Romania moved into third place in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group D as a solid 4-0 victory in Andorra set up a tense final day of action on Friday night, uefa.com reports.
Romania had to wait to break through at the Estadi Comunal but finally took the lead four minutes before half-time, debutant Claudiu Keseru heading in a Bogdan Stancu cross. Stancu himself made it 2-0 from close range early in the second half, and the visitors stretched their advantage further when Adrian Rodrigues impeded Vlad Chiriches and Gabriel Torje converted the penalty. Torje then set up a crowning fourth goal for Costin Lazar, the midfielder heading powerfully into the net with five minutes left as Romania ensured they go into their crucial final fixture in good heart.
Victor Piturca’s side began the night in fourth place with 13 points, level with Turkey and a point behind Hungary. The latter’s 8-1 defeat away to already qualified the Netherlands, plus Turkey’s 2-0 success in Estonia, ensures the runners-up spot will be decided in the last round of matches on Tuesday, when Romania play Estonia in Bucharest, Turkey take on the Dutch and Hungary welcome Andorra.
With the Oranje already certain of finishing top of Group D, Van Persie’s treble took him to 41 goals, one more than current assistant coach Patrick Kluivert. Kevin Strootman, Jeremain Lens, Rafael van der Vaart, Arjen Robben and a Szilard Devecseri own goal completed a memorable 8-1 victory, with the visitors’ sole reply a Balazs Dzsudzsak penalty. After the hard defeat Hungarian coach Sandor Egervari has resigned.
Belgium, Switzerland and Germany qualified
The Netherlands and Italy became the first European teams to get to next summer’s finals last month and victories on Friday for Belgium, Switzerland and Germany ensured they joined them. Belgium needed a point against second-placed Croatia to secure top spot in Group A but a pair of first-half Romelu Lukaku strikes set them a 2-1 victory, rubber-stamping a first major championship appearance since 2002. Switzerland won 2-1 in Albania to clinch Group C while Germany confirmed their ticket to a 23rd successive final tournament with a commanding 3-0 home triumph over the Republic of Ireland.
Germany, Switzerland and Belgium are among seven sides still unbeaten in qualifying, but it was so nearly six as a Nicklas Bendtner-inspired Denmark led Italy 2-1 before Alberto Aquilani’s last-gasp equaliser. Holders Spain are also yet to lose and a 2-1 success over Belarus leaves them requiring a point against Georgia to seal progress.
England, impressive 4-1 winners against Montenegro, could finish the campaign unbeaten and still be ousted atop Group H as Ukraine breathe down their necks – only victory over Poland would guarantee qualification. At least Roy Hodgson’s men control their own destiny, likewise Russia (needing a point) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (three), who go into Tuesday’s matches knowing a trip to Brazil is theirs for the taking.