The third ticket, busy
Denmark is now the second European team to qualify mathematically for the next World Cup, beating Austria 1-0 yesterday to keep the perfect march in their group.
Joakim Maehle scored in the 53rd minute at Parken Stadium, and the Danish squad achieved their eighth consecutive win in the tie in Group F, where they have not conceded a single goal.
Denmark is the only team to have a perfect record in the European tie.
Germany were the first team from Europe to secure their passage to Qatar, guaranteeing first place in their group on Monday.
The Danish team have managed to qualify despite playing without star midfielder Christian Eriksen, who is recovering from cardiac arrest during a Euro Cup match. Despite that chilling episode, Denmark did a great job in the continental competition, reaching the semi-final round.
Also yesterday, Cristiano Ronaldo contributed another hat trick to extend his record for goals in national team matches to 115. It was the star’s 58th triplet in his career with clubs and with the Portugal team, which beat Luxembourg 5-0.
England will most likely advance to the World Cup, but will have to wait for now, following their 1-1 draw against Hungary at Wembley.
That match was marred by clashes between the police and Hungarian fans at the beginning. According to the authorities, a visiting fan made racist insults against a security employee, fueling the violence.
Last month, riots and racist expressions on the part of Hungarian supporters in the first match of the group stage played by both teams in Budapest led to Hungary receiving a sanction and playing a match behind closed doors.
Sweden overtook Spain in first place in Group B, beating Greece 2-0, while Switzerland overtook Italy on points in Group C, thanks to a 4-0 rout of Lithuania.
In Group A, Portugal has one point less than Serbia, who beat Azerbaijan 3-1 yesterday. However, the Balkans have played one more match.
Only the leaders of each group automatically advance to the World Cup. The teams located in the second place must play a playoff.
Denmark took an unreachable seven-point lead over Scotland, who are still on track to clinch second place and a passport to the playoffs, which will take place in March.
The Scots were close to filling the patience of the fans who watched on TV, winning only 1-0 in their visit to the Faroe Islands, with a goal from Lyndon Dykes in the 86th minute.
Austria is also fighting for the playoffs, which will distribute three invitations to the World Cup. If it is not second in the group, it could receive one of the two places awarded to the teams that won its group in the Nations League last year.
Meanwhile, Cristiano reached 10 goals with the Portuguese team, which totals 16 points, by 17 for Serbia.
The Serbs visit Portugal in November for their final group stage match. Before that, the Portuguese squad will play in Ireland.
“We had three finals left and we have won the first,” said Rui Patricio, who made 100 appearances with the team. “Now we have two left.”
For its part, Sweden is now two points ahead of Spain. Each team has two commitments left, scheduled for next month.
Both countries will collide in Spain.
Greece, which is in third place, saw their playoff chances hurt when they fell in Stockholm. Now it has four points less than the Red.
Georgia beat Kosovo 2-1 in the other key match.
In addition, Switzerland set the stage for a key clash against Italy.
The victory of the Swiss national team allowed them to catch up with the Azzurri, facing the last two dates, scheduled for next month, including the crucial duel of the 12 in Rome.
Italy is the leader thanks to their goal difference. After receiving Switzerland, the Italians will go to Northern Ireland, while their rivals close receiving Bulgaria.
For its part, the meeting between England and Hungary was not the only one of this group that was stained by violence. The members of the Polish team left the Albania court after being hit by a bottle from the crowd.
Karol Swiderski had just scored for Poland in the 77th minute when he was hit by a can thrown from the stands. This resulted in the game being interrupted for about 20 minutes, before Poland returned to the pitch to win 1-0.