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World Cup Qualifiers Recap

World Cup Qualifiers Recap

Records have been broken, minnows have scored, matches have been abandoned and plenty of teams have taken giant strides towards booking their flights to Qatar next winter. England are one such side – Gareth Southgate's men were frustrated for much of their game at Wembley against Andorra, but eventually secured a comprehensive 4-0 victory. Meanwhile, the standout South American tie of the international break was called off, after Brazilian health officials stormed the pitch over a dispute regarding four Premier League based Argentine players. Aarron Pullen recaps some of the key moments from the World Cup Qualifiers.



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England 4-0 Andorra

The Three Lions took an 18th minute lead through a Jesse Lingard strike, as a healthy Wembley crowd readied themselves for a rout.

But the visitors from the Pyrenees, whose population would fit inside England’s national stadium with room to spare, stood firm for a further 54 minutes.

Debutant Patrick Bamford cut a frustrated figure and was replaced shortly after the hour mark.

In his place came skipper Harry Kane, who made it two from the penalty spot on 72 minutes.

It was the 40th international goal of the Spurs striker’s career, and saw him draw level with fifth-place Michael Owen in the England men’s all-time top scorers chart.

Jesse Lingard got his second and his side’s third after being played the ball by Bukayo Saka, and roles were reversed for the evening’s fourth goal.

Saka became the first Arsenal player to score and assist in the same match for England at Wembley since Ian Wright in September 1997.

Switzerland 0-0 Italy

Euro 2020 champions Italy are now on the longest unbeaten run in the history of men's international football.

Their stalemate in Switzerland made it 36 matches undefeated for the Azzurri, taking them past both Spain (2007-09) and Brazil’s (1993-96) tally of 35.

It was a second draw in succession for Roberto Mancini’s outfit, after struggling to a 1-1 tie against Bulgaria on Thursday.

Jorginho had the chance to secure all three points for Italy, but his 53rd minute penalty was comfortably saved by Yann Sommer low to his left.




Brazil A-A Argentina

The first meeting between the two South American giants since this summer’s Copa America final only saw five minutes of action, after representatives of Brazil’s health authorities and police sensationally entered the field.

It was reportedly to confront the four Argentine Premier League players – Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso – who traveled from the UK in the last 14 days and did not quarantine, subsequently breaking Brazilian rules.

It begs the question as to why the issue had not been sorted pre-match, as Brazilian players ended up hosting an open training session instead.

Belarus 2-3 Wales

It was the Gareth Bale show in Kazan, as the Real Madrid man scored a hat-trick – including a 93rd minute winner – to help Wales record a vital win.

The game, which was played in Russia to get around Covid restrictions, got off to a quick start as Bale tucked home a fifth minute spot-kick.

Belarus, who would have leapfrogged the visitors with a win, went into the break 2-1 up but gave away another penalty midway through the second half.

Bale converted yet again, before securing the matchball with a late, late winning goal for the Dragons. 




Republic of Ireland 1-1 Azerbaijan

Fresh from Wednesday’s Cristiano Ronaldo-inflicted heartbreak on the Algarve, Stephen Kenny’s young side were desperate for a positive result on their return to Dublin.

But after falling behind to Azerbaijan, they needed an 87th minute equaliser from Shane Duffy to secure a point.

The Boys in Green now sit fourth in the Group A table, five points behind Luxembourg and nine behind Serbia and Portugal.

Ukraine 1-1 France

Another underwhelming performance from Les Bleus has left World Cup-winning manager Didier Deschamps with plenty to ponder. 

France needed Anthony Martial's first international goal in five years to cancel out Mykola Shaparenko's superb opener in Kyiv.

Following their Euro 2020 last-16 exit at the hands of Switzerland, France have now drawn five successive matches in a row for the first time ever.




Israel 5-2 Austria

Israel climbed to second place in Group F with a shock win against Austria.

A strong line-up from the central European nation was no match for the Israelis, after goals from Manor Solomon, Mu'nas Dabbur, Shon Weissman and a Eran Zahavi brace.

Israel haven't qualified for a major tournament since the 1970 World Cup.

San Marino 1-7 Poland

UEFA’s lowest side may have been on the receiving end of another pummelling, but the world’s 209th ranked nation did at least get on the scoresheet against Poland.

Nicola Nanni latched on to some poor Polish defending in the 48th minute to finish past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

It was the first time the microstate had scored a goal in a home World Cup qualifier in eight years, with their last strike also coming in a clash with the Eagles.

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