Sports Desk, Oct 12 (EFE).- Denmark became the second European side to qualify for World Cup 2022 in Qatar with a 1-0 win Tuesday over Austria, while England dropped points against Hungary and Cristiano Ronaldo posted his 10th career hat trick for Portugal.
The Danes claimed the top spot in Group F, winning for the eighth time in eight outings to improve to 24 points, 7 more than second-place Scotland with two matches left.
Joakim Maehle’s goal in the 53rd minute proved to be enough for a Danish side that has yet to concede in the qualifiers.
At Estadio Algarve, Portugal pounded Luxembourg 5-0 to remain within striking distance of Serbia in Group A.
Ronaldo, who last month surpassed Iranian striker Ali Daei’s 109 goals to become the leading scorer in the history of the international game, boosted his total to 115.
The 36-year-old Manchester United man converted twice from the spot to put the hosts ahead 2-0 in the first quarter-hour and completed the triple in the 87th minute.
Portugal’s other goals came from Bruno Fernandes – Ronaldo’s teammate at Old Trafford – and Joao Palhinha.
Serbia dispatched Azerbaijan 3-1 in Belgrade to go to 17 points, 1 more than Portugal, who have a game in hand.
With the three other teams in the group out of contention, Portugal and Serbia are assured of taking the top two spots, but it remains to be seen which of them qualifies directly as group winner, leaving the other to clear the hurdle of a playoff.
The opening minutes of the England-Hungary match at Wembley Stadium took place against the backdrop of violent clashes in the stands between police and Hungarian fans.
On the field, the visitors looked like a different team than the one the Three Lions trounced 4-0 last month in Budapest, taking the lead in the 24th minute on Roland Sallai’s effort from the spot after England’s Luke Shaw was cited for a foul in the box.
John Stones equalized for the home side in the 37th minute on a set piece and the 1-1 held up until the final whistle.
England remain top of Group I with 20 points from eight matches, followed by Poland, who improved to 17 points with a 1-0 victory against Albania in a contest that had to be suspended briefly when the home supporters in the stands in Tirana pelted Polish players with plastic bottles after Karol Swiderski scored in the 77th minute.
Idle on Tuesday, Spain saw Sweden pull ahead of them into first place in Group B with a 2-0 triumph over Greece.
The Swedes went to 15 points, 2 better than La Roja, and the group winner is likely to be decided when Sweden visit Spain on Nov. 14. EFE