Kevin Kuranyi scored two goals Saturday to put Germany in control of its European Championship qualifying group after a 2-1 victory at the Czech Republic, and Nicolas Anelka kept France on course with the goal in a 1-0 victory at Lithuania.
Israel held struggling England to a 0-0 draw and European champion Greece lost its lead and tumbled 4-1 to visiting Turkey.
In a meeting of two clubs level on points at the top of Group D, Germany moved three ahead of the Czechs as Kuranyi scored with two headers in Prague. Milan Baros replied for the Czechs, who are now tied for second with Ireland, which edged Wales 1-0.
Not considered for last year's World Cup by France coach Raymond Domenech, Anelka scored a solo goal in the 73rd minute in Vilnius, dribbling through the middle and shooting from outside the area.
The victory kept the World Cup runners-up level on points with Scotland at the top of Group B, while Ukraine moved ahead of idle Italy and into third place.
The Scots beat Georgia 2-1 at Hampden Park on Craig Beattie's 89th-minute goal and Ukraine posted a routine 2-0 victory at the Faeroe Islands with strikes by Volodymyr Yezerskiy (20th) and Oleg Gusiev (57th).
The results mean that Italy now has five points to make up on Scotland and France, and is two behind Ukraine. The World Cup champions host Scotland on Wednesday.
England wasted chances in Tel Aviv and has not won or scored in Group E in three games. Jamie Carragher's header hit the bar and England hasn't won in five games _ the team's worst series of results in 26 years.
England stays level on points with Israel but five behind group leader Croatia, which beat Macedonia 2-1, and three behind Russia, which won 2-0 at Estonia.
"Disappointed, frustrated," England manager Steve McClaren said. "To dominate the game like that, to have the chances that we did and not to score, it's disappointing and not good enough. We should have won that game."
Croatia came from behind to beat Macedonia, which went ahead through Goce Sedloski in the 38th minute. Darijo Srna equalized in the 58th and, after Sedloski had been sent off for a second yellow card in the 68th, Eduardo da Silva scored Croatia's winner with 2 minutes to go.
Two goals in 12 second-half minutes by Alexander Kerzhakov gave Russia a 2-0 victory at Estonia.
Croatia now has 13 points, followed by Russia with 11, England and Israel with eight, and Macedonia with seven.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos gave Greece a fifth-minute lead against the Turks in Athens, but the visitors hit back with strikes by Tuncay Sanli, Gorgkhan Unal, Tumer Metin and Gokdeniz Karadeniz, and now lead the Group C standings by three points.
Bosnia-Herzegovina won 2-1 in Oslo, but the game was held up for 35 minutes when visiting fans threw flares onto the field and thick smoke forced referee Mike Riley to take the players off the field.
Poland jumped from third to the top of Group A with a 5-0 victory over Azerbaijan while Serbia was upset 2-1 at Kazakhstan and Portugal outplayed Belgium 4-0.
Jacek Bak, Dariusz Dudka, Wojciech Lobodzinski, Jacek Krzynowek and Przemyslaw Kazmierczak each scored to give Poland its fourth consecutive qualifying victory, including wins over Group A rivals Portugal and Belgium.
Kairat Ashirbekov (47th) and Nurbol Zhumaskaliyev (61st) put Kazakhstan ahead in Almaty before Nikola Zigic replied in the 68th. Zigic was sent off in injury time as the Serbs slipped to third.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who is having a standout season for Manchester United, scored twice and Portugal rekindled its qualifying chances. The Euro 2004 finalists are now tied for third with Serbia and only one point behind second-place Finland.
The Netherlands stayed at the top of Group G despite being held to a 0-0 draw by visiting Romania. The Dutch have 11 points from five games, Bulgaria and Romania are level on eight points, and Belarus has seven after a 2-1 victory at Luxembourg.
Spain revived its chances of qualifying with a 2-1 victory over Denmark in Group F.
Fernando Morientes and David Villa scored in the first half and Michael Gravgaard replied for the Danes in the 49th. Spain moved above Latvia into fourth place with six points from four games.
David Healy scored his second Group F hat trick in Northern Ireland's 4-1 victory at Liechtenstein, having also scored three times in a 3-2 victory over Spain on Sept. 6.
The victory moved Lawrie Sanchez and his team into second place above the Danes with 10 points from five games, only two fewer than group leader Sweden, which doesn't have a game until it goes to Belfast on Wednesday. Denmark has seven and Spain six.
Two teams qualify from each group for the final tournament, which will be co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.
Source: AP News