INTERNATIONALS: SCHURRLE AND BELGIANS BOUND FOR BRAZIL.
Andre Schurrle scored on Friday night to help Germany book their place at the World Cup in Brazil next summer, joining Belgium who qualified earlier in the evening, and there were also positive results for Chelsea players representing England and the Czech Republic.
Germany only needed a point to guarantee a spot at the 2014 World Cup, but eased to a 3-0 home victory over the Republic of Ireland in Cologne. Sami Khedira put the hosts ahead early on before Schurrle doubled the advantage with a cool finish just after the interval. Arsenal's Mesut Ozil wrapped up the victory in injury time.
Belgium were the other European side to qualify for the World Cup tonight, inspired by Romelu Lukaku. Our striker, on loan at Everton, bagged a first-half brace in Croatia. Chelsea's three other Belgians, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, all started the game, with De Bruyne replaced just after the hour. The game finished 2-1, guaranteeing them top spot in Group A and a place in Brazil. It will be the Red Devils' first appearance at a World Cup finals since 2002.
Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill helped England to a 4-1 win against Montenegro at Wembley. Wayne Rooney and an own goal put England 2-0 ahead before Lampard was subbed in the 64th minute. Montenegro got a goal back but a long-range effort from Andros Townsend and a Daniel Sturridge penalty put the seal on a victory that ensures England's destiny remains in their own hands. With Ukraine also winning tonight, the Three Lions have to beat Poland on Tuesday to guarantee automatic qualification from Group H.
Petr Cech captained the Czech Republic in their 4-1 win in Malta, and with other results going their way, they still have a chance of grabbing second place in Group B. They will have to win in Bulgaria on Tuesday night and hope Denmark drop points at home to Malta to progress into the play-off round.
Branislav Ivanovic was also captain of his national side, Serbia, as they defeated Japan 2-0 in a friendly in Belgrade, both goals coming in the second half.
Juan Mata was an unused substitute as Spain edged closer to earning the right to defend their title in Brazil, beating Belarus 2-1 in Mallorca. The world and European champions need just a point from their final game on Tuesday, against Georgia in Albacete, to ensure they pip France to top spot in Group I.
Our young centre-back Andreas Christensen played the full 90 minutes as Denmark's Under-21 side fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Slovenia. Belgium's Under-21 side matched their senior side by winning on the road tonight, 1-0 in Northern Ireland, but Thorgan Hazard remained on the bench throughout.