Germany remains atop after Austria scare
WIEN, Austria ● Marco Reus scored his third international goal and Mesut Oezil added a penalty Tuesday to help Germany beat Austria 2-1.
Reus found the net in the closing minute of the first half and Oezil doubled Germany’s lead in the 52nd before Zlatko Junuzovic reduced Austria’s deficit five minutes later.
Germany’s defence looked vulnerable as Austria got several chances for an equalizer but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer prevented Joachim Loew’s team from dropping points in the sold-out Ernst Happel Stadium.
Germany remained atop Group C with six points from two games after defeating Faeroe Islands four days ago.
Croatia 1, Belgium 1
Belgium was held to 1-1 by visiting Croatia..
Both teams started aggressively, looking to continue their campaigns with a second straight win.
Ivan Perisic put the visitors ahead in the sixth minute, capitalizing on a defensive mistake by captain Vincent Kompany who failed to clear a cross from Mario Mandzukic.
Roared on by a capacity crowd of nearly 50,000, the Belgians reasserted themselves, controlling possession and dropping in dangerous crosses. The equalizer finally came moments before halftime, when Gillaume Gillet volleyed in a loose ball from the edge of the area.
In the second half, the Belgians continued to dominate. Their best opportunity came in the 51st when Christian Benteke’s close-range shot was deflected from the goal line by Josip Simunic.
Serbia 6, Wales 1
Serbia routed Wales 6-1 with goals from six different scorers Tuesday in a World Cup qualifying match to give coach Sinisa Mihajlovic his first victory in charge.
Aleksandar Kolarov scored first in the 16th minute from a free kick, and set up the second five minutes later when he broke through Wales’ defence and passed the ball to Zoran Tosic, who slotted it into the net.
Gareth Bale narrowed the lead with a powerful free kick in the 31st but Filip Djuricic scored again for Serbia in the 39th.
Serbia continued to attack in the second half. Dusan Tadic took a pass from Branslav Ivanovic to make it 4-1 in the 55th and Ivanovic then took advantage of a mistake by Wales’ defence to score next in the 80th. Miralem Sulejmani finished off the rout in the 90th.
Switzerland 2, Albania 0
Switzerland took control of its World Cup qualifying group on Tuesday, beating Albania 2-0 to get its second win in five days.
Swiss star forward Xherdan Shaqiri, whose family roots are Albanian, defied the whistles of jeering visiting fans to score with a neat one-on-one finish in the 23rd minute.
Captain Gokhan Inler then slotted in a 68th-minute penalty after Valentin Stocker was fouled.
Albania seldom threatened before captain Lorik Cana’s powerful shot in the 80th was parried then caught under pressure by Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.
Switzerland, which also won 2-0 in Slovenia last Friday, leads Group E with six points after all six teams have played two matches. Four teams have three points and Slovenia is last without a point.
Sweden 2, Kazakhstan 0
Rasmus Elm scored in the first half and Marcus Berg added a second in injury time Tuesday as Sweden beat Kazakhstan 2-0.
Kazakhstan’s compact defence frustrated the Swedes until Rasmus Elm put the home side ahead in the 37th minute. The Sweden midfielder picked up a misfired shot from Mikael Lustig and volleyed the ball past goalkeeper Andrey Sidelnikov.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have increased the lead after the break but Sidelnikov blocked his header from close range.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker had a lacklustre game but showed his skill in injury time, setting up Berg’s goal with a deft pass from the left flank.
Greece 2, Lithuania 0
Sotiris Ninis and substitute Costas Mitroglou scored in the second half as Greece beat Lithuania 2-0 Tuesday for its second straight win.
Ninis beat keeper Zydrunas Karcemarskas with a shot in the 55th minute after Mitroglou hit the crossbar with a header and Lithuania’s defenders failed to clear the ball.
Mitroglou sealed the Group G match in the 72nd, finishing at close range after a one-two with Ninis.
The Greeks worked hard for their goals, with striker Fanis Gekas missing two headers in the first half and Karcemarskas working well with his defenders to hold the hosts back.
The visitors rarely threatened, however, and finished the game without a single clear chance.
Norway 2, Slovenia 1
John Arne Riise scored an injury-time penalty to give Norway a 2-1 win over Slovenia.
Marko Suler gave Slovenia the lead in the 16th minute after Norway goalkeeper Rune Jarstein failed to hold a free kick.
Norway equalized 10 minutes later when Tarik Elyounussi’s shot hit the crossbar and Markus Henriksen headed in the rebound.
The match appeared headed for a draw when substitute Alexander Soederlund was fouled in the box by Dejan Kelhar in injury time and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Riise, who had faced criticism in Norwegian media before the match, coolly slotted in his 16th goal for Norway’s national team.
“I’ve used these days to focus on the game and I think people can stop talking about whether I’m focused or not,” Riise said.
Norway lost its opening qualifier at Iceland 2-0, while Slovenia lost at home to Switzerland with the same result.
Romania 4, Andorra 0
Romania easily beat Andorra 4-0 in a World Cup qualifier Tuesday to top its group after starting its campaign with two straight wins.
The Romanians went ahead in the 29th minute when Gabriel Torje sent a shot from 10 metres into the right side of the net. Costin Lazar added the second just before halftime with a superb shot from 25 metres past Andorra goalkeeper Josep Antoni Gomes.
The home side kept up the pressure in the second half and added two more goals in the final minutes. Marius Valeriu Gaman netted a header in the 90th, while substitute Alexandru Iulian Maxim scored the fourth in injury time.
Romania and the Netherlands both have six points in Group D, with the Romanians ahead on goal difference.
Scotland 1, Macedonia 1
Kenny Miller’s first-half equalizer earned Scotland a 1-1 draw with Macedonia, leaving both teams still without a win in Group A.
The diminutive striker pounced on a cross by Jamie Mackie to finish from close range in the 43rd minute at Hampden Park, cancelling out Nikolce Noveski’s opener for the visitors in the 11th.
Noveski appeared to be in an offside position when Daniel Georgievski crossed the ball in but the flag stayed down to allow the defender to stab home a close-range strike.
Scotland began qualifying with a 0-0 draw at home to Serbia on Saturday, while Macedonia slumped to a 1-0 loss at Croatia a day earlier.
Poland 2, Moldova 0
Poland defeated Moldova 2-0 after Jakub Blaszczykowski scored a penalty and set up the other goal.
The striker gave Poland a 1-0 lead in 33rd minute when he converted a spot kick after defender Lukasz Piszczek was fouled.
Poland doubled the lead in the 81st when Jakub Wawrzyniak took a pass from Blaszczykowski and slotted the ball in just inside the post.
Mouldova created several chances, including a couple of one-on-one situations with Poland goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton, who made several good saves to preserve a clean sheet.