World Champions Germany were handed an easy 2-0 win against Northern Ireland in their Group C tie of World Cup Qualifiers, while England, coached by Gareth Southgate, were able to settle for a goalless draw in Slovenia. Meanwhile, a Messi-less Argentina slumped to defeat against Paraguay on Tuesday.
Easy pickings for Germany
Germany maintained their 100 per cent record in Group C after strolling to a 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Northern Ireland in Hannover on Tuesday. Following their impressive 3-0 win over
Wolfsburg's Julian Draxler, who was in the starting XI for injured Mario Gomez, fired the World Champions into the lead in the 13th minute. Four minutes later, midfielder Sami Khedira headed home, and it was enough to put the game to bed as Northern Ireland hardly threatened on the offensive.
England's struggles continue
After the controversial sacking of Sam Allardyce, England looked lacklustre under interim manager Gareth Southgate as their trip to Slovenia ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Southgate's decision to drop captain Wayne Rooney from the starting XI did little to improve things for the Three Lions and they had
Hart, currently on loan at Torino from Manchester City, rescued England on several occasions with a string of superb saves including a swerving drive from Jasmin Kurtic a few minutes into the second half. Daniel Sturridge's shot off a Dele Alli through ball pass late into the second half was the only good chance England had in the entire match as Rooney's introduction in the 70th minute did not help their cause. Despite the draw, England
No Messi, No Party
Having declared himself fit after sustaining a calf injury during training, Sergio Aguero failed to make an impact as his spot-kick in the 47th minute was saved by Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar. With the defeat, Argentina
While Argentina struggled without their talisman, their South American rivals Brazil cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Venezuela without suspended Neymar to move to the top of the World Cup qualifying standings. Brazil's in-form forward Gabriel Jesus put them in the front with a crisp first-half finish, while Chelsea's Willian secured the points eight minutes after the interval as Brazil jumped a point clear of Uruguay.
Among other qualifiers, Martin Skrtel-led Slovakia thumped Scotland 3-0 as Robert Mak's double secured their first win of 2018 World Cup qualifying in Trnava.