Mueller earns Germany comeback victory

Substitute Thomas Muller scored the winning goal as Germany recovered from a goal down to beat Romania 2-1 and continue their winning start under new coach Hansi Flick in World Cup qualifying.

The Germans, who have now won all four matches under new coach Hansi Flick, lead the standings in Group J with 18 points from seven matches, six ahead of North Macedonia and Armenia.

They could now seal their spot with a win over North Macedonia next week.

The hosts had the upper hand but it was the visitors who struck first with Ianis Hagi taking on two defenders, slipping the ball through the legs of Antonio Ruediger and then drilling in for the lead in the ninth minute.

Germany had possession and full control spending most of the first 45 minutes in the Romanian half, but lacked a clinical finish with Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka coming close.

Gnabry did find the deserved equaliser in the 52nd minute, firing in a low shot from the edge of the box for his 20th goal in his 30th international appearance.

The hosts kept combining well as Romania pulled back deeper into their own half and got the winner when Mueller, who had come on midway through the second half, tapped in at the far post after Goretzka headed on a corner in the 81st minute.

“We were engaged but it was not a good feeling going into the break at 1-0 down. We did get the two goals then,” Mueller said.

“We know that when we fall behind we can continue to trust each other and do the things that set out to do, and it is good to see it then reflected in the result. It was a good evening for us.”

In Riga, Davy Klaassen scored the only goal as the Netherlands beat Latvia 1-0 to solidify their position at the top of Group G as Turkey and Norway played out a 1-1 draw in Istanbul.

Midfielder Klaassen scored his eighth international goal in the 19th minute, easing into space and volleying home a corner from the right by Memphis Depay.

Croatia stayed on course to qualify automatically after goals from Ivan Perisic, Josko Gvardiol and Marko Livaja helped the 2018 runners-up to a 3-0 win at Cyprus in their Group H qualifier.

The result kept Croatia top on 16 points from seven games, ahead of Russia on goal difference after the Russians ground out a 1-0 home win over Slovakia.

A Daniel James strike helped Wales fight back to draw 2-2 with the Czech Republic in Prague after goalkeeper Danny Ward gifted the hosts a second-half lead.

Wales opened the scoring in the 36th minute but the Czechs responded less than two minutes later when Ward palmed an Antonin Barak shot into the path of Jakub Pesek who swept the ball into the net.

The Czechs took the lead just after the break when Ramsey played a simple back pass to Ward, who failed to control the ball and watched it dribble over the line.

Wales then levelled in the 69th minute when James drove a shot past Czech keeper Tomas Vaclik.

The Czechs have eight points from six matches in Group E, level with Wales but sit in second place behind leaders Belgium on goal difference.

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