World Cup qualifying roundup: Scotland & Netherlands win, Ireland & France draw

Max Cooper
Memphis Depay bagged a brace as the Dutch beat Montenegro
Memphis Depay bagged a brace as the Dutch beat Montenegro / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

The international break is in full swing, and countries all over the world are taking one step towards World Cup qualification, or stumbling further behind in the race to reach Qatar in 2022.

Saturday night saw a full block of matches on the path to the tournament next winter, with big wins for the likes of Serbia, the Dutch and Israel.

But we start with the Republic of Ireland, who could only snatch a humbling 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan at the Aviva Stadium. The Boys in Green fell behind on the stroke of half-time, when Emin Makhmudov crashed a stunning strike into the top corner from 25 yards.

The hosts appeared destined to be heading towards a humiliating loss on home turf, but Shane Duffy rescued a point on 87 minutes, heading home to save face for Stephen Kenny and his players on a difficult night in Dublin.

In the other Group A clash, Serbia ran out 4-1 winners over Luxembourg, leaping back to the top of the table. A brace from Aleksandar Mitrovic gave Serbia a commanding lead, but Olivier Thill brought the visitors within one. Maxime Chanot's own goal and a Nikola Milenkovic header killed the contest however, confirming all three points for the hosts.

Scotland kept their qualification hopes well and truly alive on Saturday evening, beating Moldova 1-0 at Hampden Park. Lyndon Dykes grabbed the all-important goal on 14 minutes, and the hosts held out to lift themselves to third in Group F.

They leapfrogged Austria, who slipped to a 5-2 loss to Israel. Efforts from Manor Solomon, Munas Dabbur and Eran Zahavi sent Israel roaring into a three-goal lead, but Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic set the hosts' nerves jangling.

Shon Weissman and Zahavi secured the win however, consolidating their place in the top two of the group. Israel remain five points behind leaders Denmark, who had to rely on an 85th minute header from Jonas Wind to edge to a 1-0 victory over Faroe Islands.

Elsewhere, France struggled to their second successive draw in a 1-1 tie with Ukraine, having to come from behind after Mykola Shaparenko opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time. Anthony Martial pulled the French level with a scrappy goal five minutes after the break, but they failed to get the job done on another underwhelming evening for the world champions.

Finland were the early winners in Group D, although it was far from routine against a stubborn Kazakhstan outfit. Joel Pohjanpalo was the hero for the hosts, heading home the only goal of the game in a narrow 1-0 win to hand Finland their first victory of the qualifying stage.

Another goal for Haaland / GINTS IVUSKANS/Getty Images

Norway had Erling Haaland to thank once again in their 2-0 victory over Latvia, after the Borussia Dortmund star tucked away a penalty on 20 minutes. Mohamed Elyounoussi put the result beyond doubt midway through the second half, sending Norway top of Group G.

Turkey also claimed a victory in Group G, beating Gibraltar 3-0 thanks to goals from Halil Dervisoglu, Hakan Calhanoglu and Kenan Karaman. That cemented their place at the top of the group, although Netherlands sit only a point behind them, after they cruised to a 4-0 win against Montenegro.

Memphis Depay bagged a brace, while Georginio Wijnaldum and Cody Gakpo put the finishing touches on the scoreline.

Group H saw Russia reach the summit, earning a comfortable 2-0 win against Cyprus. Aleksandr Yerokhin broke the deadlock on six minutes, and Rifat Zhemaletdinov doubled the lead 10 minutes after the break for the visitors.

Slovenia climbed to third in Group H on Saturday night, but they didn't make it easy for themselves in a 1-0 victory against Malta. Sandi Lovric dispatched a penalty on the stroke of half-time for the hosts, but they failed to build on that lead, with Andraz Sporar missing a spot-kick of his own late on.

Croatia snatched a vital 1-0 win to keep their hopes of topping Group H alive, beating Slovakia thanks to Marcelo Brozovic's late strike from outside of the penalty area. The 2018 World Cup finalists sit joint-top of the group, sharing the podium with Russia.


Republic of Ireland 1-1 Azerbaijan
Serbia 4-1 Luxembourg
Finland 1-0 Kazakhstan
Ukraine 1-1 France
Faroe Islands 0-1 Denmark
Israel 5-2 Austria
Scotland 1-0 Moldova
Latvia 0-2 Norway
Gibraltar 0-3 Turkey
Netherlands 4-0 Montenegro
Cyprus 0-2 Russia
Slovenia 1-0 Malta
Slovakia 0-1 Croatia