The Czech Republic are the new leaders; Patrik Schick's 11th-minute goal gave them a 1-0 win that ended Belgium's perfect start, and they followed that up by coming from behind to prevail 3-1 in Moldova. Belgium are two points adrift but with a match in hand.
Leaders Italy are the only unbeaten team left in the section after supplementing a 1-1 draw against Serbia in Novi Sad with a 2-0 home success over Lithuania. Slovenia are a point behind them after back-to-back victories against Andorra and Serbia.
Leaders Iceland were not in action but stayed top after nearest rivals France beat Northern Ireland 1-0 but then drew 2-2 in FYR Macedonia to remain a point behind, having played both their games in hand.
Wins against Albania and Israel maintained Portugal's 100% record in the section. Rui Jorge's men are now seven points clear of the chasing pack, having conceded just once in their first five outings.
Wales set the pace going into 2016, yet may feel they should have a bigger lead after being held 1-1 at home by ten-man Romania in their last game of the year. Romania and Denmark are a point off the summit, though the Danes have played just four matches – including back-to-back victories in November.
Spain clambered to the peak after following up a 5-0 win against Georgia with a 3-2 triumph in a top-of-the-table clash in Croatia. Everton's Gerard Deulofeu was on target twice in Rijeka following Denis Kolinger's early dismissal for the hosts. Sweden are third with ten points – and a game in hand on the two frontrunners.
Hamburg forward Michael Gregoritsch took his tally to nine goals in five qualifiers, but his Austria side surrendered their 100% record as they lost 4-2 in Germany in their final outing of 2015. Max Meyer, Leon Goretzka, David Selke and Leroy Sané scored the German goals in Furth – their fifth straight victory in the pool.
The Netherlands followed up their 1-0 win against Belarus with a 4-2 reverse in Slovakia – a shock result given the Jong Oranje were 2-0 up within 25 minutes after two goals from AZ's Vincent Janssen. Slovakia now head the way by virtue of a superior goal difference.
England's perfect start ended with Thursday's 0-0 draw in Bosnia and Herzegovina but four days later they overcame Switzerland 3-1, Duncan Watmore coming off the bench with his team trailing in the 75th minute and making two goals either side of scoring one. With all five countries having played each other once, England lead Norway and Switzerland by three points.