Sunday WCQ Rewind: Iceland edges Croatia, Spain tops Macedonia and more

Sunday WCQ Rewind: Iceland edges Croatia, Spain tops Macedonia and more

World Cup Qualifying

Sunday WCQ Rewind: Iceland edges Croatia, Spain tops Macedonia and more

For most of Sunday’s match in Reykjavik, it looked like Croatia and Iceland would have to settle for a point apiece.

Hordur Magnusson had other ideas prior to stoppage time, scoring the breakthrough for the hosts in a 1-0 victory. The wingback finished off Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross into the upper part of the goal, which drew the hosts level on points with group-leading Croatia. Iceland only had two efforts on goal in the match, while Croatia was limited to one by a very strict Icelandic backline. The victory for Iceland puts them on 13 points, while Croatia slumped to their first loss of qualifying.

Elsewhere in Europe, Serbia fought back for a point against Wales, while Albania and Italy rolled to huge wins. Ukraine edged out Finland on the road, while Spain used a pair of first half goals to defeat Macedonia.

Here is a rundown of all Sunday’s World Cup Qualifying action:

GROUP D

Group D’s signature match of the day came from Belgrade as Serbia drew 1-1 with Wales. A 73rd-minute equalizer from Aleksandar Mitrovic gave the Serbs a much-needed point against a tough opponent. Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring for Chris Coleman’s side, as the Arsenal midfielder scored from the penalty spot after 33 minutes. However, the two sides only mustered three combined shots on goal in the match. The result keeps Serbia atop Group D. Wales stay in third, now with eight points.

In one of the two early matches, Ireland fought back for a point against Austria in Dublin. An 85th-minute equalizer from Stoke’s Jonathan Walters was enough for Martin O’Neill’s side, as they battled back from a first-half deficit. Walters got on the end of Robbie Brady’s assist, and finished from inside the box. Martin Hinteregger’s left-footed effort after 35 minutes had Austria up 1-0 for most of the match. Ireland stay in second place on 12 points, while Austria are in fourth place with 8.

In Chisinau, visitors Georgia fought back for a point in a 2-2 draw against Moldova. The hosts held a 2-0 halftime lead after attempts from Radu Ginsari and Alexandru Dedov found the back of the net. Giorgi Merebashvili cut the lead in half after 65 minutes from a right-footed long-range effort. Valeri Kazaishvili’s left-footed strike after 70 minutes brought the visitors level for a point. Georgia are in fifth place, while Moldova stay in sixth.

1. Serbia | 12 points | 3-3-0 | 13 goals scored | 7 goals allowed
2. Republic of Ireland | 12 points | 3-3-0 | 8 goals scored | 4 goals allowed
3. Wales | 8 points | 1-5-0 | 9 goals scored | 5 goals allowed
4. Austria | 8 points | 2-2-2 | 9 goals scored | 8 goals allowed
5. Georgia | 3 points | 0-3-3 | 6 goals scored | 10 goals allowed
6. Moldova | 2 points | 0-2-4 | 4 goals scored | 15 goals allowed

GROUP G

Group G leaders Spain remained at the top after a gritty 2-1 win at Macedonia. David Silva opened the scoring for the visitors after 15 minutes, rifling home from a right-footed effort. Diego Costa doubled Spain’s lead in the 27th-minute, finishing from close range. Stefan Ristovski cut the lead in half for Macedonia after 66 minutes, however that was closest the hosts got to a comeback. Spain now sit on 16 points, remaining unbeaten in qualifying. Macedonia are in fifth place, with five losses in qualifying.

Italy remain level on points with leaders Spain, after a 5-0 thumping of Liechtenstein in Udine. Giampiero Ventura received goals from five different goalscorers as the Italians ran rabid. Lorenzo Insigne opened the scoring after 35 minutes, which gave the Italians a 1-0 halftime lead. Torino’s Andrea Belotti extended the lead after 52 minutes, finishing off Insigne’s assist. Eder’s close range finish added to the Italians lead before Federico Bernadeschi made it 4-0 after 82 minutes. Manolo Gabbiadini capped the final score after 90 minutes, becoming the third substitute of the afternoon to score. Italy remain unbeaten in qualifying, while Liechtenstein remain winless.

Israel slumped to their second consecutive qualifying defeat, losing 3-0 against Albania. A first-half brace from Armando Sadiku had the Albanians up by two at halftime. Sadiku’s first goal came in the 22nd minute from outside the box, before the 26-year-old doubled his tally before halftime from a similar effort. Ledian Memushaj’s right-footed effort after 71 minutes capped the final score, as Albania snapped a three-match losing run. Israel drop to fourth with the loss, while Albania leapfrog their opponents into third.

1. Spain | 16 points | 5-1-0 | 21 goals scored | 3 goals allowed
2. Italy | 16 points | 5-1-0 | 18 goals scored | 4 goals allowed
3. Albania | 9 points | 3-0-3 | 7 goals scored | 8 goals allowed
4. Israel | 9 points | 3-0-3| 9 goals scored | 12 goals allowed
5. Macedonia| 3 points | 1-0-5 | 8 goals scored | 13 goals allowed
6. Liechtenstein| 0 points | 0-0-6 | 1 goals scored | 24 goals allowed

GROUP I

Turkey jumped to third place in Group I, after rolling over Kosovo, 4-1, in Shkoder. The visitors opened the scoring through Volkan Sen. The forward headed home a cross after five minutes for a 1-0 lead. Amir Rrahmani drew Kosovo level after 22 minutes, heading home Valon Berisha’s cross to the bottom right corner. Cengiz Under’s 31st-minute header put Turkey back ahead, before Burak Yilmaz extended the lead to 3-1 at the hour mark. Ozan Tufan’s right-footed finish after 82 minutes capped the final score at 4-1. Turkey’s third consecutive qualifying win see them move to 11 points. Kosovo remain in last with 1 point.

Group I’s opening qualifier on Sunday saw Ukraine defeat Finland, 2-1, in Tampere. A 75th-minute header from Artem Besedin gave Andriy Shevchenko’s side an important three points on the road. Joel Pohjanpalo had drawn Finland level just three minutes prior, scoring from a header of his own. Following a scoreless first half, Ukraine opened the scoring after 51 minutes as Yehven Konoplyanka finished from close range after a prior attempt was saved. Ukraine drop to fourth place due to other results, while Finland are in fifth with one point.

1. Croatia | 13 points | 4-1-1 | 11 goals scored | 2 goals allowed
2. Iceland | 13 points | 4-1-1 | 9 goals scored | 6 goals allowed
3. Turkey| 11 points | 3-2-1 | 11 goals scored | 6 goals allowed
4. Ukraine | 11 points | 3-2-1| 9 goals scored | 5 goals allowed
5. Finland | 1 point | 0-1-5 | 4 goals scored | 10 goals allowed
6. Kosovo | 1 point | 0-1-5 | 3 goals scored | 18 goals allowed

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