| Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring against Poland, on Wednesday. The match ended 1-1 |
London: Spain’s run of 24 qualifying wins was halted by France on Tuesday, while Germany spectacularly collapsed to let Sweden come back from a four-goal deficit to draw 4-4 in the campaign to reach the 2014 World Cup.
It was also a frustrating night for Cristiano Ronaldo as his 100th Portugal appearance ended in a 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland.
World and European champions Spain led through Sergio Ramos’ header, but Cesc Fabregas had a penalty saved before Olivier Giroud clinched a 1-1 draw for France.
Germany had been rampant against Sweden, storming to a 4-0 lead by the 55th minute, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic began Sweden’s comeback seven minutes later and Rasmus Elm netted an unexpected equaliser in stoppage time.
Italy, meanwhile, beat Denmark 3-1 despite playing most of the second half with 10 men, and the Netherlands maintained their perfect qualifying start with a 4-1 victory over Romania.
At Berlin, Sweden coach Erik Hamren was celebrating an ‘historical’ comeback that had seemed implausible as Germany ripped through his team in the first half.
Miroslav Klose scored in the eighth and 15th minutes, Per Mertesacker added another in the 39th and Mesut Oezil made it 4-0 in the 56th.
Ibrahimovic triggered the comeback and Mikael Lustig and Johan Elmander scored in the second half before Elm secured a valuable competition point with a goal two minutes into injury time.
This is the first time in the German Football Federation's 104-year history they have surrendered a four goal lead and this was the first time in three years Germany have dropped points in a qualification match.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s world class forwards were instrumental in a 2-1 away win over Chile on Tuesday that gave the visitors a three-point lead in the standings as the South American qualifying campaign takes a break until March.
Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain struck within minutes of each other half an hour into the match, taking their personal tallies to seven.