Slovakia wins three-way fight for WCup qualifying

October 09, 2017
Slovenia's Tim Matavz (foreground) is challenged by Scotland's Christophe Berra during the World Cup Group F qualifying match between Slovenia and Scotland, at the Stozice stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Slovakia won a three-way fight for second place in Group F of European qualifying for next year's World Cup thanks to a 3-0 victory over Malta and the 2-2 draw between Slovenia and Scotland, yesterday.

England, which was already sure of first place and an automatic berth in the tournament in Russia, beat Lithuania 1-0 to conclude an undefeated campaign with 26 points from a possible 30.

Slovakia finished ahead of Scotland on goal difference and must wait to see if it has clinched a place in the play-offs, containing the eight best runners-up from the nine groups. The group stage finishes tomorrow.

The Scots started the final round in second place and would have guaranteed a play-off spot with a victory in Ljubliana.

They went 1-0 up through Leigh Griffiths, then equalised for 2-2 in the 88th through Robert Snodgrass. Bostjan Cesar's red card in injury time left Slovenia a man down for the final three minutes, but Scotland couldn't find a winner.

Slovakia had it easy, as expected, at home to last-place Malta as Adam Nemec scored twice and Ondrej Duda added a third goal.

Slovenia was fourth, three points behind Scotland and Slovakia.

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