Germany and Scotland impress, England leave it late

Germany began their FIFA World Cup defence with a 3-0 win in Norway as the first European Qualifiers brought joy for Scotland and new England boss Sam Allardyce.

Thomas Müller (centre) enjoys his opening goal for Germany against Norway
Thomas Müller (centre) enjoys his opening goal for Germany against Norway ©AFP/Getty Images

Group C
Norway 0-3 Germany
There were no mishaps from Germany as they began their FIFA World Cup defence with a convincing victory in Oslo to make it 24 World Cup qualifiers without defeat. Thomas Müller may have been unable to find the net at UEFA EURO 2016, but he put that tournament behind him with a pair of goals, either side of setting up a first senior Germany strike for Joshua Kimmich.

There was no way through for the Czechs in Prague
There was no way through for the Czechs in Prague©AFP/Getty Images

Czech Republic 0-0 Northern Ireland
New Czech coach ‎Karel Jarolím endured a frustrating debut outing as the hosts struggled to make the most of their chances in Prague, particularly after cranking up the pressure in the second half. Filip Novák squandered the best of their openings just after the hour as Northern Ireland held firm for a seventh consecutive World Cup or EURO qualifier unbeaten.

San Marino 0-1 Azerbaijan
Ruslan Gurbanov enjoyed a day to remember as his maiden international goal sealed just a second competitive away win for Azerbaijan. The 24-year-old headed in on the stroke of half-time, and the home side's hopes of levelling with their first effort at the new San Marino Stadium took a hit when they lost Christian Brolli to a 52nd-minute red card.

Christian Eriksen got the only goal for Denmark
Christian Eriksen got the only goal for Denmark©AFP/Getty Images

Group E
Denmark 1-0 Armenia
Denmark clinched their first competitive triumph without Morten Olsen at the helm since 2000 as a superbly worked team goal made the difference. Christian Eriksen applied the finish for Åge Hareide's men, steering in a low shot from outside the area on 17 minutes, and he was only denied a second by a penalty save from Arsen Beglaryan after the break.

Kazakhstan 2-2 Poland
Poland looked to be cruising to an opening win after a strong start in Astana, Bartosz Kapustka registering the first goal in the European Qualifiers before Robert Lewandowski weighed in from the penalty spot. Sergei Khizhnichenko had other ideas, however, and rescued his side a point with a pair of second-half efforts.

Romania 1-1 Montenegro
Nicolae Stanciu had a penalty saved in the 97th minute as the hosts missed out on victory in a game that exploded into life in the latter stages, Stevan Jovetić blasting in an 87th-minute leveller for Montenegro just after Adrien Popa had finally broken the deadlock. Stanciu's miss denied Christoph Daum the boon of a victory in his opening test as Romania's first ever foreign coach.

Adam Lallana struck late for England
Adam Lallana struck late for England©Getty Images

Group F
Slovakia 0-1 England
Sam Allardyce kicked off his England reign with a win – but only just, after Adam Lallana wriggled free and struck in the fifth minute of added time for his first international goal. The Liverpool midfielder had earlier hit the post, while Theo Walcott had a goal disallowed, and Slovakia long seemed set for a repeat of their 0-0 draw with the Three Lions at UEFA EURO 2016, despite Martin Škrtel's 57th-minute dismissal. It was not to be.

Lithuania 2-2 Slovenia
Like Kazakhstan, Slovenia also pulled off a notable escape act, captain Boštjan Cesar earning a share of the spoils with a looping header three minutes into added time – after René Krhin had begun their fightback with 13 minutes remaining. Lithuania were left to rue dropped points after a blistering two-goal salvo from captain Fiodor Černych and youngster Vykintas Slivka in the space of two first-half minutes.

Scotland were comfortable victors in Malta
Scotland were comfortable victors in Malta©Domenic Aquilina

Malta 1-5 Scotland
Robert Snodgrass plundered Scotland's first hat-trick in a World Cup qualifier since 1969 to help Gordon Strachan's side post an eye-catching result. His first had a touch of luck to it, and Scotland were quickly pegged back by Alfred Effiong, but Chris Martin restored the lead and Snodgrass converted from the spot following Jonathan Caruana's red card. Substitute Steven Fletcher then headed in and Snodgrass completed his treble, before the hosts lost Luke Gambin to another sending-off.

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