ROME: Serge Gnabry hit a hat-trick as Germany maintained their 100pc record at the top of European World Cup Qualifying Group C with an 8-0 thrashing of San Marino in Serravalle.

Gnabry was the first Germany debutant to score a hat-trick since Dieter Muller in 1976.

Sami Khedira set his side on the way to a routine win with a seventh-minute opener before Werder Bremen midfielder Gnabry hit his first of the night two minutes later.

Jonas Hector also scored two and Germany’s last two goals came from Mattia Stefanelli own goal and a Kevin Volland strike five minutes from time.

France extended their lead at the top of Group A to three points with a tight 2-1 win over Sweden in Paris.

Emil Forsberg gave the Swedes a shock lead in the 54th minute before Dimitri Payet set up Paul Pogba to put the home side level three minutes later.

Payet moved France closer to qualification for the finals when he converted a ball from Antoine Griezmann to net the winner in the 65th minute.

Northern Ireland shattered the unbeaten start of Azerbaijan with a 4-0 win in Belfast which moves Michael O’Neill’s men up to second place in Group C.

Goals from Kyle Lafferty, Gareth McAuley, Conor McLaughlin and Chris Brunt secured an emphatic win over opponents buoyed by their magnificent start to the campaign.

Czechs win at last

Also in Group C, the Czech Republic claimed their first win in four attempts with a tight 2-1 success over Norway in Prague.

Michal Krmencik put the home side in front after 11 minutes and Jaromir Zmrhal added a second two minutes after the break before Joshua King scored a late consolation for Norway.

Two goals from Robert Lewandowski helped Poland take over at the top of Group E with a 3-0 win over Romania in Bucharest, Kamil Grosicki paving the way for victory with an 11th-minute opener.

The Poles seized on a stunning 3-2 defeat for former leaders Montenegro in Armenia, the hosts rallying from 2-0 down to grab a dramatic winner through Gevorg Ghazaryan in injury time.

Christian Eriksen scored twice as Denmark earned their first win and moved up to third place in Group E with a 4-1 win over Kazakhstan.

England maintained their unbeaten start at the top of Group F, getting over a sluggish start to beat Scotland 3-0 at Wembley.

Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring in the 24th minute and after Scotland spurned a series of chances to equalise, Adam Lallana headed home to make the game safe on 50 minutes.

Gary Cahill scored England’s third in the 61st minute to inflict another heavy defeat on Gordon Strachan’s men, who slump to second bottom of the group.

Slovenia jumped to second place in Group F after squeezing out a 1-0 win in Malta courtesy of Benjamin Verbic’s 47th-minute goal.

Despite starting the night in second place, Lithuania crashed to a 4-0 defeat to Slovakia in Trnava, Martin Skrtel and Marek Hamsik among the scorers.