Former champions Germany, England and Italy got off to winning starts in their World Cup qualifying campaigns on Thursday while Spain were held to a frustrating 1-1 home draw by Greece.
Four-times winners Germany enjoyed a 3-0 win over Group J rivals Iceland in Duisburg thanks to goals from Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan.
Die Maanschaft took the lead after a delightful move as Joshua Kimmich found Serge Gnabry with a perfectly weighted pass and he touched it back for Goretzka to volley home in the third minute.
Havertz, playing in the false 9 role, made it 2-0 after another defence-splitting pass from Kimmich released Leroy Sane who squared it back for the Chelsea playmaker to curl in a low shot.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice and Ollie Watkins marked his debut with a goal as England crushed San Marino 5-0 at Wembley.
San Marino, who have never won a competitive game, held out for 13 minutes before James Ward-Prowse opened his England account with a smart finish and Calvert-Lewin made it 2-0 with a header.
Raheem Sterling made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark at which point it seemed England might run riot.
But San Marino’s mostly part-time players dug deep with Calvert-Lewin’s second goal the only addition to the score until substitute Watkins slotted in late on as England moved top of Group I.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy had a tougher task but also made a positive start with a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland in Group C.
Two goals inside the first 39 minutes from Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile settled Italy’s nerves as they look to banish the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
A frustrating night for Spain in Granada began promisingly when Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for the hosts after 32 minutes, moments after Dani Olmo had rattled the crossbar.
However, shortly before the hour mark, substitute Inigo Martinez – on for captain Sergio Ramos – was penalised for a rash tackle on Greek midfielder Giorgos Masouras.
Anastasios Bakasetas smashed the ball in from the spot to stun Luis Enrique’s side.
Robert Lewandowski struck a thunderous 83rd-minute equaliser as Poland fought back to earn a 3-3 draw with Hungary in a pulsating Group I game in Budapest.
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