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Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Germany down Scotland, Lafferty rescues Northern Ireland

SoccerNews in European Championships 7 Sep 2015

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Thomas Muller struck twice as Germany moved within touching distance of Euro 2016 qualification with a 3-2 win against Scotland at Hampden Park.

A breathless first half in Glasgow saw Muller score twice, either side of a Mats Hummels own-goal, only for James McArthur to send the sides in at the break level with a crisp half-volley.

Muller was again decisive as his cut-back found Ilkay Gundogan, who swept home a winner for Joachim Low’s men nine minutes into the second period.

The triumph means Germany remain top of Group D, while Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for a first major tournament since 1998 hang by a thread.

Republic of Ireland moved four points clear of Gordon Strachan’s men as they overcame Georgia 1-0 in Dublin, courtesy of Jonathan Walters’ second goal of the campaign.

Stoke City forward Walters notched from close-range in the 69th minute to settle an uninspiring contest, and enhance Irish hopes of sealing a play-off position at the least.

Poland made light work of Group D minnows Gibraltar – Robert Lewandowski, Kamil Grosicki and Arkadiusz Milik all grabbing braces in an 8-1 rout.

Northern Ireland would have sealed automatic qualification from Group F with a win over Hungary at Windsor Park, but the hosts had to settle for a 1-1 draw thanks to Kyle Lafferty’s 93rd-minute effort.

Richard Guzmics reacted quickest to Michael McGovern’s Lafferty, who now has seven goals in qualifying, reacted quickest to hammer home into the roof of the net after Niall McGinn’s strike had been parried into his path.

Romania’s 0-0 draw with Greece ensures Michael O’Neill’s men remain top of the pool, while the late Irish goal will have been music to the ears of Finland, who remain in with a shout of snatching third after a 10- win over Faroe Islands.

Miguel Veloso’s thumping stoppage-time header spared the blushes of Portugal team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in Albania, with the Real Madrid man having hit the post from three yards out early on in a 1-0 victory.

Albania had gone unbeaten in Group I, but they may have to settle for third place, although Denmark failed to pull away in second, drawing 0-0 with Armenia.

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