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World Cup Qualifiers Round Up

World Cup qualifying: Italy squeeze past Macedonia, Wales stumble against Georgia

Despite a goal from Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, Wales were held to a 1-1 home draw with a spirited Georgia side. Meanwhile, Italy needed an injury time winner to squeeze past Macedonia and Serbia edged out Austria.

Wales 1 - 1 Georgia

(Bale, 10' -  Okriashvili 57')

After their stunning run to the semifinals of Euro 2016 Wales were brought back down to earth with a bump on Sunday after a 57th minute Tornike Okriashvili strike earnt Georgia a point in Cardiff.

Wales took an early lead when Gareth Bale headed in a Joe Ledley corner in the tenth minute but Georgia grew in confidence as the game went on, having the lion's share of the chances and hitting the woodwork.

The hosts' boss Chris Coleman said complacency may have played a part: "We got too comfortable. The whole atmosphere was too comfortable," he said.

FYR Macedonia 2 - 3 Italy

(Nestorovski, 57', Hasani, 59' - Belotti, 24', Immobile, 75')

Macedonia were cruelly denied one of the greatest results in their short footballing history when former Borussia Dortmund frontman Ciro Immobile sealed an Italy win in injury time.

Fußball WM-Qualifikationsspiel Mazedonien vs Italien

Italy survived a scare against FYR Macedonia

Italy had looked relatively comfortable in the opening period, especially after Andrea Belotti opened the scoring halfway through the opening period. But two Macedonian goals in two mintues turned the game on its head and had the Azzurri staring down the barrel of an embarrassing defeat.

But after Immobile had squared things up, the hosts were pinned back and weren't quite able to hold on for a famous point. 

Serbia 3 - 2 Austria

(Mitrovic, 6', 23', Tadic 74' - Sabitzer, 15', Janko, 62')

Dusan Tadic's 74th minute winner settled a thrilling contest in Belgrade and moved Serbia to the top of Group D. The Southampton man looked to have mis-controlled the ball but his touch eluded the defender allowing him to stroke the ball home, much to the home crowd's delight.

Earlier, Aleksander Mitrovic had given Serbia a 6th minute lead before RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer equalized for Austria. Mitrovic scored again to put Serbia in front before Marc Janko levelled it up shortly after the hour mark.

With three points separating Wales, Serbia, Austria and Republic of Ireland (who beat Moldova 3-1), the win could prove critical to Serbia's chances.

Iceland 2 - 0 Turkey

(Toprak (og), 42', Finnbogason, 44')

Iceland continued their dream run of form with a comfortable home win over Turkey that leaves them with seven points from their opening three games in Group I.

The home side, who were shock Euro 2016 quarterfinalists, took the lead shortly before the break when Bayer Leverkusen's Ömer Toprak turned in to his own net. It was another Bundesliga man who doubled the lead - Alfred Finnbogason ran on to a through ball before lashing home from just inside the penalty area.

Finland 0 – 1 Croatia

(Mandzukic 18')

Fußball WM-Qualifikationsspiel Kroatien gegen Finnland

Croatia beat Finland 1-0

In Tampere, Finland, Mario Mandzukic struck an 18th-minute winner for Croatia against the home side to keep his country top of their group and maintain his fine scoring form.

The former Bayern Munich target man, who netted a hat-trick in Thursday's 6-0 away rout of Kosovo, pounced in the 18th minute after Andrej Kramaric turned an inviting Sime Vrsaljko cross into his path.

The home side failed to create a clear-cut chance on a difficult pitch while, at the other end, Ivan Perisic hit the inside of the post in the 75th minute after a solo run but Mandzukic's goal proved enough.

Albania 0 - 2 Spain

(Costa 55', Nolito 63')

Spain were made to work for their three points in Albania. The home side were stubborn in defense during the opening period before Chelsea's Diego Costa finally broke the deadlock ten minutes in to the second half.

It was fellow Premier League man Nolito, of Manchester City, who made the points safe for the Spaniards. Just moments after coming off the bench, the winger rode two challenges before slotting home from the left hand side.

 

World Cup qualifying results October 9

(Europe)

Group D

Moldova 1 -3 Ireland   
Serbia  3 - 2 Austria   
Wales 1-1 Georgia

Group G

Albania   0 - 2 Spain  
Macedonia 2 Italy         3  
Israel    2 Liechtenstein 1

Group I 

Finland 0 - 1 Croatia  
Iceland 2 - 0 Turkey 
Ukraine 3 - 0 Kosovo  

(Africa)

Group A

Tunisia 2 - 0 Guinea

Group B

Zambia 1 - 2 Nigeria

Algeria 1 - 1 Cameroon

Group E

Congo 1 - 2 Egypt

 

mp (Reuters/AP)

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