Germany hit seven as Kane saves England’s blushes
Germany ran up an expected goal avalanche in thrashing San Marino 7-0 as Harry Kane celebrated his first start as England captain with a late equaliser to deny Scotland on Saturday.
Having already trounced San Marino 8-0 in the reverse fixture, Germany’s almost second string line-up quickly set about running up another rugby score in Nuremberg.
Julian Draxler opened the scoring on 11 minutes before a brace from Sandro Wagner had the Germans 3-0 up before the half hour mark.
Amin Younes added the fourth seven minutes before the break while Shkodran Mustafi added a fifth two minutes after the restart.
Julian Brandt made it six 18 minutes from time before Wagner completed his hat-trick on 85 minutes as Germany continued their perfect start to qualifying, a feat matched only by Switzerland in Group B.
In Glasgow, Kane marked his first match as captain with an equaliser three minutes into injury time in a match between old enemies that burst into life in the dying moments.
There had been little warning of what was to come during a largely uninspiring encounter that only started to warm up once English substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had given the visitors a 1-0 lead on 70 minutes.
But two sumptuous free-kicks from Leigh Griffiths in the final three minutes looked to have given Scotland a stunning turnaround victory.
Yet a first win over the English since 1999 was denied Gordon Strachan’s team deep into stoppage time as Kane fired home a cross from Raheen Sterling to earn a 2-2 draw.
“At 60 years old, that would have been the best result of my footballing career,” said Strachan.
“To do what they did was phenomenal. You can’t do any more than they did. It was like a middleweight fighting a heavyweight.”
It meant England avoided a first qualifying defeat since October 2009.
However, their lead at the top of Group F was cut to two points as Slovakia won 2-1 in Lithuania.
Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik scored the goals as Slovakia recorded a fourth win from six qualifiers.
Darvydas Sernas’s goal for the hosts came deep into injury time and too late to mount a desperate late comeback.
Slovenia also closed the gap to England to three points as Josip Ilicic and Milivoje Novakovic netted in a 2-0 win over Malta.
Germany’s five point lead atop Group C was maintained as Stuart Dallas scored two minutes into injury time to give Northern Ireland a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan in Baku.
Northern Ireland improved their grip on second place as the Czech Republic dropped four points behind after being held to a 1-1 draw in Norway.
Theodor Gebre Selassie opened the scoring for the Czechs nine minutes before half time but an Alexander Soderlund penalty 10 minutes after the restart snatched a draw for the hosts.
Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, as Poland kept their six point lead in Group E with a 3-1 victory over Romania.
Bogdan Stancu’s strike 13 minutes from time was too little, too late for the visitors.
Montenegro and Denmark remain locked on points in the battle for second place after respective victories, 4-1 at home to Armenia and 3-1 in Kazakhstan.
Former Manchester City forward Stevan Jovetic, now at Inter Milan, also notched a hat-trick after Fatos Beqiraj had given Montenegro the lead in Podgorica.
Ruslan Koryan scored a late consolation for Armenia.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen scored from the spot as Denmark came away from the Kazakh capital with three points.
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