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World Cup 2022 qualifying – Sweden see off Spain, Italy held at home by Bulgaria, Germany back to winning ways

World Cup 2022 qualifying - Sweden see off Spain, Italy held at home by Bulgaria, Germany back to winning ways

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Sweden beat Spain 2-1 in World Cup qualifying to take over leadership of Group B.

Carlos Soler gave Spain a lead inside five minutes, but that effort was cancelled out by Alexander Isak inside 60 seconds – and the win was sealed when Viktor Claesson netted on 57 minutes.

The defeat ended Spain’s long unbeaten run in World Cup qualifiers, which stood at 66 games and dated back to 1993.

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Sweden are a perfect three from three, while Spain are on seven points from four games.

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European champions Italy were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Bulgaria.

Federico Chiesa was a star of Euro 2020 and he scored a brilliant goal, cutting in from the right and slotting home from the edge of the box on 16 minutes.

However, Bulgaria snatched a point against the Group C leaders thanks to Atanas Iliev’s goal on 40 minutes. The draw extended Italy’s unbeaten run to 35 games.

Northern Ireland boosted their chances of qualifying from Group C as they thrashed Lithuania 4-1.

Belgium fell behind to a Mattias Kaeit goal inside two minutes, but Roberto Martinez’s side shook off the setback to run out 5-2 winners.

Romelu Lukaku helped himself to two goals, while Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsell and Thomas Foket were also on target as they moved on to 10 points from four games in Group E.

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Czech Republic secured a battling 1-0 win over Belarus to move second behind Belgium on seven points. The top two meet on September 5.

Timo Werner and Leroy Sane were on target for Germany in their 2-0 win over Liechtenstein.

The win moves Germany within a point of Group J leaders Armenia who drew 0-0 at North Macedonia, while Romania won 2-0 at Iceland.

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