World Cup Qualifiers round-up: Croatia keep up chase but lose Corluka



Croatia held on to second place in Group 6, and maintained their distant pursuit of England, with a disjointed 1-0 win over Belarus, but they will be without Vedran Corluka for Wednesday's game at Wembley after he was sent off with 12 minutes remaining.

Already booked for a foul late in the first half, the Tottenham full-back collected a second caution for time-wasting as he dallied over the taking of a free-kick. Ivan Rakitic, playing only because of the injury to Luka Modric, got the game's only goal midway through the first half, his 30-yard drive deflecting in off Dmitry Verkhovtsov.

"We can go to Wembley and win again, but I am not saying we will win," Slaven Bilic, the Croatia coach, said. "We've already beaten England twice before, which very few teams if any have done in such a short space of time. They have won seven games out of seven, and they are on fire. I would swap the points that they have got for the points that we have got. But we are very confident. "

Penalties were the order of the day as Ukraine kept up their pursuit of England and Croatia with a 5-0 thrashing of Andorra in Kiev. Andriy Yarmolenko, the 19-year-old Dynamo Kiev striker, opened the scoring after 28 minutes, and Artem Milevski scored the second in added time before the interval. After the break it was all penaltie. Andriy Shevchenko put away his one in the 72nd minute, Milevski added his second goal from the spot in added time at the end of the match after a foul by Marc Vales and moments before the whistle Yevgen Seleznov, of Shakhtar Donetsk, added the fifth from another penalty after Vales handled a shot by Milevski.

Russia had two spot kicks, too, as they scored a 3-0 victory in St Petersburg over Liechtenstein, the minnows of group four, Wales's group. Roman Pavlyuchenko, the Tottenham striker, put away both of them in the first half after CSKA Moscow's Vasili Berezutsky had set the ball rolling.

Russia'a victory kept them on Germany's heels at the top of the group. Germany, who beat South Africa 2-0 in a friendly. They play at home on Wednesday against Azerbaijan, who lost 2-1 to Finland.

Spain continued their charge to the finals by beating Belgium 5-0 in La Coruna in group five. David Silva scored twice, as did David Silva, with Gerard Pique, once of Manchester United, adding the fifth.

News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore