World champions Germany cruised to a comfortable 4-1 victory over Azerbaijan to stay on track for a spot in next year’s football extravaganza after opening up a seven-point lead in Group C.
First-half goals from Andre Schuerrle, Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez put the visitors in control of the game in Baku with the hosts briefly equalising.
Schuerrle scored his second of the evening 10 minutes from time to give the Germans their fifth win in five qualifying matches.
Elsewhere Jermain Defoe justified his recall from the international wilderness by scoring the first goal as England downed Lithuania 2-0 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Substitute Jamie Vardy was also on target for Gareth Southgate’s side in a one-sided, dreary victory that kept England top of qualifying Group F with 13 points from five games.
England continue their qualification quest away to Scotland in June when they also face France in a friendly.
Up and down
Our up and down segment today features three players who stood out and a ‘once great’ national team who is in real danger of missing out on a second successive major international tournament following its failure to reach Euro 2016. Let’s take a look
Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon played his 1,000th senior game on Friday as Italy edged out Albania 2-0. The 39-year-old made his 168th appearance for his country, a 20-year international career which began in October 1997 when he played in a World Cup qualifier against Russia.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored two stunning goals and took his international tally to 70 as he led Portugal to an emphatic 3-0 win over Hungary on Saturday. The former Manchester United winger scored from 25 metres before smashing in a long-range free kick in the second half.
France beat Luxembourg 3-1 as Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe, earned his first cap when he replaced Dimitri Payet in the 78th minute. The 18-year-old came close to adding a fourth with a superb half-volley that was parried by goalkeeper Ralph Schon.
Netherlands coach Danny Blind was sacked on Sunday, less than 24 hours after a 2-0 defeat away to Bulgaria left the Dutch team facing a tough struggle to finish in one of the top two qualifying places in Group A.
Gianluigi Buffon will play his 1,000th professional game tonight!— All Football News (@AllFootballLive) 24 March 2017
A legend in the truest sense of the word 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/a4snuAEz7l
We might be wrong
Here you have our predictions, for some selected matches next weekend. How will they end? As you know we might be wrong so please send us your predictions, on the social networks, using #TheCornerScores.
Napoli 1-2 Juventus
Benfica 1-0 Porto
Ajax 2-1 Feyenoord
The Pogba dance
France midfielder Paul Pogba missed France’s 3-1 win over Luxembourg after suffering an injury in Manchester United’s win against FC Rostov in the Europa League. Jose Mourinho and his staff looked concerned on the touchline as the world’s most expensive player was forced off after the interval but this video should ease fears. Check out the Frenchman’s dancing skills and make sure you join us next week for another edition of the Corner. See you soon.
Pogba qui fait la PogbaDance en meme tps que ses freres à
jplusun</a>.<br>Imagine la meme avc les freres Vairelles 😭<br> <a href="https://t.co/hpB5foSjYp">pic.twitter.com/hpB5foSjYp</a></p>— Jason Tatane (TedWilip) 20 March 2017