Roundup of the latest action as September’s international window drew to a close with the sixth round of UEFA Qualifying for 2022 FIFA World Cup.
With just four further qualifiers remaining across October and November, this particular round was set to prove crucial for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification dreams of many teams.
England entered this round looking to cement their status as Group I leaders away to Poland, whilst Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales looked to make strides in their own bids to qualify for Qatar in November 2022.
Republic of Ireland were also in action as they looked to answer critics as they took on Serbia in Group A, despite their qualification hopes being all but over.
Now here is a full round-up across all ten UEFA qualifying groups featuring Spain, Italy and Germany amongst other countries.
A late own goal from Serbia’s Nikola Milenkovic saw Republic of Ireland snatch a vital point in Dublin, after the Serbians had gone ahead through Sergej Milinkovic-Savic before settling for an eventual 1-1 result.
Portugal consequently took advantage of Serbia’s slip-up to move top of Group A after thrashing Azerbaijan 3-0 in Baku, as Liverpool’s Diogo Jota provided an assist and goal in a dominant performance.
Luxembourg meanwhile were in friendly action as they found themselves held by Qatar to a 1-1 draw as Qatar’s Homam Ahmed cancelled out Yvandro Borges Sanches’ opener.
Having sat out Sunday’s round of qualifiers, Sweden suffered a shock 2-1 away loss to Greece in Athens, as goals from Anastasios Bakasetas and Vangelis Pavlidis gave the Greeks a surprise home win despite Robin Quaison’s late consolatory goal for the Swedes.
Strikes from Pablo Fornals and Ferran Torres consequently proved enough for Spain to edge past Kosovo in Pristina and open up a four points gap at the top of Group B to second-placed Sweden.
Moise Kean’s first-half brace on top of goals from Giacomo Raspadori and Giovanni Di Lorenzo plus an own goal from Edgaras Utkus delivered Italy a five goal home win over Lithuania.
Roberto Mancini’s Gli Azzurri now sit six points clear at the top of Group C after Switzerland were held to a goalless draw by Northern Ireland in Belfast.
Antoine Griezmann’s brace saw France cruise to a routine home win over Finland in Lyon, with the Atletico Madrid striker netting either side of half-time to keep Les Bleus top of Group D.
Bakhtiyar Zaynutdinov’s 95th minute goal saw bottom-placed Kazakhstan snatch a 2-2 away draw in Zenica, as goals from Miralem Pjanic and Luka Menalo seemed to complete a comeback win for Bosnia & Herzegovina after Islambek Kuat had put the visitors ahead.
Ukraine meanwhile were in friendly action as they were held to a 1-1 away draw against Group E’s Czech Republic, after Viktor Korniyenko’s opener was cancelled out by a late equaliser from Matej Vydra.
Dennis Praet’s 33rd minute effort proved enough for Group E leaders – Belgium to defeat Belarus in Kazan, Russia.
Wales missed out on a huge chance to go above Czech Republic into second after finding themselves held to a goalless draw by Estonia in Cardiff.
Daniel Wass provided two assists as Denmark ran riot in a 5-0 home mauling of Israel in Copenhagen to extend their lead at the top of Group F to seven points.
Scotland consequently moved above Israel into second after Lyndon Dykes’ 30th minute penalty saw them beat Austria 1-0 in Vienna, following Martin Hinteregger’s foul on Che Adams.
Goals from Klaemint Olsen and Heini Vatnsdal saw Faroe Islands claim a surprise home win over Romania, despite Nicolae Milinceanu’s consolatory 84th minute goal for the visitors.
Memphis Depay produced a hat-trick in Amsterdam as Netherlands thrashed Turkey 6-1 to go top of Group G.
Erling Haaland meanwhile delivered a hat-trick in Oslo as Norway thrashed Gibraltar 5-1 to move into second on goal difference, which demoted Turkey to third in the group with the top three now split by just two points with four qualifying matches left.
Fourth-placed Montenegro meanwhile were held to a goalless draw at home by Latvia.
New West Ham signing, Nikola Vlasic netted a 94th minute strike which sent Croatia top on goal difference from Russia, after thrashing Slovenia 3-0 with Marko Livaja and Mario Pasalic also finding themselves on the scoresheet.
Russia sit second after goals from Fyodor Smolov and Zelimkhan Bakayev helped the Russians to a 2-0 home win over Malta in Moscow.
Slovakia regained third after second-half goals from Ivan Schranz and Martin Koscelnik helped them to a 2-0 home win against Cyprus in Bratislava.
England stay top of Group I following a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Poland as Damian Szymanski thumped in a 92nd minute header to deny Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions all three points in Warsaw, after having fallen behind to a 30-yard strike from Harry Kane 20 minutes earlier.
Albania took full advantage of Poland’s draw as they leap up to second with a ruthless 5-0 home win over San Marino, with Southampton loanee – Armando Broja amongst the goalscorers.
First-half goals from Adam Szalai and Endre Botka proved enough to hand fourth-placed Hungary a 2-1 home win over Moldova in Budapest.
Germany opened up a four point gap at the top of Group J after running riot in a four goal away mauling of Iceland, with Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner both finding themselves on the scoresheet albeit with Werner’s assist coming from another Chelsea player – Kai Havertz.
Armenia continue to sit second after Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first-half injury time penalty was cancelled out by Noah Frick, who forced an 80th minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Liechtenstein.
Romania still sit third after finding themselves held to a goalless draw away to North Macedonia.