World Cup Qualifiers: Germany seal place in Qatar 2022 as Netherlands thrash Gibraltar and Croatia draw to Slovakia

(Football news) Hansi Flick’s Germany continued their dominant form at the World Cup qualifiers with an emphatic 4-0 victory over North Macedonia, thereby securing the top spot in Group J with two games to spare. Germany have won all five games and are currently at 21 points while 2nd place Romania are at 13 points. As per the rules, all group winners at the European qualifications automatically secure a place in the World Cup.

The four time World Cup winners were beaten by North Macedonia 2-1 in March but this time around a majestic second half display saw goals from Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala to secure victory. Chelsea’s Havertz opened the scoring in the 50th minute when Serge Gnabry’s through ball split the Macedonia defense and found itself on the feet of Thomas Muller who set it up for a Havertz tap-in. Muller assisted Timo Werner in his first of two goals in the 70th minute and scored another three minutes later with a fantastic curling effort from 15 meters. Substitute Musiala scored his first international goal seven minutes from time to make the score 4-0.

Netherlands are on course for an automatic World Cup qualification after thrashing Gibraltar 6-0 to reach 19 points in Group G while second place Norway are on 17. Memphis Depay was in red hot form and it was his corner that found Virgil Van Dijk to open the scoring for Oranje after nine minutes. Depay then scored a brace with goals in the 21st minute and in added time after the first half from the penalty spot to take his tally to nine goals, more than any other player from a European team. In the second half, goals from Denzil Dumfries, Arnaut Danjuma and Donyell Malen all but secured qualification in Qatar with two matches to go. The Netherlands will face Montenegro next month and host Norway in the final game.

Croatia’s hopes of automatic qualification at Qatar 2022 were dealt a blow when last World Cup’s runners-up drew 2-2 against Slovakia. Ivan Schranz’s header in the 20th minute gave Slovakia the lead but Croatia equalized five minutes later through Andrej Kramaric. However, Slovakia once again regained the lead at the stroke of half-time through Lukas Haraslin but Luka Modric cancelled it out with a 71st minute freekick. With this result, Croatia are now two points behind Russia in Group H after they defeated Slovenia 2-1. Both the top two teams are assured a play-off berth as third place Slovakia are on 10 points and don’t stand a chance of catching up with the two.

Also read: France comeback from a goal down to defeat Spain in the UEFA Nations League final


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