Ireland, Croatia, Turkey triumph in early UEFA WCQs

AP Photo/Ronald Zak
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If you though the U.S. was having a bad day, last year’s EURO qualifying darlings Austria are having a bad year.

Austria is now six points off first place in Group D, and could be just as far from a playoff spot should Serbia beat Wales.

[ USMNT: The morning after Mexico ]

Here’s what’s gone down in the first four Saturday matches of UEFA World Cup qualifying.

Austria 0-1 Republic Ireland

The hosts took double the shots of the visitors, but James McClean was the only one to find the back of the net as Ireland rose to the top of Group D (pending Wales-Serbia’s 2:45 p.m. ET kickoff).

Georgia 1-1 Moldova

Legia Warsaw man Valeri Qazaishvili put the hosts up within the first 20 minutes, but Georgia would not hold on thanks to veteran Alexandru Gatcan (Rostov). A tie is what neither team wanted, as both remain well off the Group D pace.

Croatia 2-0 Iceland

Inter Milan man Marcelo Brozovic scored twice to move Croatia three points clear of Iceland, but the victory came with a cost. Ivan Perisic took a late and unnecessary red card, and will miss Croatia’s next match.

Turkey 2-0 Kosovo

Burak Yilmaz and Volkan Sen scored four minutes apart early in the second half, and Turkey is showing signs of life in Group I after going winless through its first three qualifiers. Kosovo remains on a lone point.