Bianconeri World Cup qualifying results: Part 1
Despite having to pick the ball out of his net on one occasion, it would have had little importance on Wojciech Szczesny’s night, as Poland beat Armenia 6-1 away from home to all but confirm their place in Russia next year.
A hat-trick from Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, plus three more from Kamil Grosicki, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Rafal Wolski see Poland in top spot in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group E, and on 22 points.
The Poles host Montenegro in their last match, with any result other than a defeat guaranteeing them a place at the World Cup. In fact, even a loss would not spoil their chances, as long as Denmark do not pick up maximum points at home to Romania.
DRAW MATTERS LITTLE TO BRAZIL
Alex Sandro played the full 90 minutes as Brazil drew 0-0 away to Bolivia in La Paz. The result has no consequence on Brazil’s World Cup qualifying campaign however, with the five-time world champions still guaranteed top spot in the CONMEBOL table and a place at Russia 2018.
They conclude their group with a game at home to Chile, and will be looking to celebrate their first-place finish in style.
A DREAM COME TRUE FOR BENTANCUR
Rodrigo Bentancur got his just rewards after some fine displays for the Bianconeri, making his Uruguay debut as a 63rd-minute substitute in La Celeste’s 0-0 draw away to Venezuela. The draw keeps Bentancur’s team in second place, but a plane ticket to Russia is almost within their grasp. Their final match will be at home to second-bottom team, Bolivia.
STALEMATE FOR DYBALA’S ARGENTINA
Argentina endured a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Peru, with Paulo Dybala an unused substitute for Jorge Sampaoli’s men. The result means that Argentina are currently in sixth place, outside of automatic qualification and the group’s only play-off spot (fifth).
They play away to already eliminated Ecuador on the final matchday, at high altitude in Quito, where a win would guarantee them automatic qualification.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT FOR COLOMBIA
Colombia went down to a surprise 2-1 home reverse against Paraguay in Barranquilla. Juan Cuadrado played the first 63 minutes of the encounter.
Cuadrado and co. play away to in-form Peru in what will be a tricky last match and they will need to claim maximum points to be absolutely certain of reaching Russia.
NEXT UP ON THE INTERNATIONAL AGENDA
Tonight, Juventus stars Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Daniele Rugani and Federico Bernardeschi will be part of the Italy squad that faces Macedonia at Torino’s Stadio Olimpico in Italy’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
Also in action is Mario Mandzukic, as he and Croatia try to keep their top spot intact when they play away to Ukraine.
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