Sports Desk, Oct 8 (EFE).- Germany and the Netherlands each bolstered their chances of qualifying for World Cup 2022 with victories Friday over Romania and Latvia, respectively.
Belgium were idle Friday but benefited from a draw between the Czech Republic and Wales, while high-flying Norway faltered in the absence of injured star Erling Haaland.
Romania put Germany to the test in Hamburg, grabbing the lead in the 9th minute with a goal by Ianis Hagi and holding Die Mannschaft at bay until seven minutes into the second half, when Serge Gnabry broke through the tenacious Balkan defense.
And it not until the 80th minute that Thomas Müller scored the second goal to assure the hosts of the win and first place in Group J with 18 points, 6 ahead of North Macedonia and struggling Armenia and 8 better than Romania.
Away to Latvia, the Dutch prevailed 1-0 on Davy Klaassen’s goal in the 19th minute and to leapfrog Norway and claim first place in Group G with 16 points, 2 more than the Scandinavian side.
The Norwegians, playing without their deadly young striker, had to settle Friday for a 1-1 draw with third place Turkey.
Friday’s 2-2 deadlock in Prague between the Czechs and Wales leaves both of those teams on 8 points, 8 behind Group E leaders Belgium, who finished third in World Cup 2018 behind France and Croatia.
Though level on points with Russia at 16, Croatia lead Group H thanks to a better goal difference. EFE