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World Cup Round-Up: Italy & Spain Draw, Iceland Execute Stunning Comeback

TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 06: Andrea Barzagli of Italy is challenged by David Silva of Spain during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Italy and Spain at Juventus Stadium on October 6, 2016 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

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The second round of European World Cup qualifiers began on Thursday night, with the tie of the night undoubtedly being the meeting of former World Cup winners Italy and Spain.

Since the two side met each other at Euro 2016, a game which Italy were the victors, both nations have changed their manager – Giampiero Ventura and Julen Lopetegui now manning the respective dugouts.

Spain took the lead through Vitolo ten minutes into the second half – a reward for their domination in possession – but were forced to share a point as a Daniele De Rossi penalty in the last ten minutes preserved Italy’s record of never losing a World Cup qualifier at home.

The other games in Group G saw Israel defeat Macedonia 2-1, and Albania record a 2-0 win in Liechtenstein.

In Group D, Wales and Austria played out a 2-2 draw in which the visitors led twice. Two goals from Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic were enough to earn a share of the points, with Wales’ goals coming from Joe Allen and a Kevin Wimmer own goal on the stroke of half time.

Elsewhere, a Seamus Coleman effort was enough to give Ireland a 1-0 at home to Georgia, while goals from Filip Kostic, Branislav Ivanovic and Dusan Tadic gave Serbia a 3-0 win away at Moldova.

Group D already looks like shaping up to being incredibly tight, as four teams now sit on four points after two games.

In Group I, Croatia recorded the biggest win of the night by beating Kosovo 6-0. A hat-trick from Mario Mandzukic, with further strikes from Matej Mitrovic, Ivan Perisic and Nikola Kalinic, gave the away side a comprehensive win.

However, easily the most exciting game of the night came from Iceland, with the hosts pulling off a stunning comeback. 2-1 down at home to Finland going into stoppage time, last-gasp strikes from Alfred Finnbogason and Ragnar Sigurdsson sent the stadium into raptures and infuriated the visitors as Iceland won 3-2.

Elsewhere in the group, Turkey played out a 2-2 draw at home to Ukraine, though they had to come from 2-0 down to do so.

The next round of fixtures from matchweek 2 takes place on Friday, with the likes of France, Portugal and the Netherlands all in action.

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Author: The PA Team

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