UEFA World Cup qualifying: England listless in Slovenia; Montenegro flying

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There were far fewer goals in Tuesday’s batch of UEFA World Cup qualifiers, as traditional names struggled in Europe.

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England will be left scratching their heads after a poor performance but fine point, while surprising Montenegro now leads its group after three match days.

Denmark 0-1 Montenegro

Dynamo Moscow striker Fatos Beqiraj scored his seventh international goal, and Montenegro won despite Denmark’s healthy advantage in shot attempts. Romania’s draw means Montenegro sits atop Group E.

Slovenia 0-0 England

Turns out the problem wasn’t Wayne Rooney alone.

England played another tricky qualifier, and would’ve been down 1-0 if not for a phenomenal second half save from Joe Hart.

Hart was injured on the play, but stayed in the game to bail out Three Lions on several occasions.

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England was sloppy, and Danny Rose and Daniel Sturridge misfired late on rare occasions that saw the side provide genuine threats to the Slovenian goal.

And it was Rooney’s 78th minute shot off the bench, wearing No. 18, that seemed to put England in control. And Manchester United teammate Jesse Lingard forced a terrific save out of Atletico Madrid backstop Jan Oblak.

Poland 2-1 Armenia

Despite a 30th minute red card to Marseille back Gael Andonian of the visitors, Poland only found the net via an own goal in 90 minutes. Both of those goals came just after halftime in a match that saw the hosts attempt nearly 20 more shots. One of those came from Robert Lewandowski in the fifth minute of stoppage, and Poland scraped by with a win.

Slovakia 3-0 Scotland

Zenit Saint Petersburg winger Robert Mak scored twice for the hosts, then crossed for Adam Nemec to head home in the 68th minute.

Germany 2-0 Northern Ireland

Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira scored goals in a four-minute span to give the Germans a two-goal lead well before halftime.

Norway 4-1 San Marino

If you Google the name Stefanelli, you’ll find pages of results before you get to Mattia Stefanelli. There’s a candy shop, a meteorologist, a chef, a politician, and even a Maryland running back.

But this Stefanelli provided an equalizer on San Marino’s only shot on target of the first hour of play in Norway on Tuesday, and surely his countryman care more deeply about this than how many yards the Terps get on the ground this weekend.

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Unfortunately for the minnows, Hull City striker Adama Diomande snapped Norway back into the flow and West Ham teenage starlet Martin Samuelsen gave the hosts insurance five minutes later. Another Premier Leaguer, Bournemouth’s Joshua King, scored late to further ice the match.

Lithuania 1-0 Malta

Fiodor Černych scored in the 75th minute to help the hosts to all three points, and Arvydas Novikovas added the insurance goal.

Kazakhstan 0-0 Romania

Three total shots on target in this barnburner.

Czech Republic 0-0 Azerbaijan

Robert Prosinečki’s charges continue fine qualifying run with huge road point.