Spain book World Cup place after Italy slip up, Iceland on verge of qualification | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 06.10.2017
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Qualification Roundup

Spain book World Cup place after Italy slip up, Iceland on verge of qualification

Spain became the eleventh team to qualify for Russia 2018 after their convincing 3-0 win over Albania and Italy's disappointing home draw against Macedonia. Elsewhere, Euro 2016 surprise package Iceland are looking good.

An early goal from Valencia frontman Rodrigo set 2010 World Cup winners Spain on their way, before Isco and Thiago made it comfortable before the break.

But Spain only secured their qualification when Macedonia's Aleksandar Trajkovski cancelled out Giorgio Chiellini's opener for Italy and condemned the Azzuri to the playoffs.

In group D, Serbia fluffed their lines as already-eliminated Austria edged a 3-2 thriller in Vienna. Luka Milivojevic's early strike for Serbia was soon cancelled out by Guido Burgstaller. With 15 minutes remaining, Marko Arnautovic put the home side ahead and then struck again after Nemanja Matic had briefly restored partity.

Read more: Germany secure World Cup berth with comfortable Northern Ireland win

Argentina's struggles could mean a World Cup without Lionel Messi

Serbia's first loss of the campaign means they need a win at home to Georgia to be sure of making their first World Cup since 2010.

If they slip up, Wales (who won 1-0 away in Georgia) and Republic of Ireland (who won 2-0 at home to Macedonia) could take top spot. The rivals play each other in Cardiff on Tuesday, with Wales a point ahead of Ireland and a point behind Serbia.

Iceland, who reached the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, are on course for their first global tournament after a dramatic night in group I. The Scandinavians were excellent as they raced in to a two goal lead before the break and Kari Arnason ensured the Turks would fail to qualify in the second half.

Despite that performance, Iceland looked to be heading for second spot before Pyry Soiri hammered home a last minute equalizer for eliminated Finland against Croatia, who led the pack at the start of the evening. The results mean Iceland are at least in the playoffs and will qualify if they beat bottom-placed Kosovo on Monday. Ukraine, who beat Kosovo 2-0, and Croatia will battle it out for second, and a probable playoff spot on the same night.

 

mp (Reuters, AP)

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