Wayne Rooney Gary Cahill England
Wayne Rooney and Gary Cahill celebrate after scoring a goal against Scotland, November 11, 2016Reuters

England barely had to get out of third gear to top Scotland in their FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier, while France picked up a come-from-behind victory over Sweden to go top of their qualifying table. World champions Germany showed, even with a second-string side, they know how to find the back of the net in a thrashing of San Marino.

The battle of the home nations was the main topic of conversation going into these round of qualifiers, and as disappointing as England have been of late, there was never anyone who seriously thought Scotland would trouble them at Wembley.

That proved to be the case, with Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill all scoring via headers to hand England a 3-0 victory. The win puts England top of the Group F table with ten points from four matches.

Behind them, in second, are Slovenia, who edged Malta 1-0 thanks to a winner from Benjamin Verbic. Slovakia are right behind the top two, thanks to a 4-0 thumping of Lithuania.

In Group C, Germany tightened their grip on top spot with an 8-0 thrashing of San Marino. That is despite Joachim Low resting several of his big-name players. Serge Gnabry, the former Arsenal winger, took the plaudits from this match, after scoring a hat-trick. There were also goals for Sami Khedira, Jonas Hector and Kevin Volland, with the win giving Germany a five-point lead at the top.

Northern Ireland are second after a comprehensive 4-0 beating of Azerbaijan – Kyle Lafferty, Gareth McAuley, Conor McLaughlin and Chris Brunt being the scorers.

France jumped ahead of Sweden in Group A after a Dimitri Payet-inspired 2-1 victory. Sweden took the lead via Emil Forsberg in the 54th minute, before Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, off a setup from Payet, equalised four minutes later. Payet then found the winner on 65 minutes to put France top. Netherlands can join Sweden in second on seven points if they beat Luxembourg on Sunday.

Results: Group A: France 2-1 Sweden.

Group C: Northern Ireland 4-0 Azerbaijan; Czech Republic 2-1 Norway; San Marino 0-8 Germany.

Group E: Armenia 3-2 Montenegro; Romania 0-3 Poland; Denmark 4-1 Kazakhstan.

Group F: England 3-0 Scotland; Malta 0-1 Slovenia; Slovakia 3-0 Lithuania.

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