Germany and England the latest teams to reach the World Cup
Germany booked their place at next year’s World Cup on Thursday, with England joining the world champions in Russia. Belgium were the only side from the UEFA section – other than hosts Russia – to have secured their qualification ahead of the latest round of fixtures, but that number has now swelled by a further two.
Germany’s 3-1 defeat of Northern Ireland at Windsor Park sealed top spot in Group C. Goals from Sebastian Rudy, Sandro Wagner and Joshua Kimmich moved Joachim Low’s men nine points clear of their opponents, retaining their perfect record in this campaign.
England are also through, albeit in far less convincing fashion after a stoppage-time Harry Kane goal secured a 1-0 win at home to Slovenia in Group F.
The Three Lions were already gearing up to celebrate, however, courtesy of rivals Scotland’s own 1-0 home win over Slovakia.
Poland could also have qualified on Thursday, having won 6-1 at Armenia earlier in the day thanks to a Robert Lewandowski hat-trick – the Bayern Munich striker becoming his country’s record goalscorer in the process. But they were relying on a stalemate between Montenegro and Denmark and instead saw Christian Eriksen hit a first-half winner.