Germany qualifies for Qatar 2022 World Cup; Russia and Croatia win playoffs | Football news
As Germany became the first country to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, its former Under-21 coach was crying with joy after their first victory at the helm of Turkey. Stefan Kuntz failed to control his emotions after Burak Yilmaz’s ninth-minute penalty kick helped Turkey win 2-1 in Latvia to maintain their qualifying hopes.
Germany booked their place on Monday with a 4-0 error-strewn victory over North Macedonia. The goals were all scored in the second half as the home side felt tired, and the victory more than made up for Germany’s surprise 2-1 loss to North Macedonia in Duisburg in March. It was the only incident of an otherwise perfect qualifying campaign with seven wins in eight games in Group J Europe.
In Rotterdam, Memphis Depay scored twice, had two assists and missed a penalty as the Netherlands outscored Gibraltar 6-0 to stay on track for qualification, two points ahead of Norway and four points ahead of the Turkey in Group G. Croatia and Russia are guaranteed at least one place in the play-offs after their respective results in Group H.
Belgium, which competed in the Nations League this weekend, would have qualified if Wales had not beaten Estonia. But Kieffer Moore’s first goal for Wales was enough for a 1-0 victory in Tallinn. Wales remained tied on points with the Czech Republic, who beat Belarus 2-0 away. The Czechs played a bigger game, however. Belgium is almost guaranteed to qualify with a five-point lead. The Belgians next face Estonia on November 13, when Wales host Belarus.
Depay put his disappointing club season at Barcelona behind him with a productive night for the Netherlands against one of the world’s soccer minnows. His first goal against Gibraltar was his 13th of the year for the Oranje, breaking the Dutch record of 12 in a calendar year by Patrick Kluivert.
The Netherlands moved to two points ahead of Norway, who beat Montenegro 2-0 without star striker Erling Haaland injured. The late winner from Yilmaz in Riga kept Turkey in the race. Turkey will then host Gibraltar on November 13, when Norway hosts Latvia and the Netherlands visits Montenegro. The Netherlands face Norway and Turkey travel to Montenegro in the final round of matches.
Croatian midfielder Luka Modric scored from a free kick to save a 2-2 draw against Slovakia, and Russia capitalized with a 2-1 victory over former Slovenian rivals to climb to the top of the group. The drop in points means that 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia will likely need a win over Russia next month to automatically qualify for the World Cup.
Slovakia needed a win to keep their qualifying hopes and can no longer qualify. Moreover, Malta scored in the 98th minute to score a point in a 2-2 draw against Cyprus.
Germany have booked their place at next year’s tournament in Qatar despite a tough game against a rival that pushed them the hardest in qualifying. Kai Havertz broke the deadlock in the 50th minute before a brace from Chelsea teammate Timo Werner sealed the result. Jamal Musiala scored Hansi Flick’s fourth goal in the 83rd, set up by his compatriot substitute Karim Adeyemi.
Germany extended their group lead to eight unassailable points with two laps remaining. Flick has overseen five wins since taking over from Joachim Loew after the European Championship this summer.
Ionut Mitria’s 26th-minute goal was enough for Romania to beat Armenia 1-0 in Bucharest. Iceland beat Liechtenstein 4-0 in the other group game. Romania moved up to second in the group with 13 points, one ahead of North Macedonia and Armenia with 12. Iceland have eight points and Liechtenstein one after a draw with Armenia in September.