Belgium, Italy, Serbia, Portugal, Croatia, Austria, Germany and England maintain perfect records after October's qualifiers as holders Sweden drew 1-1 with Spain.
Article top media content
- For the first time there will be 12 teams in the final tournament
- Hosts Poland will be joined by 11 qualifiers in the finals in June 2017
- The nine group winners qualify automatically
- The four runners-up with the best records against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their group will go into the play-offs for the remaining two berths
- FULL STANDINGS
- FULL FIXTURES
- Current top scorer: Michael Gregoritsch (Austria) 6 – all the statistics
Belgium stayed out in front after a 2-0 win against Malta took them onto a perfect nine points. Montenegro drew 3-3 in the Czech Republic after coming from 2-0 and 3-1 down and both teams are level with Malta on five points, one ahead of Moldova and Latvia, who won 3-0 in Orhei. The key game between the Czech Republic and Belgium is on 12 November.
Two sides have nine points from three matches: Italy, who prevailed 3-0 in Slovenia and beat the Republic of Ireland 1-0 this month, and Serbia, victors by 5-0 against Andorra and by 2-0 in Lithuania. Slovenia won 5-0 in Andorra and Ireland overcame Lithuania 3-0, and both winning teams are also on nine points – but from four fixtures. Serbia and Italy face off in Novi Sad on 13 November.
Iceland are top on 11 points from five games, this month winning 1-0 in Ukraine and drawing 0-0 in Scotland. France saw off Ukraine 2-0 and FYR Macedonia triumphed 2-1 in Northern Ireland on Tuesday and both are five points behind Iceland with two matches in hand. FYR Macedonia and France play on 15 November, with Iceland not in action again until 2016.
Portugal lead the way with three perfect wins, defeating Hungary 2-0 and prevailing 4-0 in Greece this month. Albania are second, four points adrift having played a game more – they drew 2-2 in Hungary – and just ahead of Israel, who have won and drawn their two fixtures but did not play in October. Next month Albania aim to avenge their 6-1 home loss to Portugal in September, and indeed emulate their senior team's heroics, when they travel to Arouca.
The last perfect record in the group was ended on Tuesday when Denmark squeezed past Bulgaria 1-0. Bulgaria have nine points from five outings, Romania nine from four, with Wales two back with at least one match in hand after drawing 0-0 in Denmark.
Croatia's 3-0 success in San Marino was their third victory out of three and they are now two points clear of Spain and holders Sweden, who drew 1-1 on Tuesday. The crucial encounter next month is Spain's 17 November trip to Croatia.
Austria's fine start continued as they thrashed Azerbaijan 7-0 for a third consecutive win after September triumphs in Baku and against Russia. Germany are also on nine points after their 6-0 stroll in the Faroe Islands followed a 4-0 beating of a Finland team who nonetheless are the third joint-leader having prevailed 1-0 in Azerbaijan on Tuesday. Russia, not in action this month after two September reverses, take on the Faroes and Azerbaijan in November, when Austria tackle Finland and Germany.
Slovakia, having already beaten Cyprus 2-0, won 3-1 in the Netherlands on Monday to join their hosts on six points from three matches. Belarus are also on that mark after prevailing 1-0 in Cyprus following their 2-0 home loss to Turkey, who are three points behind with a game in hand. The Netherlands have a chance to avenge their Slovak defeat when they visit Myjava on 17 November.
Norway and Switzerland share the lead after both won on Thursday and then drew 1-1 on Monday to move onto seven points – though the Swiss have played a game less. A point adrift, but having a further match in hand, are England, who overcame Kazakhstan 3-0 to climb to six points from two fixtures. In November, the games in hand are played as England travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina then welcome Switzerland to Brighton.