Late Kane equaliser saves England blushes in Scotland
Germany cruise to comfortable home win over San Marino
Poland's Robert Lewandowski joint top-scorer in European WCQ after hat-trick versus Romania
THE DAY REPLAYED – The second instalment of the sixth round of European qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ was notable for a dramatic Group F draw between Scotland and England at Hampden Park and a thumping win for Germany over San Marino that consolidated the world champions’ position at the top of Group C.
FIFA.com takes a look back at all of Saturday’s qualifying action.
Group C: Azerbaijan 0-1 Northern Ireland, Norway 1-1 Czech Republic, Germany 7-0 San Marino
Group E: Kazakhstan 1-3 Denmark, Poland 3-1 Romania, Montenegro 4-1 Armenia
Group F: Scotland 2-2 England, Slovenia 2-0 Malta, Lithuania 1-2 Slovakia
Match of the day
Scotland - England
Scotland came into the match desperate for points and anxious not to allow Group F leaders England to continue their good run of qualifying results. Chances were at a premium in a tense first half, but it was in the second period that the fans in Glasgow got a taste of the excitement for which this fixture is renowned. In the 70th minute, England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain silenced the home faithful, dancing past two defenders and whipping the ball into the net for the opening goal.
Scotland subsequently dug deep into their reserves of grit and steel, and in the 87th minute, they conjured up an equaliser via a marvellous free-kick from Leigh Griffiths, who had been a thorn in England’s side throughout. Three minutes later, they turned the match on its head when the lively Celtic forward again slotted a fine free-kick past the despairing dive of England goalkeeper Joe Hart. However, just when it seemed like the Scots had the three points in the bag, Harry Kane’s cushioned volley snatched a share of the spoils for the Three Lions deep into stoppage time.
Germany were in ruthless form against San Marino, making it six wins out of six during this campaign. Sandro Wagner was the star of the night in Nuremberg, registering a hat-trick to help Die Mannschaft improve their goal difference to +26. Second-placed Northern Ireland, meanwhile, secured an important last-gasp win in Azerbaijan.
Propelled by an impressive performance by Robert Lewandowski, Poland defeated Romania to hit the 16-point mark and maintain a six-point lead at the top of the section. Montenegro’s resounding victory at home to Armenia boosted their goal difference to such an extent that they were able to leapfrog Denmark – who also enjoyed success in Kazakhstan – into second spot.
With England dropping two points in Scotland, Slovakia and Slovenia both took advantage to close the gap at the top. The Slovenians disposed of Malta at home, while Slovakia claimed a hard-fought victory in Lithuania.
Player of the day
With a sensational hat-trick in Warsaw, Robert Lewandowski took his goal tally in Russia 2018 qualifiers to 11 goals, making him this campaign’s joint top scorer in Europe, alongside Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. The Bayern Munich striker’s scoring prowess, allied with a remarkable defensive solidity, has been key to Poland remaining unbeaten in Group E.
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