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Unbeaten Republic of Ireland inch closer to 2018 World Cup with win over Austria


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Unbeaten Republic of Ireland inch closer to 2018 World Cup with win over Austria

The Republic of Ireland boosted their chances of reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia after they beat Austria for the first time since 1963 to move top of qualifying Group D.

James McClean struck a fine winner to leave Martin O’Neill’s unbeaten men with 10 points, two clear of early pacesetters Serbia who scored late on to draw 1-1 with Wales who are third on six points.

Four-time world champions Italy picked up a third win from their opening four Group G matches when they thumped Lichtenstein 4-0 – Andrea Belotti scored twice for the Azzurri while Ciro Immobile and Antonio Candreva completed the rout.

Italy are on ten points along with 2010 champions Spain who defeated Macedonia also by four goals to nil.

Isreal brushed aside Albania 3-0 to sit third one point adrift.

Marcelo Brozovic scored twice to help Croatia beat Iceland 2-0 in Zagreb.

The Game was played in an empty national stadium due to numerous cases of spectator unrest.

Croatia obviously didn’t need the support and they are now two points clear at the top of Group I with Ukraine moving above Iceland into second following their 1-0 win over Finland.

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