England fight back to beat Slovakia as Germany cruise, Northern Ireland win

England fought back from an early deficit to beat Slovakia 2-1 and take firm control of UEFA World Cup qualifying Group F on Monday night.

Slovakia needed just three minutes to take the lead at Wembley, with Stanislav Lobotka dispossessing Marcus Rashford before playing a clever one-two with Adam Nemec and then slotting the ball past Joe Hart.

But England managed to pull level after 37 minutes when Eric Dier met Rashford's corner at the near post and fired first time past Martin Dubravka.

And the hosts pulled ahead before the hour mark as Rashford picked up the ball from Jordan Henderson before taking a touch and rifling a low strike into the far corner from the edge of the box.

England now hold a five-point advantage over Slovakia atop the group and will qualify for Russia if they avoid defeat in their final two qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania.

Also in Group F, Scotland closed the gap on the top two and are now just one point back of Slovakia after beating Malta 2-0.

Christophe Berra gave Scotland the lead by heading home at the back post following a corner from Leigh Griffiths, who got on the scoresheet himself four minutes into the second half as he was on hand to tap home after James Morrison struck the post.

Slovenia also remain in contention, just ahead of Scotland on goal difference after a 4-0 win at home over Lithuania.

The first two goals came via penalties from Josip Ilicic, who converted in the 25th and 61st minutes, before Benjamin Verbic and Valter Birsa added late goals to push them past Scotland into third place.

In Group C, Timo Werner continued his amazing start to his international career as Germany maintained their 100 percent record with a 6-0 rout of Norway.

Mesut Ozil scored with his left foot for his first international goal in over a year to begin the onslaught in the 10th minute, before Julian Draxler added a second seven minutes later.

Werner added his brace before half-time -- both goals set up brilliantly by Thomas Muller -- giving him six goals in his first eight appearances for Germany.

Leon Goretzka added a fifth five minutes after the break and Mario Gomez wrapped it up in the 79th minute, with both goals coming from headers.

Germany stayed five points ahead of second-placed Northern Ireland, who secured second place and a likely playoff spot after a 2-0 win over Czech Republic.

Oliver Norwood put a half-cleared corner back into the box, where it was flicked on by Jonny Evans with his back to goal for the opening goal in the 28th minute.

Chris Brunt doubled the advantage shortly before half-time by curling a fine free kick around the wall and into the bottom corner.

Norway and the Czechs were both eliminated with the defeats, as were Azerbaijan despite a 5-1 win over San Marino earlier in the day.

Afran Ismayilov's brace led the way for the hosts, while Mirko Palazzi delivered just the second goal of the campaign for San Marino.

Poland remained top of Group E with a 3-0 win over bottom-side Kazakhstan.

Maciej Makuszewski headed a cross back across goal for Arkadiusz Milik to nod in for the opener in the 11th minute, and Kamil Glik added a second in the 74th minute by heading in a Piotr Zielinski corner.

Robert Lewandowski drew and converted a penalty four minutes from time, but Poland still only have a three-point lead at the top as contenders Denmark and Montegro both won to keep up the chase.

Thomas Delaney had a hat trick and Christian Eriksen added a goal from a free kick to carry Denmark to a 4-1 win away to Armenia.

The hosts actually had the lead when striker Ruslan Koryan sent a remarkable looping strike from distance past the reach of Kasper Schmeichel.

But Delaney, who scored his first international goal last week against Poland, equalised 10 minute later by heading home Henrik Dalsgaard's cross.

Eriksen stepped up to put Denmark ahead before the hour mark, and Delaney found two more goals late in the second half -- first a bullet from over 30 yards in the 81st minute, before completing his hat trick with a stoppage-time header.

Stevan Jovetic's second-half goal helped Montenegro secure a 1-0 victory against Romania.

Jovetic sent a powerful header into the net following an Adam Marusic cross in the 74th minute to keep Montenegro very much in contention to qualify with two games remaining.

Montenegro and Denmark have identical records on points, goal difference and goals scored ahead of their game in the next round on Oct. 5.