Germany qualified for the 2022 World Cup by crushing North Macedonia 4-0 away on Monday to secure top spot in qualifying Group J with two games to go.
A brace from Timo Werner in the second half and one goal each from Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala secured Germany’s fifth victory in their fifth game under new coach Hansi Flick and took them to 21 points, Romania in second place (13 points).
All group winners of the European qualifiers automatically get a place in the tournament in Qatar.
The Germans, who were knocked out in the 2018 World Cup first round and last 16 in this year’s Euros, had an early chance with a Thomas Mueller header.
But, as in their 2-1 home win over Romania on Friday, the Germans lacked precision in their last pass and finish, creating only a few chances in the first half until Timo Werner hits the post with a weak drive in stoppage time.
Germany, beaten 2-1 by North Macedonia in Duisburg in March, broke the deadlock in the 50th minute when Serge Gnabry split the defense with a superb through pass for Mueller and he let him go. so Havertz can type.
Forward Werner then scored twice in three minutes, first pierced with another Mueller assist in the 70th, then wrapping a home shot from 15 yards three minutes later.
Substitute Musiala completed the victory seven minutes before the end with his first international goal.
As Germany became the first country to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, their 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.
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 the G.
Croatia and Russia are guaranteed at least one place in the play-offs after their respective results in Group H.
Group E: Belgium almost assured of qualification
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.
Group G: Deepay puts the Netherlands in the lead; Turkey remains on the hunt
Depay put his disappointing club season at Barcelona behind him with a productive night for the Netherlands against one of the minnows in world football. His first goal against Gibraltar was his 13th of the year for Oranje, breaking the Dutch record of 12 in a calendar year by Patrick Kluivert.
The Netherlands took a two point lead over Norway, who beat Montenegro 2-0 without star striker Erling Haaland injured.
The late winner from Yılmaz 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.
Group H: Slovakia hold Croatia, Russia take the lead
Croatian midfielder Luka Modric scored from a free kick to save a 2-2 draw against Slovakia, and Russia took advantage of 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.
Group J: Germany qualifies, Romania moves to second place
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 Löw after the European Championship this summer.
Ionuţ Mitriță’s goal in the 26th minute was enough for Romania to beat Armenia 1-0 in Bucharest.
Iceland beat Liechtenstein 4-0 in the other group game.
Romania came 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.