DUISBURG, Germany, March 31 (Reuters) – Eljif Elmas scored the goal as North Macedonia sealed their astonishing 2-1 away win against Germany on Wednesday in Group J of the World Cup qualifier, the biggest win for the world. Balkan country.
Elmas scored the decisive goal in the 85th minute against the four-time world champions, who despite controlling the game struggled to find opportunities against the disciplined North Macedonians, ranked 65th in the FIFA rankings.
This was Germany’s first World Cup qualifying home defeat in 20 years, in the last knockout match for coach Joachim Löw before his post-European Championship game.
Despite Germany’s 70% possession in the first half and a shot from Leon Goretzka off the crossbar, it was the visitors who opened the scoring when 37-year-old Goran Pandev was left unmarked in the area to score in the injury time of the first half.
A penalty from Ilkay Gundogan in the 63rd minute tied the hosts, who despite pressing in the final minutes and a golden opportunity from Timo Werner at 80, could not seal the victory.
Instead, it was Elmas who scored the winning goal to lead his team to six points, the same as Germany in Group J, and three behind leaders Armenia.
France, meanwhile, beat Bosnia 1-0 in Group D with a goal from Antoine Griezmann, who had just scored in the first match of the tie last Wednesday against Ukraine. The world champions now have seven points in three games.
Ukraine, which drew 1-1 at home to Kazakhstan, has three points and Finland has two points from two games.
Also winning during the day were England, who defeated Poland 2-1 in Group I; Italy, who beat Lithuania 2-0 in Group C, and Spain, who beat Kosovo 3-1 in Group B.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, Richard Martin, Julien Pretot and Toby Davis. Edited in Spanish by Rodrigo Charme)