Werner helps Germany become first team to qualify for World Cup in Qatar

By Guardian sport
Timo Werner celebrates scoring as Germany clinched their place at next year’s World Cup
Timo Werner celebrates scoring as Germany clinched their place at next year’s World Cup. Photograph: Boris Grdanoski/AP

Timo Werner scored twice as Germany became the first team to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar with an emphatic victory against North Macedonia.

Having endured an embarrassing first home qualifying defeat in 20 years under the previous manager Joachim Löw in April, Hansi Flick’s side responded in style with a 4-0 win after a goalless first half in Skopje.

Kai Havertz’s opener in the 50th minute finally broke the hosts’ resistance before his Chelsea teammate Werner and the Bayern Munich teenager Jamal Musiala, with his first international goal, ensured Germany have an unassailable lead at the top of Group J despite Romania’s 1-0 victory against Armenia.

Elsewhere, a penalty from Burak Yilmaz in the ninth minute of injury time completed a sensational comeback from Turkey in their 2-1 win against Latvia in Group G. The hosts had led for most of the match after Merih Demiral’s own goal but battled back to stay in touch with leaders the Netherlands and second-placed Norway, who enjoyed comfortable wins against Gibraltar and Montenegro respectively.

Czech Republic defeated Belarus 2-0 in Wales’s group, while Croatia dented their hopes of qualifying automatically after a 2-2 home draw with Slovakia in their Group H clash left them trailing Russia by two points in a two-team race for the top spot.

Russia, who have 19 points from eight games, beat Slovenia 2-1 away to leapfrog Croatia, who came from behind twice against the Slovakians and had a late goal scrapped after a VAR check.

Brothers Sveinn Aron and Andri Gudjohnsen combined for a late goal in Iceland’s 4-0 World Cup qualifying Group J win over Liechtenstein on Monday to continue the family’s rich goalscoring tradition in the island’s national side. Their father Eidur is the country’s joint top scorer with 26 international goals. He came off the bench to replace his father Arnor, who netted 14 goals in 73 internationals, when making his debut in 1996 but the two never played together.

However, his sons got that chance on Monday as older brother Sveinn Aron, 23, came on in the 65th minute with the score at 2-0 and the hosts added another with a second penalty for Albert Gudmundsson before Andri, 19, joined the fray in the 80th.
Nine minutes later Sveinn teed Andri up to fire home the fourth and final goal of the game but, despite the result and the family’s joy, Iceland remain second from bottom of the six-team group on eight points with two games left.

Meanwhile, Emile Smith Rowe saved 10-man England Under‑21s’ blushes as the Young Lions laboured to victory in Andorra. The Arsenal midfielder scored his first goal for the team to help Lee Carsley’s side secure a 1-0 win.

Rhian Brewster was harshly sent off in the second half and the visitors looked like they would suffer again following a 2-2 draw in Slovenia last Thursday. But they ground out victory in their Euro 2023 qualifier to move two points behind Albania and the Czech Republic in Group G.


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