World Cup qualifying: Denmark stays perfect; France’s Griezmann glows

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We’re really going now, aren’t we, World Cup qualifying?

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Europe and Africa have played just enough for us to really read into the states of the competitions — it’s a great time to be Denmark — while Asia is giving us reason to contemplate if there’s anything in two weeks of results.


AFC World Cup qualifying

Three teams sit a perfect 2-0 through two matches as the field stabilized a bit after opening day surprises.

Iran clobbered Iraq in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, as ex-Brighton and Hove Albion forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored the first goal in a 3-0 win for 2-0 Iran.

Rhyan Grant improved Australia to the same record with the lone goal in Hanoi as the Socceroos beat Vietnam.

And Saleh Khaled Al-Shehri sent Oman down a peg with a 1-0 win in Muscat.

Japan returned to the win column after a surprise loss to Oman, beating China 1-0 on a Yuya Osako goal in Doha.

Asian World Cup qualifying’s Tuesday results

South Korea 1-0 Lebanon
Vietnam 0-1 Australia
China 0-1 Japan
Oman 0-1 Saudi Arabia
Syria 1-1 UAE
Iraq 0-3 Iran

World Cup qualifying
Australia’s defender Rhyan Grant scored to keep the Socceroos perfect (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP) (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

CAF World Cup qualifying

Ex-Sunderland man Wahbi Khazri scored in a 2-0 win over Zambia in Ndola that kept Tunisia perfect, Les Aigles de Carthage now alone atop Group B after beating Equatorial Guinea on Thursday.

Nigeria’s also 2-0 after coming back from an early deficit to Cape Verde in Mindelo, Victor Osimhen scoring before an own goal but the Super Eagles ahead.

Ajax’s Sebastien Haller scored twice in nine first-half minutes to help the Ivory Coast summit Group D with a 2-1 win over Cameroon in a big swing game for the group.

Libya climbed ahead of Egypt ahead from a visit there last month when it beat Angola 1-0 to move to 2-0. Egypt has a win and a draw, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s has just one point through two matches.

Senegal’s 2-0 after getting goals from Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Watford’s Ismaila Sarr, and Villarreal’s Boulaye Dia in a 3-1 win over the Republic of Congo in Brazzaville.

South Africa beat Ghana in Johannesburg to take four points from this window, one more than their visitors and third-place Ethiopia.

Burkina Faso and Algeria stayed atop Group A with a 1-1 draw in Marrakesh, Morocco.

African World Cup qualifying’s Tuesday results

Zambia 0-2 Tunisia
Malawi 1-0 Mozambique
Tanzania 3-2 Madagascar
Equatorial Guinea 1-0 Mauritania
Cape Verde 1-2 Nigeria
Republic of Congo 1-3 Senegal
Ethiopia 1-0 Zimbabwe
Burkina Faso 1-1 Algeria
Angola 0-1 Libya
Sudan 2-4 Guinea-Bissau


UEFA World Cup qualifying

Denmark is going to have to fall all over itself to miss the World Cup after pummeling Israel 5-0 to improve its record to 6-0 and goal differential to 22-0 with five matches to play in Group F.

The Danes got goals from five different players and lead second-place Scotland by seven points and third-place Israel by eight before traveling to Moldova and hosting Austria in October. Faroe Islands at home and Scotland away follow in November.

There’s no such qualifying clarity in Group G, none at all, though Netherlands’ home 6-1 defeat of Turkey did set the visitors two points behind it. And two points behind Norway, who rocked Gibraltar 5-1.

Portugal didn’t need Cristiano Ronaldo to move atop Group A, but it got help from Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Serbia. Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva, and Diogo Jota all scored in a 3-0 win over Azerbaijan in Baku.

France is still unbeaten despite Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Finland being just their first at home in qualifying as Antoine Griezmann struck twice for the reigning World Cup champions.

And Russia’s 0-0 draw at home to Croatia continues to loom over Group H as the two favorites sit on 13 points each and won’t meet again until the final matchday of the group. Slovakia sits third, four points back.

European World Cup qualifying’s Tuesday results

Azerbaijan 0-3 Portugal
Russia 2-0 Malta
Norway 5-1 Gibraltar
France 2-0 Finland
Faroe Islands 2-1 Moldova
Montenegro 0-0 Latvia
Slovakia 2-0 Cyprus
Denmark 5-0 Israel
Croatia 3-0 Slovenia
Netherlands 6-1 Turkey
Austria 0-1 Scotland
Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-2 Kazakhstan
Ireland 1-1 Serbia