Germany, England Qualify for 2018 World Cup, Argentina at Risk

Qualify for 2018 World Cup

Germany, England Qualify for 2018 World Cup, Argentina at Risk

Defending champions Germany sealed a place at next year’s World Cup in Russia with a 3-1 win in Northern Ireland on Thursday.

First-half goals from Sebastian Rudy and Sandro Wagner and a second-half strike from Joshua Kimmich made it nine wins out of nine for Joachim Loew’s team in European qualifying Group C.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, could still make the playoffs as they hope to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986.

Harry Kane continued his red-hot form in front of goal by netting a 94th-minute winner as an unimpressive England edged Slovenia at Wembley.

Without the suspended Dele Alli, the Three Lions looked utterly bereft of ideas until skipper Kane converted Kyle Walker’s late on to score his 14th goal in nine games for club and country.

Scotland kept their World Cup hopes alive with a last-gasp 1-0 victory at home to Slovakia courtesy of an own-goal from Martin Skrtel, while Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick to become his country’s record goalscorer as Poland thumped Armenia 6-1 in Yerevan.

Poland, who finished third at the 1974 and 1982 World Cups, need a point from their final match at home to Group E rivals Montenegro to assure themselves of a place in the finals.

Lewandowski curled in a brilliant free-kick to draw level with Polish legend Wlodzimierz Lubanski on 48 international goals, before claiming the outright record when he blasted home an indirect free-kick for his treble in the second half.

Argentina, meanwhile risk elimination from next year’s Mundial in Russia after being held to a goalless draw at home by Peru.

The Albieceleste now drop to sixth – outside the playoff places – ahead of their final day trip to Ecuador.

Uruguay secured at least a playoff berth with a 0-0 draw at Venezuela, while Chile got back into contention with a 2-1 home win over Ecuador – with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez netting a late winner.