By Izuchukwu Okosi: Germany and England booked their places in the 2018 World Cup in Russia with their wins Thursday night against Northern Ireland and Slovenia respectively in the European qualifying zone, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Germany defeated the Irish side 3-1 at the latter’s Windsor Park in Belfast to top Group C with an unassailable 27 points from nine matches. Northern Ireland are second in the table with 19 points with only one round of matches to go in the qualifying stages.
Sebastian Rudy, Sandro Wagner and Joshua Kimmich were on target for the world champions.
In the other Group C matches played on Thursday night, Czech Republic defeated Azerbaijan 2-1 while Norway mauled Armenia 8-0.
In Group E, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick as Poland walloped Armenia 6-1. The other Polish goals came from Jakub Blaszcykowski, Kamil Grosicki and Rafal Wolski. Manchester United midfielder Henrick Mkhitaryan assisted Hohannes Hamardzumyan on the occasion of his 27th birthday.
The win takes Poland’s points haul to 22 as group leaders.
Also in Group E, Romania were victors at their Stadionul Illie Oana home ground where they won 3-1 against Kazakhstan.
In the other Group E match second placed Denmark with 19 points pipped Montenegro 1-0 with Tottenham Hotspur midfield star Christian Eriksen on target.
England booked their place at next summer’s World Cup thanks to an Harry Kane 94th minute goal in a 1-0 win against Slovenia. The win took the Three Lions’ points to 23.
Scotland defeated ten-man Slovakia 1-0 at Hampden Park with Martin Skrtel conceding an own goal while Malta parading Nigerian-born Alfred Effiong were held to a 1-1 by Lithuania at home. Effiong played for 90 minutes.