Thomas Müller scored the winning goal and Germany rallied from a goal deficit to beat Romania 2-1 in the World Cup qualifiers on Friday, continuing their perfect march under new manager Hansi Flick.
For their part, the Netherlands won 1-0 over Latvia and established themselves as Group G leaders, despite a lackluster performance. Within the same group Turkey and Norway drew 1-1 in Istanbul.
Croatia and Russia continued to share the top of Group J. The world runners-up Balkans beat Cyprus 3-0 while the Russians beat Slovakia 1-0.
Wales rescued a 2-2 draw on their visit to the Czech Republic, in a meeting between members of Group E fighting for second place. Belgium has escaped at the top.
Only the leaders of each group advance directly to the World Cup. The teams that finish second must play a playoff.
Belgium has been busy this week with the Champions League, in which they lost to France in the semi-finals. So the focus of this key turned to Czechs and Welsh.
Both teams were left with eight points, half of those held by the Belgians.
Aaron Ramsey gave Wales the lead in the 36th minute, but Jakub Pesek equalized almost immediately.
The hosts took the lead when goalkeeper Danny Ward couldn’t control a ball and scored on his own goal, but Daniel James restored parity.
Within this same sector, Estonia beat Belarus 2-0.
The Dutch team lacked the brilliance that allowed them to beat Turkey 6-1 last month. However, he managed to win with Davy Klaasen’s eighth international goal and seems close to guaranteeing his return to the World Cup, from which he was absent in 2018.
He took a two-point lead over Norway, who resigned themselves to equality in a match in which star attacker Erling Haaland was lacking.
Kerem Arktürkoglu gave Turkey the lead six minutes into what was the first game for new coach Stefan Kuntz, hired after leading Germany’s U21 team.
Kristian Thorstvedt equalized for the Scandinavians before the break.
Turkey is two units behind Norway, after winning just one of their last seven official matches, against weak Gibraltar, who lost on the day at home to Montenegro.
Croats and Russians remained locked in one of the closest matches of the tie.
The Cypriots, bottom of the group, resisted until the discounts of the first half, when Croatia took the lead with a goal from Ivan Perisic. The final score of 3-0 ended up suggesting an easier encounter.
Valery Karpin, Russia’s new coach, reached four games unbeaten, following an own goal by Slovakian defender Milan Skriniar in Kazan.
Russia has yet to score a goal since Karpin took over after the Euro, but that was only because Slovakia missed several chances to score.
Slovenia beat Malta 4-0 to move to third place.
Germany accumulates four wins in the same number of games with Flick.
Ianis Hagi, son of the legendary Georghe Hagi, gave the Romanians the lead early, before Germany squandered several equalizing chances.
Serge Gnabry finally did it with a powerful shot at the dawn of the second half, to reach five goals in seven games of the tie. Müller achieved the second target, in a corner kick at 81, to reach 40 international goals.
The arrival of Flick has marked the reunion of the great group of Bayern Munich players with the coach who guided them to the coronation in the 2020 Champions League.
The two goals on Friday and seven of the 14 in Flick’s management, have been the work of players whom he managed at Bayern.
North Macedonia climbed from fourth to second with a 4-0 win over Liechtenstein. Armenia drew 1-1 with Iceland.