England, Italy and France won World Cup qualifiers Wednesday night, while Germany had to fight for a tie at Finland and Portugal lost by allowing three goals in the last eight minutes to visiting Denmark.
On a day when 43 qualifiers were played around the globe, North and South Korea tied for the fourth time this year, playing a 1-1 draw at Shanghai, China. FIFA, soccer's governing body, moved the match after the North refused to play the anthem and fly the flag of its southern neighbor.
In night matches, the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-0, Brazil played to a 0-0 draw with Bolivia, and Argentina and Peru tied 1-1.
At Zagreb, 19-year-old Theo Walcott scored three goals and Wayne Rooney ended his international scoring drought, leading England to a 4-1 victory over Croatia.
"Tonight was a bit of revenge. It was a great performance and a great result," Rooney said. "You always enjoy a 4-1 victory, especially after what Croatia did to us in the last qualifying campaign."
England had lost twice against Croatia in qualifying for June's European Championship, including a 3-2 defeat at Wembley in November when England needed only a tie to advance. The English also struggled to beat Andorra 2-0 last weekend at Barcelona, Spain.
"We played well, like a team and without problems," said England coach Fabio Capello, who replaced Steve McClaren after the November loss. "But this is only one victory, a good performance and nothing else."
Walcott, who hadn't scored in his three previous international appearances, got goals in the 26th, 60th and 81st minutes, becoming the first player to score three goals in a game for England since Peter Crouch in an exhibition against Jamaica two years ago.
Beckham replaced Walcott in the 84th minute. With 105 appearances, the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder tied Billy Wright for fourth on England's career list, trailing only Peter Shilton (125), Bobby Moore (108) and Bobby Charlton (106).
"I decided to play Walcott because I saw him perform well against Andorra and during training," Capello said. "I saw that he is fantastic both physically and mentally."
At Udine, Daniele De Rossi scored in the 17th and 88th minutes, leading defending champion Italy over Georgia 2-0. Italy won its opener 2-1 at Cyprus last weekend.
"If we consider all the injuries we've had, to come out with two positive results is pretty good," Italy coach Marcello Lippi said.
At Bridgeview, Ill., Clint Dempsey scored his fourth goal in four games, Michael Bradley and Brian Ching padded the margin in the Americans' fifth straight victory that virtually assures them of making next year's six-team regional finals.
The United States is atop Group One in the semifinals of the North and Central American and the Caribbean with nine points, five ahead of Trinidad and Tobago.
At Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was booed out of Engenhao Stadium after it was held to the scoreless draw by 10-man Bolivia and dropped from the leaders in South American World Cup qualifying. Disappointed with the team's lackluster play, fans booed after the final whistle.
The result left the Brazilians with 13 points, four less than leader Paraguay after eight matches. Despite the draw, Bolivia remained last in the 10-team standings with five points.
At Lima, Juan Fano scored in the 93rd minute to lift Peru to a 1-1 tie with Argentina.
Esteban Cambiasso put Argentina on the board in the 82nd minute with what looked like the game-winning goal on a center from Real Madrid's Fernando Gago.
At Saint-Denis, Thierry Henry scored in the 54th minute and Nicolas Anelka in the 64th to lead France over visiting Serbia 2-1, a victory that could relieve pressure on much-criticized coach Raymond Domenech.
Coming off first-round elimination at the Euros, France opened World Cup qualifying with a 3-1 loss at Austria on Saturday. Domenech was booed loudly when the teams were announced, and fans chanted "Domenech demission! (Domenech resign!)."
"I am in my technical zone and I can't hear the boos," Domenech said.
At Helsinki, Miroslav Klose scored in the 38th, 44th and 83rd minutes for Germany. Finland led three times, with goals from Jonatan Johansson in the 33rd minute, Petri Vayrynen in the 43rd and Daniel Sjolund in the 53rd.
"All the time I have confidence for Klose," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "His qualities are known for us all, and I had the feeling that he was to be better. That was to be seen in practices lately. Our faith in him got rewarded."
At Lisbon, Portugal led on Nani's 42nd-minute goal before Nicklas Bendtner tied it in the 84th. Deco converted a penalty kick two minutes later, but Christopher Poulsen scored in the last minute of regular time and Daniel Jensen got the final goal two minutes into injury time.
"If you play well but don't score you pay the price," Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said. "We'd done enough to win this game."
At Albacete, European champion Spain beat visiting Armenia 4-0 as David Villa scored two goals, and Joan Capdevila and Marcos Senna had one apiece. Spain extended its unbeaten streak to 25 matches.
At Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Omar Bravo, one of Mexico's 10 European-based players, replaced Giovani Dos Santos in the second half and opened the scoring in the 59th minute. Rafael Marquez made it 2-0 in the 72nd and minutes later Canada's Ali Gerba replied.
Cuauhtemoc Blanco, playing his last match for Mexico, went on for the last four minutes. After 13 years playing for Mexico, he public announced his retirement from international duty just before the match.
In other games, Shay Given made several saves to give Ireland a 0-0 draw at Montenegro; the Netherlands won 2-1 at Macedonia on goals by John Heitinga and Rafael van der Vaart; Luxembourg beat Switzerland 2-1; Costa Rica defeated Haiti 3-1; Honduras got past Jamaica 2-0; and Guatemala beat Cuba 4-1.