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Germany flying, England not so flash

Associated Press Associated Press 8/10/2016 Ciaran Fahey

While Germany eased to their second win in World Cup qualifying, England showed they have much to do to placate fans frustrated that their expectations are not being met.

Germany comfortably defeated the Czech Republic 3-0 and might have won by more, earning plaudits from supporters who indulged in Mexican waves and created a carnival atmosphere in Hamburg.

England could manage only a 2-0 win over lowly Malta, a side ranked 176th by FIFA, for an uninspired start following coach Sam Allardyce's dismissal over comments in a newspaper sting that called his integrity into question.

Daniel Sturridge's header from Jordan Henderson's cross, and Dele Alli's strike in the first half sealed it, but England lacked dynamism and urgency up front, especially after halftime.

"I think in the second half sub-consciously we had the feeling the game was won and we were looking towards Tuesday (and the next qualifier in Slovenia) physically," Southgate said.

"Given the situation I picked up about 12 days ago (following Allardyce's departure), we've internally come a hell of a long way."

Elsewhere, Robert Lewandowski scored for the seventh straight qualifying game, this time hitting a hat trick for Poland to beat Denmark 3-2 in Warsaw.

Here's a closer look at Saturday's qualifying games and their respective groups. Only the group winners automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Thomas Mueller scored twice for the second game running as Germany produced a polished performance to see off the Czech Republic.

Mueller, who scored twice in the opening 3-0 win in Norway, is yet to score in six Bundesliga games for Bayern Munich this season, but he opened the scoring early and completed it in the second half after Toni Kroos doubled the lead.

"We could have scored more goals but basically it was a good performance from us," Mueller told RTL television.

Manager Joachim Loew previously suggested the Czech Republic, who drew with Northern Ireland 0-0 in their opening group game, was Germany's toughest group opponent, but on this display it seems the World Cup champion will have little trouble in qualifying.

Elsewhere, Northern Ireland defeated San Marino 4-0 in Belfast, and Maksim Medvedev's early goal was enough for Azerbaijan to beat Norway 1-0 in Baku, giving the team two wins in a World Cup group for the first time.

Scotland substitute James McArthur scored late to salvage a 1-1 draw with Lithuania in Glasgow, while another substitute, Rok Kronaveter earned Slovenia a 1-0 win at home over Slovakia.

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