World Cup round-up: Zlatan’s back, Spain and Poland held

World Cup round-up: Zlatan’s back, Spain and Poland held

by Emily Smith
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic toasted his first Sweden appearance in five years by setting up Viktor Claesson’s goal in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Georgia.

The 39-year-old broke down in tears earlier in the week when weighing up his decision to come out of international retirement.

The AC Milan striker quit after Euro 2016, but has now made a surprise return to the Sweden ranks – and required just 35 minutes to claim an assist.

Ibrahimovic also became the oldest player to represent Sweden, breaking the record of 38 years and 59 days held by former goalkeeper Thomas Ravelli.

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz, Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan and Leon Goretzka of Bayern Munich hit the net as Germany overwhelmed Iceland 3-0.

Serge Gnabry teed up two of the goals, with his Bayern team-mate Leroy Sane laying on the other.

Germany’s comfortable win set a new national record of 17 consecutive World Cup qualifying victories.

Anastasios Bakasetas’ penalty helped Greece frustrate Spain and hold their hosts to a 1-1 draw in Granada.

Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for the 2010 World Cup winners just past the half-hour mark, but the visitors clawed their way back to level terms and held on for a share of the spoils.

Robert Lewandowski rescued Poland a 3-3 draw against 10-man Hungary, netting a late goal to drag his side back from the brink of defeat.

Krzysztof Piatek and Kamil Jozwiak were also on target for Poland, while Roland Sallai, Adam Szalai and Willi Orban struck for the hosts.

Hungary defender Attila Fiola was sent off in added time, after Lewandowski had thwarted the hosts’ chances of victory.

Rangers striker Ianis Hagi snatched Romania a dramatic 3-2 victory over North Macedonia by plundering a late winner.

Florin Tanase and Valentin Mihaila had put Romania into a commanding 2-0 lead, only for Arijan Ademi and Aleksandar Trajkovski dragged the visitors back into the contest in the closing stages.

Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile were on the scoresheet as Italy beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in Parma, as the Azzurri extended their World Cup qualifying unbeaten run to 23 matches.

Ermir Lenjani struck to hand Albania a 1-0 victory in Andorra, while Noah Frommelt’s own goal handed Armenia a 1-0 win on the road over Liechtenstein.

The Faroe Islands battled to a 1-1 draw in Moldova thanks to Meinhard Olsen’s late effort, after Ion Nicolaescu’s early strike had seen the hosts lead for the majority of the contest.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagged a brace while James Ward-Prowse, Raheem Sterling and debutant Ollie Watkins were also on target in England’s 5-0 win over San Marino.

John McGinn scrambled Scotland a 2-2 home draw with Austria, rescuing his side after a Sasa Kalajdzic brace had threaten to floor the hosts. Grant Hanley was also on target for the Scots.

Switzerland scored three goals in five minutes early on to defeat Bulgaria 3-1.

Breel Embolo, Haris Seferovic and Steven Zuber had the visitors in complete control just 12 minutes into the contest.

Kiril Despodov clawed one back for Bulgaria straight after half-time, but the Swiss still coasted to victory.

Martin Braithwaite and Jonas Wind struck either side of half-time to hand Denmark a 2-0 win over Israel.

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