World Cup qualifying round-up: Germany & Spain win, Ireland hold Portugal

Toby Cudworth
Germany had fun against Liechtenstein
Germany had fun against Liechtenstein / Alex Grimm/GettyImages
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Germany enjoyed themselves against Liechtenstein in World Cup qualifying on Thursday night, while there were also wins for Spain, Russia and Croatia - but not Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal after they were held to a 0-0 draw by the Republic of Ireland.

It was the first of six consecutive days of qualifying action around the globe, which will go some way in helping to determine who will take part in the first ever World Cup to be staged in December.

It was first the turn of 12 countries from across Asia and Oceania to try and work towards securing their place in Qatar, and that's exactly what South Korea, Iran and Japan will feel they have done after securing victories against UAE, Lebanon and Vietnam respectively.

The meat of the action was taking place in Europe and there were goals galore to keep the crowds entertained across the continent - particularly at the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg, Germany, as Hansi Flick's side tore Liechtenstein apart in a comprehensive 9-0 win.

Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane (2), Marco Reus and Thomas Muller (2) were among the scorers for Die Mannschaft against a visiting side who were reduced to 10 men with just nine minutes on the clock.

Elsewhere, Luis Enrique's Spain secured a valuable 1-0 win over Greece to leapfrog Sweden to the top of Group B. Pablo Sarabia's penalty was the difference maker and allowed the beaten Euro 2020 semi-finalists to go a point clear of a Sweden side who surprisingly lost 2-0 away at Georgia.

Portugal were unable to find a away through against the Republic of Ireland but did return to the top of Group A ahead of Serbia - albeit on goal difference only. They will now do battle on Tuesday night to see who automatically qualifies for Qatar.

Croatia racked up seven, meanwhile, in Malta, and it was also raining goals in Russia as Cyprus were blown away 6-0 at the Krestovsky Stadium.

In African qualifying, Senegal laboured to a 1-1 draw with Togo but the headline news was an injury picked up by Liverpool's Sadio Mane. He lasted less than half an hour before being taken off, which will undoubtedly irritate Jurgen Klopp should any problem prove to be serious.

DR Congo, Benin and Mali were the other winners in that section of qualifying.


World Cup qualifying results - 11/11/21

Europe

Azerbaijan 1-3 Luxembourg
Republic of Ireland 0-0 Portugal
Armenia 0-5 North Macedonia
Germany 9-0 Liechtenstein
Romania 0-0 Iceland
Georgia 2-0 Sweden
Greece 0-1 Spain
Russia 6-0 Cyprus
Malta 1-7 Croatia
Slovakia 2-2 Slovenia

Africa

Tanzania 0-3 DR Congo
Benin 2-0 Madagascar
Uganda 1-1 Kenya
Rwanda 0-3 Mali
Ethiopia 1-1 Ghana
South Africa 1-0 Zimbabwe
Congo 1-1 Namibia
Togo 1-1 Senegal

Asia

South Korea 1-0 UAE
Lebanon 1-2 Iran
Iraq 1-1 Syria
Australia 0-0 Saudi Arabia
Vietnam 0-1 Japan
China 1-1 Oman

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