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European World Cup qulaifiers: England, Spain and German romp to big victories

Jesse Lingard (left) celebrates with Bukayo Saka
(Image credit: N/A)

England, Spain and Germany recorded big wins in European World Cup qualifying on Sunday, while Italy were held to a second consecutive draw which saw them equal the international record of 36 unbeaten games.

England 4:0 Andorra

Birthday boy Bukayo Saka scored at the end where he endured penalty shoot-out heartache as England beat Andorra in their first match at Wembley since the Euro 2020 final.

There was a carnival atmosphere under the arch before kick-off as fans showed their appreciation for an unforgettable summer, just 56 days on from the agonising spot-kick loss to Italy.

Much-changed England responded with a comfortable, if unspectacular, 4-0 victory against the side ranked 156th in the world, with Saka completing the scoring to bring a smile to Gareth Southgate’s face and millions across the nation.

While Jesse Lingard hit a brace – his first international goals since November 2018 – and substitute Harry Kane moved onto 40 international goals, there was no more popular scorer than the likeable winger.

Saka missed from the spot against Italy along with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford but showed great character in an impressive performance as he returned to Wembley on Sunday.

Not only did he assist both of Lingard’s goals but the Arsenal player also celebrated his 20th birthday with a headed effort as England’s 100 per cent World Cup qualification record continued with ease.

Saka gave his shirt to a fan at the end of a game that started with fans unfurling a banner reading ‘Walk Tall’ in support of those that had missed penalties against the Azzurri.

Belarus 2-3 Wales

Gareth Bale ended his two-year Wales scoring drought as his hat-trick secured a thrilling 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over Belarus in Kazan.

Gareth Bale ended his two-year Wales scoring drought as his hat-trick secured a thrilling 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over Belarus in Kazan.

But the Real Madrid forward struck twice from the penalty spot before his dramatic stoppage-time winner broke Belarus hearts, Vitali Lisakovich and Pavel Sedko having scored in the space of two first-half minutes to turn the clash on its head.

Switzerland 0:0 Italy

Italy equalled the international record of 36 unbeaten games but were held to a draw in Switzerland that keeps World Cup qualifying Group C in the balance.

The European champions were the better side but also wasteful, with Jorginho seeing a second-half penalty saved.

Roberto Mancini's side top the group with 10 points, four points ahead of the second-placed Swiss but having played two matches more.

Germany 6:0 Armenia

After labouring to a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein on Thursday, Germany rediscovered their ruthless edge in a 6-0 demolition of Armenia to reassert their authority in Group J.

Serge Gnabry netted twice in the opening 15 minutes and Marco Reus and Timo Werner both scored before the break as they dismantled the Armenian defence.

Jonas Hofmann added a fifth seven minutes after the break with a low bouncing drive, and substitute Karim Adeyemi put the icing on the cake with a goal on his international debut in stoppage time.

The win means the Germans leapfrog Armenia to the top of the group, with their visitors now two points behind in second spot. Romania are third on nine points, one ahead of North Macedonia.

Spain 4:0 Gerogia

Spain got back to winning ways as they thrashed Georgia 4-0 to go top of Group B, although their place remains a precarious one.

Luis Enrique's side have 10 points from five games but have played two more than second-placed Sweden, who have a 100% win record from their three matches, which includes Thursday's 2-1 win over the Spanish.

On Sunday, Jose Gaya, Carlos Soler and Ferran Torres put the hosts in control as they showed no hangover from that loss in Solna - their first World Cup qualifying defeat in 28 years.

Pablo Sarabia added another after the break as Luis Enrique's side cruised to three points.