UEFA World Cup qualifying scores: Poland end England’s winning streak; Spain, Germany notch victories – CBS Sports - Techy Hunters

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

UEFA World Cup qualifying scores: Poland end England’s winning streak; Spain, Germany notch victories – CBS Sports

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There are now just two sets of international fixtures left before the first stage of Europe’s World Cup qualifiers are complete. Wednesday’s games were the last of this month’s break, here is how they played out and some takeaways from the day’s action:

UEFA World Cup qualifying scores

Group B
Kosovo 0, Spain 2
Greece 2, Sweden 1

Group C
Northern Ireland 0, Switzerland 0
Italy 5, Liechtenstein 0

Group E
Belarus 0, Belgium 1
Wales 0, Estonia 0

Group I
Hungary 2, Andorra 1
Albania 5, San Marino 0
Poland 1, England 1

Group J
North Macedonia 0, Romania 0
Iceland 0, Germany 4
Armenia 1, Liechtenstein 1

A good night for the favorites

In a night of relatively low drama most of the big guns of European football eased to a further three points, not least Germany, who looked impressive in swatting aside Iceland 4-0. An early goal from Serge Gnabry set Hansi Flick’s side on course for a win that takes them four points clear in Group J before Antonio Rudiger, Leroy Sane and Timo Werner found the net, the latter only after wasting a string of presentable opportunities.

After two games in which they dropped points the visit of Lithuania came at a good time for Italy with new Juventus striker Moise Kean netting a first-half brace. Their lead in Group C had been looking precarious after a draw against Switzerland but they had Northern Irish goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to thank as he saved a penalty that meant Northern Ireland held the Swiss to a goalless draw in Belfast.

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Meanwhile Group B may well have swung significantly in Spain’s favor. Luis Enrique’s side came back from Kosovo three points better off thanks to their Premier League contingent. West Ham’s Pablo Fornals struck at the near post in the first half to mark his first international start in style whilst Ferran Torres netted the decisive second on a late counter.

If they might have expected three hard-fought points from their trip to Pristina they surely would not have let themselves hope that Greece would have done them many favors against a Sweden side who have looked thoroughly impressive during the qualifying campaign, beating Spain last week. The Swedes certainly performed the better in terms of chances and possession but their profligacy was punished in a second half where Takos Bakasetas and Vangelis Pavlidis scored for the hosts. 

Robin Quaison’s 80th-minute strike set up a grandstand finish but it was the hosts who emerged victorious in Athens, a result that means Spain are four points clear of Sweden at the top of Group B having played two games more. Greece, three points further back and also with a pair of matches in hand, will believe they remain in the mix too.

Poland strike late to end England’s winning run

England might have become the first team this season to keep Robert Lewandowski from scoring but it wasn’t enough to extend their winning run in World Cup qualifiers to six games as Harry Kane’s fine goal was canceled out late on in a 1-1 draw in Poland.

In a first half short on quality both star strikers missed the sort of chances you would usually expect them to convert. Unmarked in the penalty area Kane was unable to even direct Raheem Sterling’s cross from the right on target, offering the sort of loopy knockdown that might have been aimed for a late run from midfield that never came. At the other end Lewandowski muscled his way onto Karol Linetty’s bouncing ball but failed to loft the ball over an onrushing Jordan Pickford.

A robustly fought clash burst into life after the halftime whistle was blown, referee Daniel Siebert booking Kamil Glik and Harry Maguire after a halfway line disturbance. The only surprise was that the Polish center back had made it that far without caution, Glik blending cynicism and old fashioned assertive defending in intriguing fashion.

The game seemed to be petering toward a point that would have suited either side midway through the first half, Lewandowski struggling with his task of building up play to create chances that he could finish himself. One low long-range effort was comfortably held by Pickford. Moments later Kane showed him how it was done, putting just enough dip and swerve on his effort to beat Wojciech Szczesny.

England’s three points weren’t quite in the bag and Pickford nearly threw two of them away with a clearance straight into Karol Swiderski only to scramble back just in time to keep the ball out. The Three Lions have been masters of soaking up pressure late in games over recent years but on this occasion their reluctance to push forward late on cost them. A brilliant turn from Jakub Moder left Kyle Walker trailing, the ball eventually coming to Lewandowski who hung a cross high for Damian Szymanski to head in at the back post. 

The point will ultimately prove to be far more important for Paulo Sousa’s side, who now trail Albania by just a point in Group I. England’s lead stands at four and it is surely a matter of when, not if, they book their place in Qatar.

Liechtenstein make their mark

The landlocked principality of Liechtenstein has a population of just under 40,000. Take the country and move it to California and it would rank somewhere around the 220th most populated town. Unsurprisingly such a tiny nation does not tend to put together the most competitive of football teams. And as such it is worthy of note when they so much as manage to avoid defeat, particularly if it comes against any side who is not one of their fellow European minnows.

Recent qualifiers would suggest that Armenia, who went into today’s game second behind Germany in Group J after wins over Romania and Iceland, do not belong in that category and for most of their meeting with Liechtenstein in Yerevan it seemed like Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s penalty just before the break would be enough to earn them three points. A one-sided match would have been generous on the visitors, who completed only 100 passes and lost the shot battle 21-3.

However the points were halved as Armenia goalkeeper David Yurchenko made the crucial error, spilling a shot that came straight at him at a slow pace from outside the box. Substitute Noah Frick was on hand to tap home the rebound and earn Liechtenstein their first away point in a World Cup qualifier since 2009. 



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