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.

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea