It was an emotional night as they secured their place at the World Cup in the same Stade de France venue which was hit in the Paris terror attacks during an international match exactly six years earlier, on 13 November 2015, with the victims of that tragedy being remembered before kick-off.
Kai Havertz, Antonio Rudiger, Timo Werner – The Germans became the first team to qualify for the World Cup in a dominant campaign, as they ended up nine points clear at the top of Group J. That was during the previous international break, when Kai Havertz opened the scoring and Timo Werner hit a brace in a 4-0 win away in North Macedonia.
That booked Germany’s place at the World Cup with two games still to play. They then underlined their superiority by scoring 13 goals in those two games in November, including another opener from Havertz as they ended their campaign by beating Armenia 4-1.
Emerson Palmieri, Jorginho – Despite being assured of a top-two place going into this month’s international break, when they were ahead of second-placed Switzerland on goal difference, a difficult end to their group campaign means Italy will need to win in the play-offs to reach Qatar next year.
They missed an opportunity to take the advantage in a 1-1 home draw with the Swiss, when Jorginho suffered the agony of missing a late penalty, and then could not break the deadlock in a 0-0 draw away to Northern Ireland. Combined with Switzerland’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria, that meant Italy finished two points behind in second.