Zlatan Ibrahimovic assist in Sweden win, Spain held by Greece – World Cup Qualifiers round-up

Spain were left frustrated after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Greece in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifying Group B fixture on Thursday.

Alvaro Morata opened the scoring from close range for the hosts after 32 minutes, moments after Dani Olmo had rattled the crossbar from distance.

However, shortly before the hour mark, substitute Inigo Martinez – on for captain Sergio Ramos – was penalised for a rash tackle on Greek midfielder Giorgos Masouras. Anastasios Bakasetas smashed the ball in from the spot to stun Luis Enrique’s side.

Morata spurned his country’s best opportunity for a winner as he headed straight at the goalkeeper as Spain dominated possession but struggled to create any clear chances against the resolute visitors.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic setup Viktor Claesson’s winning goal against Georgia with some skill in the box

Zlatan Ibrahimovic created the only goal for Viktor Claesson as Sweden beat Georgia 1-0 on his return to international football in Group B.

Returning after an absence of almost five years, 39-year-old AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic became the oldest player to represent Sweden, beating the record of 38 years and 59 days previously held by goalkeeper Thomas Ravelli.

The visitors threatened early on the break but the Swedes gradually grew into the game as their attacking quarter of Ibra, Claesson, Alexander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski took over.

Sweden went ahead 10 minutes before the break when Ibra chested down a ball into the box and volleyed it back at a tight angle for Claesson to take a touch and bundle home.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic chases down Georgia's Lasha Dvali
Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a winning return to international duty

With the Swedes often careless in possession, Georgia fashioned a few decent chances and the best of them fell to substitute Levan Shengelia in the 82nd minute, but Kristoffer Nordfeldt made a superb save to keep his clean sheet intact.

Goals from Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan gave Germany a 3-0 home win over Iceland in a lopsided Group J clash.



Highlights of Germany v Iceland from FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group J

Goretzka and Havertz fired the Germans into a 2-0 lead inside the opening seven minutes before Gundogan sealed victory with a sizzling low shot in the 56th minute.

Germany took the lead after a delightful move as Joshua Kimmich found Serge Gnabry in the penalty area with a perfectly weighted pass and the latter touched it back for Goretzka to volley home in the third minute.

Havertz made it 2-0 after another defence-splitting pass from Kimmich released Leroy Sane, who squared the ball back for the Chelsea forward to curl in a low first-time shot from 12 metres.

Ilkay Gundoga celebrates scoring for Germany
Ilkay Gundogan celebrates scoring Germany’s third goal

The home side took their feet off the pedal after Gundogan’s strike but could have added the fourth as Gnabry hit the post with a rasping shot in the 70th minute.

Robert Lewandowski struck a thunderous 83rd-minute equaliser as Poland fought back to earn a 3-3 draw with Hungary in a pulsating Group I encounter.

Hungary grabbed a sixth-minute lead when Roland Sallai latched on to Attila Fiola’s through ball, raced down the right and fired a low shot inside Wojciech Szczesny’s near post.

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Highlights of Hungary v Poland from FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

The home side doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute when Adam Szalai slotted home from inside the box and Marco Rossi’s Hungary looked well in charge against a Poland side who hadn’t managed a single shot on target.

Poland manager Paulo Sousa made a triple substitution in the 59th minute and two of those introduced, Krzysztof Piatek and Kamil Jozwiak, made an instant impact.

Piatek connected with a low cross from Gregorz Krychowiak to beat Peter Gulacsi with a confident finish and moments later, Hungary’s defence crumbled, allowing Jozwiak to burst into the box and slot the ball into the net.

Hungary regrouped, restoring their lead when Szalai crossed from the left and defender Willi Orban turned the ball in at the back post.

England 5-0 San Marino


Highlights of England vs San Marino from FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

But Poland’s danger man, Bayern Munich forward Lewandowski, earned his side a point with a rasping drive when he was found inside the box by Bartosz Bereszynski and hammered the ball past Gulacsi into the top corner.

Fiola was sent off for Hungary in stoppage time after picking up a second yellow card.

Elsewhere, Ollie Watkins scored on his international debut and Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck twice as England cruised past San Marino 5-0 in their opening World Cup Qualifier.



Highlights of Scotland vs Austria from FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

John McGinn’s sensational overhead kick highlighted Scotland’s character to twice come from behind to draw 2-2 with Austria at Hampden Park.

First-half goals from Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile saw Italy beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in their opening Group C World Cup Qualifier in Parma.



Highlights of Italy vs Northern Ireland from FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

Switzerland were 3-1 winners against Bulgaria, scoring all three of their goals 12 minutes after kick-off. Martin Braithwaite also scored early on for Denmark as they beat Israel 2-0 in Group F, with the game played in front of a rare crowd of home fans.

Ianis Hagi’s 86th-minute goal gave Romania a 3-2 win over North Macedonia, just after the North Macedonians had completed a comeback from 2-0 down. Liechtenstein came close to earning their first point in a World Cup Qualifying campaign since 2013, but Noah Frommelt’s 83rd-minute own goal handed a 1-0 win to Armenia.

The Farore Islands secured a late 1-1 draw against Moldova while Albania snatched a 1-0 victory in Andorra.

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