Germany beats Gibraltar as Ronaldo sets goal record
Elsewhere, 2004 champions Greece were humiliated 1-0 by the part-timers of the Faroe Islands to pile the pressure on home coach Claudio Ranieri whose team have now lost their last four home games.
In Nuremburg, Thomas Mueller scored twice with Mario Goetze adding a third for Germany before Gibraltar defender Yogan Santos put through his own goal.
The win lifted Joachim Loew’s World Cup winners into third spot in Group D but the anticipated goal bonanza against a side who had conceded 17 goals in their first three games failed to materialise.
Germany missed the chance to finish 2014 second in the table and their unconvincing display drew some boos and jeers at the final whistle.
“We would have liked a better result, but it’s not easy when a team stands as deep as Gibraltar did,” said Goetze.
“We could have created more goals and played more convincingly, which we have to put our hands up to.”
Poland have a three-point lead over Ireland, Germany and Scotland as they maintained their undefeated start with a convincing 4-0 over Georgia in Tbilisi.
After hitting the woodwork twice in the opening half, Poland breezed home after the break with goals from Kamil Glik, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Sebastian Mila and Arkadiusz Milik.
In Glasgow, Scotland boosted their qualification chances as Shaun Maloney’s superb strike in the second-half handed them a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.
It was Scotland’s first competitive goal against the Republic of Ireland since 1961.
“I am a proud man tonight. That was an epic duel. We knew what was going to happen and we dealt with that. It was hard, we kept trying to play,” said Scotland manager Gordon Strachan.
“Ireland were a handful all night, it was like a British cup tie. This is the hardest group of them all and one goal decides every game.”
In Group I, Real Madrid star Ronaldo scored in the 72nd minute as Portugal egded out Armenia 1-0, converting from close range after Ricardo Quaresma had a shot saved.
It was Ronaldo’s 23rd goal in 37 European Championship games, to take the outright goal-scoring lead having been locked on 22 goals with Jon Dahl Tomasson of Denmark and Turkey’s Hakan Suker.
Portugal are second in the group, one point behind Denmark who came from a goal down to beat Serbia 3-1 in Belgrade in a game played behind closed doors.
Former Arsenal star Nicklas Bendtner scored twice for 1992 champions Denmark.
In Group F, Northern Ireland lost their 100 percent record when they were went down to a 2-0 defeat to Romania in Bucharest with Paul Papp scoring both goals.
The Faroe Islands, ranked at 187 in the world, stunned former champions Greece 1-0 in Piraeus with Joan Edmundsson scoring in the 61st minute.
The result left the Greeks at the foot of the table with just one point from four games while the Faroes claimed just a fourth away win in 24 years.
Hungary beat Finland 1-0 in Budapest in the group’s other game. AFP