EURO 2016 qualifying roundup: Germany back on track; Portugal beat Serbia, go top

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Just like that, we are halfway home through qualifying for the 2016 European Championship. With the exception of one more game to be played on Tuesday (Belgium vs. Israel), everybody has played everyone in the group once.

[ RECAP: Sat.’s EURO 2016 action | Friday ]

While Saturday’s games provided a couple big surprises, Sunday’s results were much more straightforward, as the traditional “powers” of Europe inched closer to next summer’s tournament in France.

Georgia 0-2 Germany

Following a somewhat slow start to their EURO 2016 qualifying campaign (four points from three games), the reigning world champions continued their surge up the Group D standings and currently find themselves level on points (10) with Scotland, one point back of leaders Poland.

The hosts held tough for nearly the entire first half, but Thomas Muller and Marco Reus netted goals five minutes apart just before halftime to give Joachim Low’s side all three points.

Portugal 2-1 Serbia

Ricardo Carvalho (10th minute) and Fabio Coentrao (63rd) provided the goals for Portugal to cancel out Nemanja Matic’s 61st-minute equalizer and send the Portuguese (9 points) two points clear of the rest of Group I.

Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar

For the most part, the scoreline was as expected prior to kickoff, with one small exception: for the first time in their official (since 1993) footballing history, Gibraltar have scored a competitive goal. It was, of course, nowhere near enough to secure their first point of EURO 2016 qualifying, as the Gibraltar’s goal difference slipped to minus-26 after five games played.

Chicago Fire midfielder Shaun Maloney tallied twice for Scotland from the penalty spot, while Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher nabbed a hat trick and Everton’s Steven Naismith chipped in with a goal of his own.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying

Group D

Ireland 1-1 Poland

Group F

Northern Ireland 2-1 Finland
Romania 1-0 Faroe Islands
Hungary 0-0 Greece

Group I

Albania 2-1 Armenia