Direct duels for first place and thus qualifying directly for the final in Qatar remain in the other two groups. Portugal and Free Serbia scored 17 points on Thursday after a goalless draw in Pool A and Ireland. The top two finishers will face off on Sunday at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. In Group H, Russia celebrated a 6-0 victory over Cyprus, two points ahead of the vice-world champions, who followed up with a 7-1 gala in Malta the evening before their last guest appearance in Croatia.
In Group Jail, North Macedonia again thanked Armenia for two penalties 5-0, knocking out Romania, who could not beat Iceland 0-0 at home, which qualifies them for the play-offs. On the final day of the competition, the North Macedonians will receive Iceland and Romania will visit Liechtenstein. Germany had already been selected as the group winners after a 9-0 shootout against Liechtenstein at the official departure of former national coach Joachim Low in Wolfsburg.
Spain close to last round ticket
Ibrahimovic, who returned to the Scandinavian team for the first time since the end of March when Sweden lost 2-0 to Georgia, remained unlucky and goalless in his seventh degree. Instead, 20-year-old Georgian Kvicha Quartz from Rubin Kazan shone with a double (61, 77), with his team scoring only four and five in the eleventh international.
Sweden’s slip has benefited the Spaniards, who have made great strides towards the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Thanks to a Pablo Serbia (25th) penalty, Iberian Greece won 1-0 (1-0) and knocked Ibrahimovic and his teammates out of first place. On the other hand, for the Greeks it ended after qualifying. The ÖFB team can expect the same, thanks to the Spaniards securing the top two spots from France on Saturday with a win over Kazakhstan via the Nations League in the playoffs.
In Ireland, Ronaldo and co were disappointed
Portugal also took the lead in the standings, but the team around Group A superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could not get beyond 0-0 against Ireland. Also, central defender Pepe was shown a yellow-red card (81). Azerbaijan also had to end their home match against the minority Luxembourg. Home side and Luxembourg, who split 1: 3 (0: 0), no longer have a chance at a World Cup ticket.
Meanwhile, Germany gave Low an appropriate farewell and gave his successor Hansie Flick a starting record. The 9-0 win over Liechtenstein in Wolfsburg was the 56-year-old ‘s sixth victory in his sixth international as DFB head coach. None of his ten predecessors have handled it with the German national team. Flick set the record at the end of a World Cup qualifier in Armenia on Sunday.
Ilke Gundogan (11) and Liechtenstein’s Daniel Kaufman (20), Leroy Sane (22) and Marco Reus (23) secured a 4-0 break lead on penalties. In the second half, Sane (49) secured a clear victory with his second goal, with Thomas Mർller (76/86) scoring a double, Riddle Buck (80) and Liechtenstein’s Maximilian Gopal (89) scoring another own goal. Liechtenstein’s Jens Hofer saw red in the ninth minute after a serious but unintentional foul on Leon Goretzkan.
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