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Debutant Gnabry hits hat-trick in Germany's 8-0 stroll

By Graham Luney

Published 12/11/2016

Hitting the target: Germany midfielder and captain Sami Khedira opens the scoring in the demolition job against San Marino
Hitting the target: Germany midfielder and captain Sami Khedira opens the scoring in the demolition job against San Marino

Serge Gnabry hit a hat-trick as Germany maintained their 100% record at the top of European World Cup Qualifying Group C with an 8-0 thrashing of San Marino in Serravalle.

Gnabry is the first Germany debutant to score a hat-trick since Dieter Muller in 1976.

Sami Khedira set his side on the way to a routine win with a seventh-minute opener before Werder Bremen midfielder Gnabry hit his first of the night two minutes later.

Jonas Hector also scored a brace and Germany's last two goals came from Mattia Stefanelli own goal and a Kevin Volland strike five minutes from time.

Also in Group C, the Czech Republic claimed their first win in four attempts with a tight 2-1 success over Norway in Prague.

Michal Krmencik put the home side in front after 11 minutes and Jaromir Zmrhal added a second two minutes after the break before Joshua King scored a late consolation for Norway.

The Czechs leapfrog Norway into fourth place as Northern Ireland lead the charge for a runner-up spot.

France extended their lead at the top of Group A to three points with a tight 2-1 win over Sweden in Paris.

Emil Forsberg gave the Swedes a shock lead in the 54th minute before Dimitri Payet set up Paul Pogba to put the home side level three minutes later.

And Payet moved France closer to qualification for the finals when he converted a ball from Antoine Griezmann to net the winner in the 65th minute.

Two goals from Robert Lewandowski helped Poland take over at the top of Group E with a 3-0 win over Romania in Bucharest, Kamil Grosicki paving the way for victory with an 11th-minute opener. The Poles seized on a stunning 3-2 defeat for former leaders Montenegro in Armenia, the hosts rallying from 2-0 down to grab a dramatic winner through Gevorg Ghazaryan in injury time.

Christian Eriksen scored twice as Denmark earned their first win and moved up to third place in Group E with a 4-1 win over Kazakhstan.

Slovenia jumped to second in Group F after a 1-0 win in Malta courtesy of Benjamin Verbic's 47th-minute goal. Lithuania crashed to a 4-0 defeat to Slovakia in Trnava, with Martin Skrtel among the scorers.

Belfast Telegraph

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