Germany lost a World Cup qualifier for the first time in 20 years on Wednesday, as the 2014 champion was defeated 2-1 by Northern Macedonia.
Germany equalized after Goran Pandev’s opening goal in the break time in the first half, but there was no answer to the winner of Elif Elmas in the 85th minute for Northern Macedonia, who moved over Germany in second place in Group J. won all three matches so far, after coming from behind to beat Romania 3-2.
“The fact is that this obviously should not happen,” German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan told RTL.
Pandev opened the scoring when Germany’s defense completely lost track of veteran striker Genoa. However, Gundogan equalized from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute after Leroy Sane was sent off by Ezcan Alioski.
Northern Macedonia could have received a penalty for an obvious handball from Emre Can in a corner kick, but the referee did not notice. There is no video review system for qualifications. Soon after, Timo Werner missed Germany’s best chance to move forward, dropping a shot very badly when one-on-one with goalkeeper Gundogan at the break.
While Germany insisted on another goal, Northern Macedonia made a breakthrough. Arijan Ademi passed the ball through the legs of Antonio Rüdiger, while Pandev pulled the German defenders, leaving room for Elmas to score past Mark-Andre ter Stegen.
“I feel like they’ve been to our door twice and scored twice,” Gundogan said. “Twice a person stands there completely free and that should not happen.”
Germany have lost 35 unbeaten World Cup qualifiers after a 5-1 loss to England in Munich in 2001 and have won their last 18 in a row while chasing a place in the 2022 tournament in Qatar. Northern Macedonia has never played in a World Cup, but will make its European Championship debut this year after Pandev scored the winning goal in the playoffs against Georgia in November.
This was the last qualifying game in the 15-year reign of German coach Joachim Loew, who retired after the European Championship in June and July.
With 2-1 in the 87th minute, Armenia scored twice to beat the 10-year-old Romania 3-2 for its third consecutive World Cup qualifier.
Armenia has never come close to qualifying for the World Cup, but these three victories are already making it the second best qualifying campaign in the country. This is a remarkable turn for a country that was defeated by Italy with 9: 1 only in 2019.
Eduard Spercian’s deflected shot in his first international game gave Armenia the lead in the 56th, but Romania responded when Alexandru Chikaldau knocked in a pass that took a lucky ricochet. Chikaldau then made a 2-1 header, but Romania striker George Puskas was sent off in the 78th minute when he went for a dangerously high challenge and his leg hit an opponent in the chest.
Romania held on until the 87th, when Armenian captain Varazdat Haroyan turned Tigran Barseghian’s cross from what Romania firmly considered offside. Two minutes later, Armenia came forward again after Spertsyan was tripped and Barsegyan realized the penalty almost without expiration.
Romania has played in the World Cup seven times, but not since 1998, and it looks like its wait will continue once the group stage campaign starts with one win and two losses.
Iceland beat Liechtenstein 4-1 to end seven losses.