France beat Sweden on charged evening, German World Cup group tightens | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 11.11.2016
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France beat Sweden on charged evening, German World Cup group tightens

France bested Sweden 2-1 almost a year after the Paris attacks, while England and Scotland held a memorial of their own. In Germany's World Cup group, Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic notched three points.

Fußball WM-Qualifikation Frankreich gegen Schweden (Picture-Alliance/dpa/I. Langsdon)

A charged minute's silence in the Stade de France, almost exactly a year on from the Paris attacks

Paul Pogba and Dmitri Payet netted the goals as France came from a goal down to beat Sweden 2-1 in their Group A World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Before the game, both sides paid tribute to the victims of the November 13 Paris attacks in 2015, when three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France where France were playing Germany. President Francois Hollande was on hand for the match, along with a capacity 80,000 crowd. 

RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg had given Sweden the lead with a free kick early in the second half, before Premier League stars Pogba and Payet turned the tide in a top-of-the-group clash. 

Czech Republic, Northern Ireland score in German group

In Group C, as Germany cantered to an 8-0 win in San Marino, Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic bolstered their points tallies at the expense of Azerbaijan and Norway, respectively.

The Czech Republic bested Norway 2-1 at home, while Northern Ireland smashed four past Azerbaijan in Belfast, claiming second in the group in the process and putting a severe dent in Azerbaijan's goal difference. Kyle Lafferty, Gareth McAuley, Colin McLaughlin and Chris Brunt all got on the score sheet in a 4-0 win.

Fußball WM-Qualifikation Rumänien gegen Polen (picture alliance/dpa/R. Ghement)

Bayern fans won't have enjoyed the highlights from Romania vs Poland

Lewandowski hit by flare

Group F was also in action on Friday night. Henrikh Mkhitaryan's Armenia beat Montenegro 3-2, Denmark put four past visitors Kazakhstan with just one coming in reply, and Romania lost 3-0 at home to Poland. 

Poland's win was soured somewhat when Robert Lewandowski was nearly hit by pyrotechnics thrown from the crowd - falling over and holding his ears after the explosion just a few inches from where he was standing. 

Back at Wembley, England and Scotland took to the pitch with poppies on their jerseys after a rather politicized back and forth with FIFA over rules prohibiting political symbols on the football field. The poppies, first used after World War I to mark November 11's Armistice Day, have become a symbol of solidarity for all fallen soldiers from the UK and the Commonwealth. 

On the pitch, England waltzed off to a 3-0 win, although goalscorer Adam Lallana noted after the game that "3-0 looks more comfortable than the game suggests." RB Leipzig's Oliver Burke was an unused subsitute for Scotland. 

For interim England coach Gareth Southgate, the friendly was the third of four scheduled games in charge. However, he's increasingly being treated as a potential permanent replacement for Sam Allardyce, who left by mutual agreement in September.

Fußball WM-Qualifikation England gegen Schottland (picture alliance/AA/T. Akmen)

Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill scored the goals in the 113th encounter between England and Scotland