Germany, England tighten grip on World Cup berths

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Berlin/London, Sep 5 (IANS) Germany and England won their respective 2018 World Cup qualifiers to move closer to securing passage to next year’s football tournament in Russia.

Defending champions Germany on Monday inflicted a 6-0 defeat on Norway in Stuttgart, the eighth win in eight matches for the Mannschaft, who have conceded only two goals along the way, reports Efe.

Timo Werner had a first-half brace, while Mesut Özil, Julian Drexler, Mario Gomez and Leon Goretzka also scored.

The Germans showed no mercy with hapless Norway and establish a four-goal lead within 40 minutes to smooth the way for the win.

“We staged a powerful performance today. Even after the four goal lead we continued to press forward,” Germany head coach Joachim Loew said.

With 24 points, the Germans lead Group C by five points over Northern Ireland, whose 2-0 victory Monday over the Czech Republic assured themselves of advancing and effectively eliminated the Central European side from contention.

Azerbaijan punished San Marino 5-1 to boost their point total to 10.

In Group F, leaders England bested second-place Slovakia 2-1 on goals by Eric Dier and Marcus Rashford in London.

The triumph moves the English to 20 points, five ahead of the Slovaks, who are looking over their shoulders at Slovenia and Scotland, both with 14 points after decisive wins Tuesday over Lithuania and Malta, respectively.

The race for the two qualifying berths from Group E remained tight, with the top three teams separated by only three points.

Poland dominated Kazakhstan to climb to 19 points.

Denmark, 4-1 victors over Armenia, and Montenegro, who blanked Romania 1-0, are knotted at 16 points and have identical goal differentials.

Thomas Delaney had a hat-trick for the Danes.

–IANS

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