The last but one in a series of World Cup qualifiers commenced on Thursday, with several teams booking their place in next summer’s tournament in Russia.
The early kickoffs of the tournament saw Poland move within one point of qualifying after thrashing Armenia 6-1 courtesy of Robert Lewandowski.
The Bayern Munich striker became his country’s all-time record goalscorer, after bagging his 48th, 49th and 50th goal for the national team in just 90 games.
Meanwhile in Group C, Germany sealed their place for the World Cup next year with a convincing 3-1 away to Northern Ireland, with Sebastian Rudy, Sandro Wagner and Joshua Kimmich netting for the world champions on a night where Germany’s youth was very much on display.
In the same group saw Norway thrashed San Marino, eventually winning 8-0. Northern Ireland despite defeat are guaranteed second place, but will have to proceed via the playoffs if they want to make it to the finals now.
Over in Group F, England find their way to qualification in what can be politely termed a cagey affair at Wembley against Slovenia, running out eventual winners courtesy of 94th minute goal from new captain Harry Kane.
The other home nation to feature on Thursday night, Scotland, kept their own hopes of qualification alive after ex-Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel’s 89th minute own goal handed the Scots the win over Slovakia.
Gordon Strachan’s side now sit second, two points ahead of third place and maintain the chance of making a tournament for the first time since 1998.
Group E saw Denmark grab a crucial victory over Montenegro thanks to an early striker from Tottenham star Christian Eriksen. The result has given the Danes hopes of qualification, but Poland still sit top of the group after their brilliant 6-1 victory.
Montenegro and Denmark are likely to be battling for the playoff place heading into the final qualifier.