North Macedonia vs Germany
Germany booked its place at the 2022 World Cup with an error-strewn 4-0 win over North Macedonia away on Monday.
Kai Havertz broke the deadlock in the 50th minute before Chelsea clubmate Timo Werner’s quickfire double helped Germany atone for its surprise 2-1 loss to North Macedonia in Duisburg in March – the only blip in an otherwise perfect qualifying campaign with seven wins from eight games in Europe Group J.
Jamal Musiala got the fourth goal for Hansi Flick’s team in the 83rd, set up by fellow substitute Karim Adeyemi.
Germany stretched its lead in the group to an unassailable eight points with two rounds of games remaining. Flick has overseen five wins since he took over from Joachim Löw after the summer’s European Championship.
Ionu Mitri’s 26th-minute goal was enough for Romania to beat Armenia 1-0 in Bucharest.
Iceland defeated Liechtenstein 4-0 in the other group game.
Romania moved to second in the group on 13 points, one ahead of North Macedonia and Armenia on 12. Iceland has eight points and Liechtenstein one from a draw with Armenia in September.
Holland vs Gibraltar
Memphis Depay scored twice, had two assists and missed a penalty as the Netherlands overpowered Gibraltar 6-0 to remain top of Europe Group G in World Cup qualifying on Monday.
Second-placed Norway, playing without injured striker Erling Haaland, beat Montenegro 2-0 to remain two points adrift of the Dutch, and Burak Ylmaz scored the winner from the penalty spot deep in second-half stoppage time as Turkey beat Latvia 2-1 in Riga.
Depay put his disappointing club season at Barcelona behind him with a productive night at De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam against one of the world’s soccer minnows. His first goal of the night was his 13th of the year for Oranje, breaking the Dutch record of 12 in a calendar year by Patrick Kluivert.
Depay’s 21st-minute strike after a pass from Davy Klaassen came just two minutes after Gibraltar goalkeeper Bradley Banda marked his international debut by saving the striker’s first penalty of the night. Depay made no mistake with his second spot-kick to put the Dutch 3-0 up in first-half stoppage time.
Captain Virgil van Dijk opened the scoring with a ninth-minute header from a Depay corner, the defender’s first goal since his return from last season’s knee injury.
“I am really happy to have scored for the first time in a really long time,” Van Dijk told Dutch broadcaster NOS.
Wing back Denzel Dumfries made it 4-0 three minutes after the break and substitute Arnaut Danjuma, a late callup to replace the injured Cody Gakpo, scored on his return to the Dutch team for the first time since his first two internationals in 2018.
Another second-half substitute, Donyell Malen, completed the route in the 86th. The scoreline could have been much worse for the visitors – the Dutch had 31 attempts on goal to Gibraltar’s one.
Croatia vs Slovakia
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric scored from a free-kick to salvage a 2-2 draw with Slovakia as Russia moved to the top of Europe Group H in World Cup qualifying on Monday.
Dropping points mean the 2018 World Cup runner-up Croatia is likely to need a win over Russia next month to qualify automatically for next year’s World Cup in Qatar. Neither team can finish lower than second, ensuring them of at least a spot in the playoffs.
Slovakia needed a win to keep its qualifying hopes alive against Croatia and took the lead with a header from Ivan Schranz in the 20th minute, but Croatia hit back five minutes later when Andrej Kramaric headed in a deflected Modric cross.
Slovakia moved in front again just before the break when winger Lukas Haraslin was given plenty of time and space at the far post to fire the ball through goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic’s legs.
With time running out for Croatia after a series of misses by Kramaric, Modric curled a free-kick through the Slovakian wall in the 71st. The goal was his first since the European Championship and came three days after he missed a penalty against Cyprus.
Nikola Vlasic thought he’d given Croatia all three points when he bundled in the rebound as several players battled for the ball in a slippery penalty area. The ball deflected off the back of fallen defender Martin Koscelnik and Vlasic knocked it in, but the referee said there had been an earlier offside after a long VAR review while the players waited for kickoff.
Croatia and Russia have been neck-and-neck at the top of Group H for much of the qualifying campaign, but the Russians have moved ahead by two points with two games to go after a 2-1 win over old rival Slovenia thanks to an overhead goal from centre back Georgy Dzhikiya.
Igor Diveev headed Russia in front in the 28th before the highlight of the match from Dzhikiya, who leapt for an overhead kick at the far post when left unmarked at a corner.
Josip Ilicic scored for Slovenia to keep the game close and end Russia coach Valery Karpin’s run of not conceding a goal in his four previous games in charge. Slovenia kept up the pressure through the second half but couldn’t find an equalizer and can no longer qualify.
Malta scored in the 98th minute to earn a point in a 2-2 draw with Cyprus.
Mohamed Elyounoussi scored both goals in Norway’s victory in Oslo.
Turkey fell behind Latvia thanks to a Merih Demiral own goal before Serdar Dursun equalized and Yilmaz earned the winner.
Courtesy: Associated Press