2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers – Zone Europe match day 2 and Sunday wrap-up:
Germany 3-o Czech Republic
Germany continues on its winning ways as Muller nets a brace in the comfortable victory where the World Champions were not barely challenged. The Germans will now face the Northern Irish for the group’s first place, a team that they played in the Euro 2016 group stage [1-0].
Poland 3-2 Denmark
Lewandowski showed all his talents and gets a hat-trick in this game. He has now scored in seven straight qualifiers. Poland takes over the leadership in the group but also lost an important player with Milik who will be out for about 4 months and won’t play in 2016 again after suffering an ACL injury.
England 2-0 Malta
Interim coach Gareth Southgate started his gig with a win. Against a weak opponent, much more could have been hoped from the Three Lions but England will take this one home. Its new coach reacts:
“We played well in the first half. We could and should have had more goals but their goalkeeper made some very good saves.
Of course we would have liked to have given the fans four or five goals but Malta in their last qualifying campaign had 1-0 defeats against Croatia and Italy. Their goalkeeper played well, they defended in heavy numbers but we still created a lot of chances and could have won it by more.
We could have moved the ball more quickly and we have to keep focused and make sure we’re not caught in counter attacks but Slovenia will be very different. Malta played a 5-4-1 formation which was always going to be difficult to break down; we managed it but we can improve.
My job is to get the results that keep us at the top of the group. We’ve achieved that and I know people will have wanted more but now we have to go to Slovenia and get that win.”
Macedonia 2-3 Italy
The Italians can thank Immobile who subbed in and scored two goals for the Azzuri whereas they were down 2-1. The team is extending the streak to 53 unbeaten qualifiers and share group’s first place with Spain, victorious in Albania 2-0.
Wales 1-1 Georgia
In front of home crowd, Wales disappoint against a modest Georgian side.
The group is led by Serbia and Ireland following their respective victory. Serbia got the best of Austria, in the last minute, 3-2 and stopped the unbeaten run of 13 games in qualifiers. Ireland played a solid a game in Moldova.
Finland 0-1 Croatia
Croatia stays on top of the group with the close victory and continues their fine play in the qualifiers.
More to come after match day 3 Monday and Tuesday round-up!