England cruised to a comfortable 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Scotland at Wembley on Friday, overcoming an uncertain start thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill.
The hosts led when Raheem Sterling’s blocked effort from the edge of the box fell to Kyle Walker, whose fine cross was headed home by Sturridge.
Scotland were made to pay for some missed chances early in the second half, as Lallana guided a superb header home from an arrowed Danny Rose cross.
Cahill was booked, meaning that he will miss England’s next qualifier, but that was forgotten soon after the hour when he scored England’s third to put the game beyond any doubt, heading Rooney’s corner past Craig Gordon.
Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet scored to rally France to a 2-1 win at home against Sweden and open a three-point lead over their opponents in Group A.
Emil Forsberg supplied Sweden with the lead in the 54th minute with a free kick from over 30 yards out that wrong-footed France keeper Hugo Lloris.
But Pogba brought Les Bleus back level within three minutes when he headed home Payet’s free kick despite Albin Ekdal’s attempt to hold the Manchester United player down.
And Payet put them ahead on 65 minutes, tapping home after Sweden keeper Robin Olsen mishandled the ball following a cross.
Netherlands are third on four points, six points behind France, and travel to Luxembourg on Sunday.
A Serge Gnabry hat trick helped Germany remain on top of Group C with an emphatic 8-0 defeat of San Marino at the Olimpico di Serravalle.
The defending world champions scored early and often against the last-placed side, with Sami Khedira breaking the deadlock in the seventh minute. Gnabry quickly followed with his first two minutes later and Jonas Hector added a third in the 32nd.
The goals kept coming after the break and Gnabry nabbed his second 13 minutes after the team talk. Hector had his brace seven minutes later and Gnabry completed his hat trick a quarter-hour from time.
Germany were not done, however, and a Mattia Stefanelli own goal gave them a seventh before Kevin Volland completed the lopsided scoreline five minutes before the final whistle.
The victory gives first-place Germany a perfect 12 points from four matches, while tiny San Marino remain in search of their first point in qualifying.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland breezed by Azerbaijan 4-0 to assume second place behind the Germans in the group.
Goals from Kyle Lafferty in 27th minute and Gareth McAuley in the 40th set the hosts on their way before the break.
Conor McLaughlin and Chris Brunt rounded out the rout in the second period for Michael O’Neill’s men, who now sit level on points with their opponents.
The Czech Republic jumped into fourth place with a 2-1 home win over Norway.
Michael Krmencik and Jaromir Zmrhal put the hosts in front after 47 minutes, while Joshua King earned Norway a consolation goal three minutes from time.
Robert Lewandowski escaped a firecracker scare and scored two late goals as Poland took the lead in Group E with a 3-0 victory in Romania.
Kamil Grosicki scored a fine goal on 11 minutes as he took the ball on the halfway line and ran past defenders before shooting in off the underside of the bar.
A firecracker apparently thrown from the crowd went off near Lewandowski early in the second half, but after a 10 minute delay he recovered to put the game beyond doubt with a goal seven minutes from time, before a stoppage-time penalty.
Gevorg Ghazaryan struck deep into stoppage time as Armenia rallied from two goals down to grab a 3-2 win over Montenegro for their first points in Group E.
Montenegro went ahead in the 36th minute with a goal from Damir Kojasevic, and Stevan Jovetic needed just two minutes to chip the keeper and double the lead for his sixth goal for his country in the past eight games.
Artak Grigoryan reduced the lead to 2-1 five minutes after the interval on a solo effort that began in the middle of the field and was completed with a little bit of luck and help from Ruslan Koryan.
Varazdat Haroyan scored his first international goal to tie the match in the 73rd from close range, and Ghazaryan found the winner in the dying seconds with a long-range low shot from outside the area, giving Armenia their first victory in a competitive match since October 2013 after 12 winless efforts.
Christian Eriksen scored twice as Denmark moved up to third in Group E by securing a 4-1 win against Kazakhstan.
Andreas Cornelius’ headed opener on the quarter-hour was quickly cancelled out by Gafurzhan Suyumbayev scoring the visitors’ only goal with a blast from 30 yards out.
But Eriksen restored Denmark’s lead with a 36th-minute penalty after Eldos Akhmetov fouled Cornelius, and after Peter Ankersen made it 3-1, Eriksen capped the scoring in stoppage time.
Slovenia are two points back of England in second place in Group F after a slim 1-0 win at Malta.
Benjamin Verbic found the only goal two minutes after half-time, running onto the end of a Jasmin Kurtic cross and putting it in with a fine back heel.
Slovakia are a further two points back in third after beat Lithuania 4-0 to leapfrog their opponents.
Adam Nemec opened the scoring with a header and Juraj Kucka’s 20-yard blast had the hosts two goals to the good inside the opening 15 minutes.
Martin Skrtel tapped home a third at the far post in the 36th minute after Vladimir Weiss’ free kick fell all the way through the box, and Marek Hamsik found a fourth goal with four minutes to play.