Spain and Italy stay strong, Iceland sink Croatia

Group G leaders Spain and Italy both triumphed on a night when Iceland struck late to stun Croatia and Serbia denied Wales, with wins elsewhere for Ukraine, Turkey and Albania.

Spain carved out a 2-1 victory away to FYR Macedonia
Spain carved out a 2-1 victory away to FYR Macedonia ©Getty Images

Group D
Serbia 1-1 Wales
Aleksandar Mitrović haunted Wales once again as he denied Chris Coleman's side a win for the second time in the qualifying campaign. The Newcastle striker struck late to earn Serbia a 1-1 draw in Cardiff last November and he repeated the trick in Belgrade after Aaron Ramsey had given Wales a first-half lead with a coolly taken penalty. Latching on to Aleksandar Prijovic's back-heel, the Serbia No9 finished inside the near post to keep Serbia top on goal difference ahead of the Republic of Ireland, with Wales four points back in third.

Jon Walters equalised for Ireland
Jon Walters equalised for Ireland©AFP/Getty Images

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Austria
A late equaliser from Jon Walters kept the home side unbeaten in Group D, and four points above their opponents. After a tight opening half-hour, the visitors struck first when David Alaba's low corner was cleverly dummied by Sebastian Prödl, allowing Martin Hinteregger to curl a first-time shot into the corner of the net. With ten minutes left, Shane Long's flicked header from a corner was cleared off the line by Stefan Lainer, but Austria were by no means safe. Instead, Walters muscled Aleksandar Dragović out of the way to run on to Robbie Brady's long ball and make it 1-1 with five minutes left.

Moldova 2-2 Georgia
Georgia pulled off a rousing recovery to stay a point clear of Group D bottom side Moldova, scoring twice in the final 25 minutes to salvage a draw. Moldova had looked on course to leapfrog the visitors after Radu Gînsari and Alexandru Dedov both struck in the first half, but substitute Giorgi Merebashvili halved the deficit with a low shot from the edge of the area before Valeri Kazaishvili restored parity via a deflected effort. Georgia almost registered again, Giorgi Arabidze firing against the crossbar with a spectacular attempt from distance.

Group G
FYR Macedonia 1-2 Spain
David Silva and Diego Costa both hit the target for Spain as the Roja kept themselves at the head of the standings on goal difference – though they were given something of a late scare as FYR Macedonia rallied in the closing stages. Silva swivelled and finished from close range from Jordi Alba's pass and Diego Costa turned in an Isco cross to give Spain a 2-0 lead after 27 minutes, but Stefan Ristovski responded with an eye-catching solo goal in the second half to ensure a little suspense before the final whistle.

Andrea Belotti was on target for Italy
Andrea Belotti was on target for Italy©Getty Images

Italy 5-0 Liechtenstein
Italy kept pace with Spain thanks to a comfortable win in Udine. The opening goal took until the 35th minute to arrive, Leonardo Spinazzola finding Lorenzo Insigne inside the penalty area; the Napoli striker flicked the ball up onto his chest and expertly volleyed it inside the far post. Insigne then slipped a pass through for Andrea Belotti to curl in a second, and Belotti himself turned provider for goal No3, his cross from the right volleyed in by Éder. Another substitute, Federico Bernardeschi, opened his international account from long range, before Spinazzola got his second assist with a low cross that Manolo Gabbiadini slotted in at the near post.

Israel 0-3 Albania
Armando Sadiku scored an excellent double as Albania moved ahead of Israel into third spot on goal difference following an impressive display. The Zürich forward grabbed his first with a crisp low strike from just outside the area on 22 minutes, and he scored from even further out to double the lead just ahead of half-time. Albania were not done there either, Ledian Memushaj rounding off a slick team move to keep Giovanni de Biasi's men within seven points of the top two.

Group I
Iceland 1-0 Croatia
Iceland moved level on points with their opponents at the top of Group I with a dramatic late victory in Reykjavik. Just as it looked like a tight contest was set to finish scoreless, Gylfi Sigurdsson's 90th-minute corner found Hordur Magnússon unmarked, and the ball struck the left-back's shoulder before looping into the net for the only goal of the game. Iceland have now won three of their last four qualifiers after inflicting Croatia's first defeat in the section.

Ukraine got the better of Finland
Ukraine got the better of Finland©AFP/Getty Images

Finland 1-2 Ukraine
Artem Besedin's maiden international goal sealed a valuable victory for Ukraine after Joel Pohjanpalo had given Finland hope. The visitors enjoyed the better of the chances in a tight first half and took the lead when Yevhen Konoplyanka finished from close range – but they were rocked when Yaroslav Rakitskiy headed against his own crossbar, allowing Pohjanpalo to nod in. Nevertheless, substitute Besedin stooped low to head in just three minutes later, keeping Ukraine in the qualifying picture in the upper reaches of Group I.

Kosovo 1-4 Turkey
Turkey are up to third in Group I, two points off leading pair Croatia and Iceland, after finally subduing a determined Kosovo. Volkan Şen – whose only previous international goal came in the reverse fixture in November – headed in Hasan Ali Kaldırım's left-wing cross at the near post to open the scoring, and although Amir Rrahmani nodded in from a Valon Berisha corner to level, Turkey were not to be denied. Cengiz Ünder's deflected header restored Turkey's advantage before the break, and both Burak Yılmaz and Ozan Tufan rounded off neat passing moves in the second period to clinch the points.