North Macedonia played today the biggest surprise of the day in qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2022, when they won at home in Germany (2-1), while Poland, by Paulo Sousa, lost in England (2-1).
In group J, the Macedonians surprised the Germans, in a match held in Duisburg, with veteran Pandev advancing outsiders in the second minute of rebates from the first half after a well-constructed play.
In the second half, Gundogan drew a penalty, at 63, but at five minutes of the 90 was the Naples midfielder Elif Elmas to become a Macedonian hero, putting the two teams on equal points (six points).
Germany, who already know that the coach, Joachim Low, will leave at the end of the Euro2020 this summer, lost a qualifying game for a world cup for the first time since 2001, when it was ‘humiliated’ by England in Munich (5 -1), which gave a series of 35 games without losing.
The ‘poule’ of Germans and Macedonians is surprisingly led by Armenia, which received and beat Romania 3-2 to the delight of thousands of fans at the stadium, many without respecting social distance and not even wearing masks.
With no goals in the first half, and without the ‘star’ Mkhitaryan, the Armenians went ahead at 56, by Spertsyan, but a ‘bis’ from Cicaldau went around the match, before Puscas was expelled at 77.
Haroyan, at 87, and Barseghyan, from penalty, at 89, decided the dispute in the final stretch of the match, in a group in which Iceland won for the first time, with a rout in Liechtenstein (4-1).
In Wembley, Paulo Sousa’s Poland was Lewandowski’s ‘orphan’, the Golden Ball, but he sold the defeat to the English, who still reached nine points.
Harry Kane, who scored the 10th penalty for the English national team in the 19th minute, the maximum of any Englishman, advanced Gareth Southgate’s team, with the 16th goal in the last 12 qualifying games.
In the second half, a mistake by John Stones allowed Moder to match Milik’s pass at 58, but Harry Maguire, the pass of the ‘redeemed’ colleague in the defense, ended up confirming the 2-1.
In the first three games with the Polish national team, Paulo Sousa won one, drew another and lost the third, following in the fourth position of the ‘poule’, behind the leader England but also of Hungary, in a position of ‘play-off’, after scoring in Andorra (4-1), and Albania, winning in San Marino (2-0).
The world champion in title, France, heads the ‘poule’ D after today triumphing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a lone goal by Antoine Griezmann, 35th for the national team, making him the fourth best French goalkeeper ever.
The game also set records for José Mourinho’s Tottenham veteran Hugo Lloris, as he equaled Thierry Henry’s number of caps, with 123, the second best record, second only to Lilian Thuram (142).
The French lead with seven points, four more than Ukraine, which today added the third draw in as many games with Kazakhstan (1-1).
Group C is led by Italy, who have won their third victory, out of three possible, and have yet to concede a goal, beating Lithuania 2-0, with goals from Sensi, who came in at half-time and won at 47, and Immobile, penalty shootout at 90 + 4.
With Switzerland off, Northern Ireland and Bulgaria drew goalless, adding the first points in qualifying.
Sportinguista Pedro Porro did not leave the bench in Spain’s victory against Kosovo, with two goals in three minutes, from Dani Olmo (34) and Ferrán Torres (36) to give a comfortable advantage in the first half.
The Kosovars dropped to 70, a mistake by goalkeeper Unai Simon, but Moreno closed the game five minutes later.
The Spaniards climbed to the top spot in group B, with seven points, one more than Sweden, which has one game less. Greece have two points after drawing a ball with Georgia, who have one, and Kosovo have yet to score.
Group F was ‘destined’ to score, with Denmark showing dominance: it has 14 goals scored and none conceded, and today it imposed itself by four unanswered goals in Vienna, in Austria’s first defeat.
With five points in second place is Scotland, who beat the Faroe Islands at home (4-0), while Israel went to Moldova to match the Austrians with four points, after winning 4-1.
Qualification for the Mundial2022 returns in September, after the Euro2020. Portugal leads group A, with seven points, the same as Serbia.