Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Features

France, Portugal back on track, England cruise in Euro 2020 qualifiers

Kingsley Coman scored twice to ensure France top Group H in Euro 2020 qualifying © AFP / GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT

PARIS, France, Sep 8 – France and Portugal got their Euro 2020 qualification campaigns back on track with impressive wins over Balkan pair Albania and Serbia that boosted the world and European champions chances of making next summer’s tournament.

France moved back top of Group H with a 4-1 thumping of Albania thanks to a Kingsley Coman’s first international goals in more than three years and further strikes from Olivier Giroud and substitute Jonathan Ikone at the Stade de France.

Iceland briefly led the standings after beating Moldova 3-0 earlier in the day, but were joined on 12 points by Didier Deschamps side and Turkey, who needed a last minute Ozan Tufan strike to edge Andorra 1-0, with the French on top on goal difference.

“The balance sheet is very positive. We could have won by more,” said Deschamps.

“We did what we had to do, even if we relaxed a bit at the end.”

The easy win was a good end to a night that started off in bizarre fashion, with the match kicking off late after the hosts mistakenly played the Andorran anthem, leading to the bemused Albanian players refusing to play until the right tune was played.

“It was a big thing. The players said they wouldn’t start without the right anthem,” said Albania’s Italian coach Edoardo Reja.

– Portugal off the mark in Serbia –

Portugal’s first Euro 2020 qualifying win boosts their chances of making the tournament © AFP / PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC

Portugal meanwhile are second in Group B on five points from three games after they also struck four times in Belgrade, with William Carvalho, Goncalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva giving Fernando Santos’ side a 4-2 victory that was also their first win of the qualifying campaign.

They are eight points behind leaders Ukraine, who top the group unbeaten having played five times after their 3-0 drubbing of Lithuania.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

However Portugal had a much trickier time than the French, with Nikola Milenkovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic twice pulling goals at a loud Stadion Rajko Mitic back before Silva finally made sure of the three points four minutes from the end.

On Tuesday, Portugal have a chance to consolidate their position in the group when they head to winless Lithuania, while Serbia travel to lowly Luxembourg with both a point behind Ronaldo and co.

Earlier England maintained their 100 percent qualifying record as Harry Kane’s hat-trick inspired a 4-0 demolition of Bulgaria at Wembley.

Kane has now scored 25 goals in 40 England appearances after a 25th-minute tap-in and two second half penalties which keep his side top of Group A with nine points from three matches, a point ahead of Kosovo who stunned the Czech Republic with a 2-1 win.

Captain Kane also laid on Raheem Sterling for his strike 10 minutes after the break, highlighting his ability beyond just goalscoring.

“To be able to study him and the way he works at his game, for the youngsters he’s an incredible example. In those moments he has supreme temperament and technique,” Southgate said of Kane.

England will have a chance to open up a gap at the top of the group when they host Kosovo at St Mary’s stadium in Southampton on Tuesday.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Daniel Wanjiru, the 2017 London Marathon champion has been slapped with a four-year ban by the World Athletics Disciplinary...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved