Eden Hazard continued his rich vein of form by scoring the only goal in Belgium’s home World Cup qualifier against Macedonia.
Having won a penalty and converted it on Friday against the same opposition away, the Chelsea man scored with a left-foot shot in the second half on Tuesday evening, having hit the woodwork minutes earlier and had a first-half effort well-saved.
Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois also started the match with Romelu Lukaku again an unused substitute. Belgium top their group on goal difference from Croatia with Serbia a distant nine points behind in third.
The Serbian side skippered by Branislav Ivanovic beat Scotland 2-0 at home in their Tuesday match. The Scots gave a debut to Liam Bridcutt, a product of Chelsea’s Academy who is now at Brighton.
Ashley Cole played 90 minutes as England drew for the third time in six qualifiers, the score 1-1 away in Montenegro. Frank Lampard remained on the bench.
Wayne Rooney scored from a corner in the opening minutes to give Roy Hodgson’s side a good start in a solid first-half performance, but Montenegro were much improved after the interval and levelled with 15 minutes to go. Again it came from a corner, Joe Hart making an initial save but after the ball ricocheted around the area, substitute Dejan Damjanovic put it in.
England remain in second place in their group, two points behind Montenegro and four ahead of Poland who have a game in hand.
After their home draw to Finland, Spain returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over France in Paris. Juan Mata came on in the final moments with Cesar Azpilicueta remaining on the bench. That win sees Spain leapfrog France to lead their group by a point.
The Czech Republic’s 3-0 win in Armenia, in which Petr Cech won his 100th cap, leaves them five points off the pace set by Italy and two behind second-place Bulgaria who have played a game more.
Yossi Benayoun played the final four minutes of Israel’s 2-0 win in Northern Ireland. They are now one point behind group leaders Russia but have played two games more.