Jorginho missed a last-minute penalty that would have put Italy on the verge of World Cup qualification, but the Azzurri are still narrow favourites to win Group C after a 1-1 draw with rivals Switzerland in Rome. With the teams level on points at the top of the group, victory would have given either side a vital edge going into their final games on Monday.
Switzerland got the perfect start when right-back Silvan Widmer opened the scoring after 11 minutes with a ferocious finish, shocking the home crowd at the Stadio Olimpico. His opposite number, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, equalised 10 minutes before half-time from Lorenzo Insigne’s clever free-kick.
The Euro 2020 champions dominated the second half but could not find a breakthrough, until the VAR awarded the hosts a penalty for Ulisses Garcia’s foul on Domenico Berardi. That gave Jorginho the chance to put Italy three points clear of the Swiss with a game to play – but the Chelsea midfielder blazed his effort over the bar. Italy still lead the group on goal difference, and travel to Windsor Park on Monday to face Northern Ireland. Switzerland host Bulgaria in Lucerne, hoping for an Italian slip-up.
With England needing only a point in San Marino to win Group I, Poland secured second spot with a 4-1 victory over Andorra. The minnows were reduced to 10 men inside the first 30 seconds after Ricard Fernández was sent off for elbowing Kamil Glik. Robert Lewandowski and Kamil Jozwiak struck to put Poland 2-0 up after just 11 minutes.
Marc Vales surprisingly pulled one back for the 10-man hosts before half-time, but Arkadisuz Milik restored the two-goal cushion after the restart. Matty Cash came off the bench for his Poland debut before Lewandowski made the points safe with his second. Hungary eased to a 4-0 win over San Marino, with Dominik Szoboszlai scoring twice in Budapest.
In Group F, already-qualified Denmark finally conceded their first goal of the qualifying campaign as Klaemint Olsen grabbed an 89th-minute consolation goal for the Faroe Islands. Denmark were already 2-0 up by that point, and Joakim Mæhle added a third in stoppage time as the hosts earned their ninth win out of nine.
In the group’s other match, Austria ran out 4-2 winners over Israel despite going behind in Klagenfurt. Nir Bitton fired the visitors in front at half-time, but Louis Schaub’s double turned the game around. Austria are fourth in Group F but will take part in the qualifying play-offs, as a result of their Nations League performance.