Germany qualifies for WCup; Russia, Croatia clinch playoffs
Germany booked its place on Monday with an error-strewn 4-0 win in North Macedonia. The goals all came in the second half as the home team tired, and the win went some way to atoning for Germany's surprise 2-1 loss to North Macedonia in Duisburg in March.
That was the only blip in an otherwise perfect qualifying campaign with seven wins from eight games in Europe Group J.
In Rotterdam, Memphis Depay scored twice, had two assists, and missed a penalty as the Netherlands overpowered Gibraltar 6-0 to remain on course for qualification, two points ahead of Norway and four points ahead of Turkey in Group G.
Croatia and Russia are assured of at least a playoff place after their respective results in Group H.
GROUP E Belgium, which was involved in the Nations League at the weekend, would have qualified if Wales hadn't beaten Estonia. But Kieffer Moore's early goal for Wales was enough for a 1-0 win in Tallinn.
GROUP G Depay put his disappointing club season at Barcelona behind him with a productive night for the Netherlands against one of the world's soccer minnows. His first goal against Gibraltar was his 13th of the year for Oranje, breaking the Dutch record of 12 in a calendar year by Patrick Kluivert.
Yilmaz's late winner in Riga kept Turkey in the chase. Turkey next hosts Gibraltar on Nov. 13, when Norway hosts Latvia and the Netherlands visits Montenegro. The Netherlands plays Norway and Turkey visits Montenegro in the final round of games.
Slovakia needed a win to keep its qualifying hopes alive and can no longer qualify.
Also, Malta scored in the 98th minute to earn a point in a 2-2 draw with Cyprus.
Kai Havertz broke the deadlock in the 50th minute before Chelsea clubmate Timo Werner's quickfire double sealed the result. Jamal Musiala got the fourth goal for Hansi Flick's team in the 83rd, set up by fellow substitute Karim Adeyemi.
Germany stretched its lead in the group to an unassailable eight points with two rounds of games remaining. Flick has overseen five wins since he took over from Joachim Löw after the summer's European Championship.
Iceland defeated Liechtenstein 4-0 in the other group game.
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