Sweet 16 for Polish ace, Germans get perfect 10

PARIS • Robert Lewandowski scored a European qualifying record 16th goal as Poland defeated Montenegro 4-2 on Sunday to reach next year's World Cup, while reigning champions Germany secured a 10th successive win.

The Bayern Munich striker struck again in what has been a remarkable qualifying campaign as Poland recovered from throwing away a two-goal lead to secure a first trip to the World Cup since 2006.

"I was angry. We were leading 2-0 at home and then let them equalise for 2-2. We had to score that third goal to calm things down," said Lewandowski, who moved back ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo's 15-goal tally in the current World Cup qualification campaign.

Krzysztof Maczynski and Kamil Grosicki struck early as Poland made a dream start in Warsaw, but Montenegro hit back through goals from Stefan Mugosa and Zarko Tomasevic to pull level with just seven minutes left.

Lewandowski restored Poland's advantage on 85 minutes before a late own goal from Filip Stojkovic sealed victory, although Denmark's 1-1 draw with Romania ultimately rendered the outcome irrelevant.

The Danes needed to win in Copenhagen while hoping that Montenegro could upset Poland to finish top of Group E, but Ciprian Deac's late equaliser cancelled out a 60th-minute penalty from Christian Eriksen.

However, Denmark are at least assured of a place in the play-offs.

Germany made it 10 wins from 10 in Group C after routing Azerbaijan 5-1 in Kaiserslautern, to join Spain as the only nations in history to finish a European World Cup qualifying campaign with a perfect record.

Leon Goretzka's opening goal was negated by Ramil Sheydaev on 34 minutes but Sandro Wagner and Antonio Rudiger scored after half-time, before Goretzka notched his second and Emre Can completed the victory.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2017, with the headline 'Sweet 16 for Polish ace, Germans get perfect 10'. Print Edition | Subscribe