World Cup Qualifiers: Ukraine’s win keeps dream alive and puts Poland out of the picture

 

Ukraine kept up the pressure on England at the top of Group H but also ensured Roy Hodgson’s side will face an eliminated team on Tuesday when they beat Poland 1-0 in Kiev last night.

The Ukrainians looked nervous in the first half with the visitors missing two good chances but settled when Andrei Yarmolenko gave them the lead in the 64th minute. The Dynamo Kiev striker was picked out in the penalty area by Yevhen Konoplyanka before curling the ball into the top corner of the net.

However, Ukraine rode their luck 10 minutes from the end when Robert Lewandowski, who had a shot cleared off the line earlier, headed over from close range.

Mesut Özil got on the scoresheet as Germany confirmed their place in Brazil next year with a 3-0 victory over managerless Republic of Ireland in Cologne.

The Arsenal midfielder struck two minutes into stoppage time at the Rhein Energie Stadium after Sami Khedira and André Schürrle had scored either side of the break to finally kill off caretaker manager Noel King’s stubborn and much-changed Irish side, who hit the bar through Ciaran Clark at 1-0.

Özil’s late contribution was harsh on Republic goalkeeper David Forde, who had to pull off a string of fine saves, the best of them from Schürrle and Thomas Müller.

Wales looked to have earned some breathing space for under-pressure manager Chris Coleman as they moved off the bottom of Group A with a 1-0 victory over Macedonia in Cardiff.

The Welsh, missing 11 players from Coleman’s initial squad selection, ground out a first win in five games thanks to Simon Church’s close-range finish in the 67th minute, before the otherwise excellent Aaron Ramsey failed to convert a penalty.

Goran Pandev and Nikolce Noveski spurned two excellent chances for the visitors, but they could not find an equaliser and deny Craig Bellamy  victory in his final home game in a red shirt.

Belgium reached their first World Cup finals since 2002 after on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku scored two superb individual first-half goals to earn a 2-1 victory in Croatia.

Lukaku, who was replacing Aston Villa’s injured Christian Benteke, struck in the 15th and 38th minutes in Zagreb. For the first Steven Defour fed the striker and he raced clear of centre backs Vedran Corluka and Dejan Lovren before rounding keeper Stipe Pletikosa. The second was even better,  having chipped the ball over Lovren inside his own half, Lukaku galloped past midfielder Mateo Kovacic, rounded the advancing Pletikosa and walked the ball into an empty net.

Switzerland also booked their place in Brazil with a 2-0 win in Albania, Granit Xhaka  and Michael Lang getting the goals for Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side. Bosnia are on the brink of their first World Cup finals, Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko scoring twice in a 4-1 home victory over Liechtenstein that means a win in Lithuania on Tuesday will secure qualification.

Robin van Persie became the Netherlands’ all-time top scorer when the Manchester United striker got a hat-trick in the 8-1 thrashing of Hungary in Amsterdam. Van Persie now has 41 international goals, one more than Patrick Kluivert.

Nicklas Bendtner struck twice for Denmark but his goals were not enough to beat already-qualified Italy, who snatched a point from a 2-2 draw with Alberto Aquilani’s injury-time equaliser. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late winner secured a play-off place for Sweden as they beat Austria 2-1 in Stockholm, while Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema finally ended his long scoring drought for France in their 6-0 friendly win over Australia.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
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

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride