Germany and England moved within touching distance of the finals but there is still all to play for in Group E after victories for Poland, Denmark and Montenegro.
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- Germany maintain perfect Group C record with eighth win
- Poland stay three points clear of Montenegro and Denmark in Group E
- England extend Group F lead to five points by beating Slovakia
- How the groups stand: who's on course to qualify?
Three goals in the opening 23 minutes set the world champions on course for an impressive victory in Stuttgart. Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler and Timo Werner were all on target, with Werner grabbing his second of the night before half-time – his sixth in eight caps. Headers from second-half substitutes Leon Goretzka and Mario Gomez sealed Germany's eighth win from eight in Group C.
The hosts secured a top-two spot in Group C with two games to spare in impressive style in Belfast. Jonny Evans, winning his 63rd cap, headed in only his second international goal before Chris Brunt's free-kick gave Michael O'Neill's side breathing space before half-time. There was no way back for the Czech Republic, who went into the game with hopes of a play-off spot.
Azerbaijan scored five goals in a game for the first time in their history as they eased past San Marino. Afran Ismayilov struck twice as the hosts earned a third group win and moved on to ten points – both records for any qualifying campaign in their history. The scoreline also equalled their record winning margin in any match.
Poland remain three points clear in Group E after seeing off a lively Kazakhstan in Warsaw. Arkadiusz Milik's first ever World Cup qualifying goal gave them an early fillip but they had to wait until the 74th minute to add a cushion, Kamil Glik powering in a header for his first international goal since 2014. Robert Lewandowski's late penalty, his 12th goal in eight qualifiers, added further gloss.
Stevan Jovetić's seventh goal of the campaign ensured Montenegro remained three points adrift of the leaders. The Monaco forward expertly glanced Adam Marušić's cross past Ciprian Tătăruşanu with 15 minutes remaining to settle a tight contest in Podgorica and set up a crucial home game against Denmark, with whom they share an identical record, on 5 October.
Denmark kept up the pressure on Poland with in-form duo Thomas Delaney and Christian Eriksen downing Armenia. The visitors were rocked early on when Ruslan Koryan fired in from 25 metres but Delaney steadied their nerves by heading in Henrik Dalsgaard's 17th-minute cross. Eriksen's sixth goal in qualifying, a curling free-kick, completed the first-half turnaround before Delaney rounded off his hat-trick with a thumping drive and added-time header.
Marcus Rashford was involved in all three goals as England came from behind to defeat Slovakia and move five points clear atop Group F. The Manchester United forward was dispossessed early on by Stanislav Lobotka, who exchanged passes with Adam Nemec before beating Joe Hart. Eight minutes before the break, Rashford provided the corner from which Eric Dier levelled at the near post. The 19-year-old completed the turnaround just before the hour with a shot from outside the area.
Josip Iličić converted a penalty in each half as Slovenia closed to within a point of second-place Slovakia. Benjamin Verbič sealed the points eight minutes before the final whistle, calmly chipping over the onrushing keeper, and there was still time for Valter Birsa to complete Slovenia's biggest win in two and a half years.
Scotland also moved within a point of second-placed Slovakia after a comfortable victory at Hampden Park. Right-back Christophe Berra got things started for the hosts – now unbeaten in their last four qualifiers – by heading in an early Leigh Griffiths corner. Griffiths doubled the lead four minutes into the second half, tapping in after James Morrison had struck the woodwork from a low Andy Robertson cross.