World Cup qualifiers review – Brazil on a roll, as Germany and Spain show strength

Slovakia 0 England 1

The summer’s Euro 2016 and the Copa America action already seem like a distant memory, with international football’s gaze now shifting to the forthcoming World Cup in two years’ time.

The qualifying campaign for the competition in Russia is in full swing, with nations the world over looking to build momentum ahead of the tournament and book their place at the global showcase.

South America

After two fixtures for each of the ten hopeful nations over the last week, the established order is starting to be regained.

Ecuador were surprise frontrunners ahead of the latest fixtures, but the modest South American nation have slipped up with disappointing back-to-back defeats to Brazil and Peru.

Tite’s men put Ecuador to the sword 3-0 and moved up to second place after a 2-1 win over Colombia last time out – it is clear the Samba nation’s success at the Olympics Games has restored the feel-good factor.

Uruguay lead the way with 16 points from eight games.

Edinson Cavani

Although Oscar Tabarez’s men were beaten 1-0 by Argentina in their first game, a 4-0 victory over Paraguay propels the men in blue and white to the top of the table.

Lionel Messi scored the winner for La Albiceleste against Uruguay, the Ballon d’Or holder was absent for Argentina’s 2-2 draw with Venezuela.

The only major side struggling is Chile, with one point from two games against Paraguay and Bolivia not a positive return – the Copa America champions sit seventh now and have work to do.


The European campaign has just begun, with every team playing their opening fixture this week.

Euro 2016 champions Portugal started World Cup qualifying by being brought back down to earth, losing 2-0 in Switzerland.

Beaten summer finalists France were unable to record victory either, with a 0-0 stalemate in Belarus.

Sam Allardyce will be glad to have beaten Slovakia 1-0 in his first game in charge of England, while Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Republic of Ireland all recorded positive results.

Thomas Muller

Reigning world champions Germany cruised to a 3-0 victory away to Norway, while Spain romped home to an 8-0 win over Liechtenstein.

A Christian Eriksen goal gave Denmark a 1-0 win over Armenia and Italy overcame a potential banana skin by winning 3-1 in Israel.

Finally, Belgium opened the Roberto Martinez era with a routine 3-0 win in Cyprus.

The rest

In North America, six teams have made it through to the fifth round of qualifying, with all the expected major nations progressing to the next stage.
Mexico ended the fourth round with a 3-1 win over El Salvador, while Costa Rica beat Panama by the same score.

The United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 to book their place in the next stage.

The most bizarre case of a side missing out on progression saw Guatemala beat St Vincent and the Grenadines 9-3, but this wasn’t enough to book a place in the next stage.

Tomi Juric

In Asia, Australia have started the third round of qualifying with back-to-back wins over Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan both won two consecutive games, while South Korea unexpectedly dropped two points against Syria and Japan were beaten 2-1 by the UAE.

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