World Cup qualifying roundup: Spain, Italy nab wins; Bale scores two in blowout
Iceland took a step in proving its EURO run was no fluke, and Wales and Spain both cruised as a bevy of UEFA World Cup qualifying matches played out on Monday.
Ukraine 1-1 Iceland
Yehven Konoplyanka missed a penalty with just a few minutes to play, and Iceland narrowly avoided tossing away a point on the road. The EURO darlings looked pretty good in opening up a fifth minute lead through Alfred Finnbogason, but Andriy Yarmolenko equalized before halftime.
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Finland 1-1 Kosovo
Playing its first ever World Cup qualifier only hours after learning several players were eligible, Kosovo picked up an emotional point on the road. Paulus Arajuuri gave Finland an early lead, but Valon Berisha converted a 60th minute penalty to give Kosovo its first competitive goal... and point. There will be lots of hope and happiness in Kosovo.
Wales 4-0 Moldova
It wasn’t expected to be close, and really wasn’t despite Wales not opening the scoring until the 38th minute through Burnley’s Sam Vokes. Joe Allen scored before halftime to add comfort, and Gareth Bale added a pair of second half goals as Wales scooped up a cozy three points.
Spain 8-0 Liechtenstein
Three Spanish stars bagged braces, with much-maligned Chelsea man Diego Costa, Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, and Man City’s David Silva each scoring twice. Vitolo Perez and Sergi Roberto also found the back of the net in the blowout.
Israel 1-3 Italy
A quality win against a tricky team on the road, Italy opened up with a Graziano Pelle 14th minute goal and added a pen from Antonio Candreva to take a 2-0 lead, nailing the door shut with a Ciro Immobile 83rd minute goal.
Georgia 1-2 Austria -- Visitors bag two-goal lead, hold on
Serbia 2-2 Ireland -- New NUFC man Murphy grabs late equalizer
Croatia 1-1 Turkey -- Played in empty stadium
Albania 1-1 Macedonia -- Abandoned (weather) with 10 to go.