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England thump Hungary; Spain shocked

England moved five points clear at the top of World Cup qualifying Group I after a comfortable 4-0 win over Hungary at the Puskas Arena on Thursday.

England thump Hungary; Spain shocked

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  4 Sep 2021 4:23 AM GMT

World Cup qualifiers

  1. Sweden hand Spain first WC qualifying defeat since 1993
  2. Italy equal European unbeaten record in draw with Bulgaria
  3. Lukaku at the double as Belgium recover to outclass Estonia
  4. Germany grind out 2-0 qualifying win over Liechtenstein
  5. Lewandowski leads Poland to convincing win over Albania.

BUDAPEST: England moved five points clear at the top of World Cup qualifying Group I after a comfortable 4-0 win over Hungary at the Puskas Arena on Thursday.

Raheem Sterling put England ahead in the 55th minute, after a frustrating first half, slotting home a low pull-back from Mason Mount.

Sterling was the provider for England's second eight minutes later, when his deflected cross was headed in by a stooping Harry Kane.

Harry Maguire made it 3-0 in the 69th minute with a header from a Luke Shaw corner and Declan Rice added the fourth with a shot from outside the box which got through the body of keeper Peter Gulacsi.

Hungary, already facing two games behind closed doors in UEFA competition after incidents at their national stadium during Euro 2020, could face sanctions from FIFA after fans threw objects at England players on two occasions.

Sweden recovered from a goal down to hand Spain their first World Cup qualifying defeat for 28 years with a shock 2-1 victory.

Alexander Isak and Viktor Claesson produced sumptuous finishes to cancel out Carlos Soler's early goal for the Euro 2020 semi-finalists and move Sweden top of Group B.

Sweden moved onto nine points with three wins from three games, while Spain dropped to second with seven points having played a match more.

Italy made it 35 games unbeaten to equal the European record run set by Spain but were ultimately disappointed as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Bulgaria in their Group C World Cup qualifier.

In their first match since winning the European Championship in July, Federico Chiesa wasted no time in putting Italy ahead, arrowing home a fine finish with 16 minutes on the clock.

However, Atanas Iliev struck an equalizer against the run of play five minutes before the break, the first goal Italy have conceded in their World Cup qualifying campaign to date.

It was one-way traffic in the second half as the home side went in search of a winner but, apart from Ciro Immobile's effort from a tight angle that was cleared off the line, Roberto Mancini's side did not look like scoring again.

Despite the draw, Italy remain in a strong position to reach next year's World Cup in Qatar, sitting top of the group on 10 points from four matches, four points clear of Switzerland in second albeit having played two games more.

Italy next face Switzerland on Sunday in Basel, while Bulgaria host Lithuania.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium overcame an early scare to crush Estonia 5-2 away and solidify their position at the top of World Cup qualifying Group E.

Lukaku took his record to 66 goals for his country on his 99th appearance after Belgium were shocked when Estonia captain Matthias Kait stole the ball in midfield and thundered home a powerful shot to put the hosts ahead in the second minute.

But FIFA's top-ranked team fought back to reach 10 points ahead of second-placed Czech Republic on seven points also from four games. Estonia are bottom without a win from three games.

Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel and substitute Thomas Foket also scored for Belgium while Erik Sorga got a consolation for the home side.

Belgium have a much tougher assignment against the Czech Republic in Brussels on Sunday, while Estonia's next qualifier is away to Wales on Wednesday.

New Germany coach Hansi Flick got his reign off to a winning start as Timo Werner and Leroy Sane scored in a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein in their Group J match, but once again the Germans struggled in front of goal.

Former assistant Flick took over following Germany's Euro 2020 exit after a 2-0 last-16 defeat by England and the departure of manager Joachim Loew, but the inconsistency that has been his side's hallmark of late remained.

After they suffered a shock loss to North Macedonia in March, the Germans are second in the group on nine points after four games, one behind leaders Armenia. Liechtenstein are bottom with no points and one goal scored with 12 against.

Robert Lewandowski led Poland to an emphatic 4-1 win over Albania as Paulo Sousa's side climbed to second in World Cup qualifying Group I.

Talismanic captain Lewandowski opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a close-range header, but Albania equalised 13 minutes later when a long pass from Klaus Gjasula found striker Sokol Cikalleshi and he put the ball past Wojciech Szczesny.

Poland regained the lead against the run of play just before halftime through a header from New England Revolution forward Adam Buksa, who scored on his debut.

Nine minutes into the second half, Grzegorz Krychowiak tapped in a pass from Lewandowski, after the Bayern Munich striker had dribbled past three Albania players.

Just before the final whistle, Karol Linetty fired the ball in off the crossbar to secure a convincing win for Poland.

The victory, only the second one under Sousa since he took charge in January, sent Poland up to second place in Group I after four games alongside Hungary on seven points, five behind leaders England. Agencies

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