European Qualifiers: Poland and Russia book Euro 2020 places
Poland see off North Macedonia and Russia thrash Cyprus to secure progress; Wijnaldum hits stunner as Netherlands beat Belarus, while 10-man Germany win in Estonia
Last Updated: 13/10/19 11:01pm
Poland left it late before goals from substitutes Przemyslaw Frankowski and Arkadiusz Milik gave them a 2-0 win over North Macedonia, which guaranteed their place at Euro 2020 on Sunday.
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Group G - Poles book their place
Poland earned the win they needed to qualify from Group G as late goals from Przemyslaw Frankowski and Arkadiusz Milik sealed a 2-0 win over North Macedonia.
Poland had struggled to make the breakthrough in Warsaw despite enjoying 65 per cent of possession and their frustration grew as Piotr Zielinski struck the bar in the 17th minute and Sebastian Szymanski hit the post five minutes after halftime.
The breakthrough finally came in the 74th minute from substitute Frankowski. A long pass forward found Robert Lewandowski who chested the ball down, nutmegged a defender and was about to shoot when Frankowski sneaked in and poked the ball through Stole Dimitrievski's legs.
Lewandowski was also involved in the second goal six minutes later when he appeared to be fouled, but play was waved on and Milik applied the finishing touch, his first Poland goal since last November.
Group G leaders Poland have 19 points from eight matches, three clear of Austria, with North Macedonia and Slovenia a further five points behind.
A first-half goal from Stefan Posch helped Austria preserve second place in the same group with a 1-0 win in Slovenia, who had substitute Denis Popovic sent off in the 89th minute.
Group C - Wijnaldum double for Dutch
Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice as the Netherlands consolidated top spot with a 2-1 win in Belarus.
Wijnaldum opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a well-taken header and then scored a stunner from outside the penalty box for his second nine minutes later.
The Dutch were made to sweat as the home team hit back through Stanislav Dragun in the 53rd minute but though goalkeeper Gutor saved brilliantly to prevent Donyell Malen - set up by Wijnaldum - from restoring their cushion, they held on in Minsk.
Ilkay Gundogan scored twice as 10-man Germany won 3-0 in Estonia to remain on course for qualification.
Juventus midfielder Emre Can was sent off after just 14 minutes of the Group C match in Tallinn for a professional foul.
However, Joachim Low's injury-depleted squad regrouped and took the lead early in the second half through Gundogan's angled drive.
The Manchester City midfielder quickly added a second, with substitute Timo Werner knocking in a third as Germany moved level on points with the Dutch, and three clear of Northern Ireland.
Group I - Belgium maintain record, Russia through
Belgium kept up their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Kazakhstan.
Batshuayi and Thomas Meunier found the net at the Astana Arena as Roberto Martinez's side, already through to next summer's finals, registered an eighth straight win in Group I.
The Belgians became the first team to book a place in next year's 24-team final tournament when they trounced San Marino 9-0 at home on Thursday and delivered a professional performance to stay perfect.
Batshuayi opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a simple back-post finish after Dennis Praet's fine curled pass around the back of the home defence.
The second goal came when a sumptuous crossfield pass from captain Eden Hazard, hit from just inside the Kazakhstan half, was controlled and converted by Meunier seven minutes into the second half.
Russia joined Poland, Belgium - and Italy from Group J - in sealing qualification with games to spare after a comprehensive 5-0 win over 10-man Cyprus in Nicosia.
The Russians only needed a draw to ensure a top-two finish and qualification but an early strike from Denis Cheryshev set them on their way to a seventh victory in eight qualification games - and he soon turned provider for Magomed Ozdoev.
Any hopes Cyprus had of forcing a comeback evaporated when Konstantinos Laifis was shown a straight red card in the 28th minute after a horror tackle and Russia made the advantage count.
Artem Dzyuba made it 3-0 with 11 minutes to play and then helped set up Aleksandr Golovin for the fourth in the 89th minute, before Cheryshev finished off a dominant showing with the last effort of the game.
Scotland will have to rely on the play-offs next March if they are to reach the Euro 2020 finals but after a crushing defeat in Russia, they began the process of rebuilding morale with a 6-0 thrashing of San Marino at Hampden Park.
Aston Villa's John McGinn became the first Scotland player to score a first-half hat-trick since Lawrie Reilly in 1952, while Lawrence Shankland and Stuart Findlay both scored their first Scotland goals, before Stuart Armstrong's free-kick added gloss to the scoreline.
Group E - Hungary
Hungary closed in on qualification with a 1-0 defeat over rock-bottom Azerbaijan in Budapest.
Mihaly Korhut scored the only goal of the game in the 10th minute as the hosts moved second in the group behind Croatia, who play Wales in a fixture key for Ryan Giggs' side's chances.
Bale struck in first-half stoppage time - his 33rd goal extending his own Wales record - to cancel out Nikola Vlasic's ninth-minute strike for the World Cup finalists.
The draw leaves Wales' qualifying destiny out of their own hands heading into the final two rounds of games next month.
Wales must win their remaining two fixtures and hope Slovakia slip up against Croatia or Azerbaijan to be sure of a place at Euro 2020.