.
In Bratislava Slovakia took the lead through Szilard Nemeth but England came back to win with a David Beckham free kick and a late header from Michael Owen.
Italy were held to a 1-1 draw in Naples by Yugoslavia, Alessandro del Piero scoring for the former World champions.
Finland beat Azerbaijan 3-0 in Helsinki while Albania drew 1-1 with Switzerland..