A roundup of all of Friday’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Europe…
Czech Republic 1-2 Germany
Germany gave the Czech Republic every chance they could have done to steal a point (all three, even), but the World Cup holders eked out a victory in Prague. Timo Werner put Germany ahead after just four minutes, but the following 74 minutes consisted of the Czechs asking questions Joachim Loew’s side couldn’t really answer. In the 78th minute, Vladimir Darida unleashed a laser from 25 yards out, hitting the underside of the crossbar and drawing the home side level.
1-1 seemed destined to wind up the (fair) final score, but Mats Hummels had other ideas two minutes from full-time, when he headed home his fifth international goal. The result sends Germany onto 21 (out of a possible 21) points, still five points clear of second-place Northern Ireland, and now just a single point from guarantee a top-two finish (qualification playoffs).
Malta 0-4 England
21 hours prior to kickoff of England’s away clash with Malta, the clock struck midnight on August and gave way to September. Harry Kane, the England and Tottenham Hotspur striker infamously without a single goal in the month of August during his first-team career (this is his fourth season), was more aware of this fact than anyone.
How did Kane celebrate the arrival of September? With a goal, of course — and, not just any goal, but the winning goal in the 53rd minute, set up by his Tottenham teammate Dele Alli. Kane would score again, in the 91st minute, to make the final score 4-0 and notch his 10th England goal in 20 appearances.
Ryan Bertrand bagged his first international goal five minutes from full-time — a well-struck ball from 25 yards out — and Danny Welbeck took his tally to 15 seconds before Kane’s second goal.
England (17 points) remain atop Group F, their two point-lead on Slovakia still intact. Six points separate the Three Lions from third place, a playoff spot (at minimum) so nearly clinched already.
Denmark 4-0 Poland
The shocking result of the day came in Group E, where third-place Denmark put four unanswered goals past first-place Poland. Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen was, predictably, the star man for Denmark, playing a pivotal role in all four goals — scoring one himself and assisting on the other three.
Denmark (13 points) move to within three points of the top spot in the group and remain level with Montenegro for second place, though still behind on goal differential (+10 to +8).
Norway 2-0 Azerbaijan
San Marino 0-3 Northern Ireland
Romania 1-0 Armenia
Kazakhstan 0-3 Montenegro
Lithuania 0-3 Scotland
Slovakia 1-0 Slovenia