Germany qualified for the 2022 World Cup by crushing North Macedonia 4-0 away on Monday to secure top spot in qualifying Group J with two games to spare.
A second-half double by Timo Werner and one goal each from Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala secured Germany's fifth win in their fifth game under new coach Hansi Flick and lifted them to 21 points, with Romania in second place on 13.
All group winners in European qualification automatically secure a place at the tournament in Qatar.
The Germans, who were eliminated in the first round of the 2018 World Cup and the last 16 at this year's Euros, had an early chance with a Thomas Mueller header.
But, as in their 2-1 home win over Romania on Friday, the Germans lacked precision with their final pass and finishing, creating only a handful of chances in the first half until Timo Werner hit the post with a low drive in stoppage time.
Germany, beaten 2-1 by North Macedonia in Duisburg in March, broke the deadlock in the 50th minute when Serge Gnabry split the defence with a superb through ball for Mueller and he laid it off for Havertz to tap in.
Forward Werner then scored twice in three minutes, first drilling in from another Mueller assist in the 70th and then curling a shot home from 15 metres three minutes later.
Substitute Musiala completed the victory seven minutes before the end with his first international goal.
As Germany became the first country to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, its former under-21 team coach was crying tears of joy after his first win in charge of Turkey. Stefan Kuntz was unable to keep his emotions in check after Burak Yilmaz’s penalty in the ninth minute of injury time earned Turkey a dramatic 2-1 win in Latvia to keep its qualification hopes alive.
In Rotterdam, Memphis Depay scored twice, had two assists and missed a penalty as the Netherlands overpowered Gibraltar 6-0 to remain on course for qualification, two points ahead of Norway and four points ahead of Turkey in Group G.
Croatia and Russia are assured of at least a playoff place after their respective results in Group H.
Group E: Belgium virtually assured of qualification
Belgium, which was involved in the Nations League at the weekend, would have qualified if Wales hadn’t beaten Estonia. But Kieffer Moore’s early goal for Wales was enough for a 1-0 win in Tallinn.
Wales stayed level on points with the Czech Republic, which defeated Belarus 2-0 away. The Czechs have played a game more, however.
Belgium is virtually assured of qualification being five points ahead. The Belgians next play Estonia on Nov. 13, when Wales hosts Belarus.
Group G: Deepay puts Netherlands ahead; Turkey stay in chase
Depay put his disappointing club season at Barcelona behind him with a productive night for the Netherlands against one of the world’s soccer minnows. His first goal against Gibraltar was his 13th of the year for Oranje, breaking the Dutch record of 12 in a calendar year by Patrick Kluivert.
The Netherlands moved to two points ahead of Norway, which defeated Montenegro 2-0 without injured star striker Erling Haaland.
Yılmaz’s late winner in Riga kept Turkey in the chase. Turkey next hosts Gibraltar on Nov. 13, when Norway hosts Latvia and the Netherlands visits Montenegro. The Netherlands plays Norway and Turkey visits Montenegro in the final round of games.
Group H: Slovakia holds Croatia, Russia moves to the top
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric scored from a free kick to salvage a 2-2 draw with Slovakia, and Russia capitalized with a 2-1 win over old rival Slovenia to move top of the group.
Dropping points means 2018 World Cup runner-up Croatia is likely to need a win over Russia next month to qualify automatically for the World Cup.
Slovakia needed a win to keep its qualifying hopes alive and can no longer qualify.
Also, Malta scored in the 98th minute to earn a point in a 2-2 draw with Cyprus.
Group J: Germany qualify, Romania moves to second spot
Germany booked its place at next year’s tournament in Qatar despite a tough game against the a rival that pushed it hardest in qualifying.
Kai Havertz broke the deadlock in the 50th minute before Chelsea clubmate Timo Werner’s quickfire double sealed the result. Jamal Musiala got the fourth goal for Hansi Flick’s team in the 83rd, set up by fellow substitute Karim Adeyemi.
Germany stretched its lead in the group to an unassailable eight points with two rounds of games remaining. Flick has overseen five wins since he took over from Joachim Löw after the summer’s European Championship.
Ionuţ Mitriță’s 26th-minute goal was enough for Romania to beat Armenia 1-0 in Bucharest.
Iceland defeated Liechtenstein 4-0 in the other group game.
Romania moved to second in the group on 13 points, one ahead of North Macedonia and Armenia on 12. Iceland has eight points and Liechtenstein one from a draw with Armenia in September.