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Euro Qualifiers PIX: Turkey upset world champs France

June 09, 2019 11:09 IST

Images from the 2020 Euro Championships qualifiers played on Saturday

Italy's Leonardo Bonucci scores during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier against Greece in Athens on Saturday

IMAGE: Italy's Leonardo Bonucci scores during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier against Greece in Athens on Saturday. Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

World champion France were given a cold shower on Saturday in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Turkey, which kept up pressure throughout the game for a 2-0 home win and placed itself in the lead in Group H.

Turkey started the game strong, scoring their first goal in the 30th minute with a header from Kaan Ayhan following Cengiz Under’s free kick into the penalty area.

Under then raised the difference in the 40th minute, slipping the ball past Hugo Lloris after a sprint down the right wing to the French goal.

 

Les Bleus upped the pressure in the second half of the game, but missed several chances to score due to strong defence from their opponents and a solid performance from goalkeeper Mert Gunok.

Burak Yilmaz missed the chance to put Turkey further ahead at the 85th minute, sending the ball narrowly past the right post after a one-on-one with Lloris.

In other games in the group on Saturday, Iceland earned a 1-0 home win against Albania, while Moldova beat Andorra 1-0 at home.

Turkey now lead Group H with nine points having won all three games so far. They are followed by France then Iceland, both at six points.

Sane, Reus seal Germany win over Belarus

Germany eased past hosts Belarus 2-0 with goals from Leroy Sane and Marco Reus on Saturday to make it two wins from their first two Euro 2020 Group C qualifiers.

The three-time European champions, who suffered a shock World Cup first-round exit last year before being relegated in the inaugural Nations League, were desperate to build on their opening qualifying win over Netherlands in March.

They took a 13th-minute lead when Sane shook off his marker and fired in from close range.

Belarus responded by forcing a fine save from Manuel Neuer, who punched Nikita Naumov’s 30th-minute header over the bar for the hosts’ best chance in the game.

The visitors struck again with Reus in the 62nd minute after a clever assist from Matthias Ginter and hit the post through Sane’s 84th-minute header.

The result lifted the Germans to six points, three behind leaders Northern Ireland who beat Estonia 2-1 for their third win in three qualifiers.

Belarus suffered their third straight loss and are in last place, having scored only one goal.

 “It was a solid performance on which we can build. We want to develop as a team,” said Germany assistant coach Marcus Sorg, who replaced Joachim Loew as head coach for the game. Loew was briefly hospitalised days ago following a sports injury.

 “The win was above everything. We had to overcome some challenges against a very defensive opponent. Overall, we did it well,” said Sorg, who will also be in charge in Tuesday’s qualifier against Estonia.

Earlier on Saturday, Northern Ireland came from a goal down to beat Estonia 2-1 in Tallin.

Conor Washington cancelled out the hosts’ lead through Konstantin Vassiljev’s low first half free kick and fellow substitute Josh Magennis completed the turnaround in the 80th minute to keep Northern Ireland top of the standings.

They next travel to Belarus on Tuesday.

Lively Perisic inspires Croatia to 2-1 win over Wales

 Croat players celebrate their goal against Wales during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group E qualifying match at Stadium Gradski Vrt in Osijek, Croatia, on Saturday

IMAGE: Croat players celebrate their goal against Wales during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group E qualifying match at Stadium Gradski Vrt in Osijek, Croatia, on Saturday. Photograph: Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images

Croatia provisionally went top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group E after winger Ivan Perisic scored one goal and set up another to help the 2018 World Cup runners-up to a 2-1 home win over Wales on Saturday.

The result left Croatia top of the group on six points from three games, three ahead of Slovakia, Wales and Hungary. Azerbaijan, who have no points, were playing at home to Hungary in the day’s other fixture (1600 GMT).

Perisic blazed two shots over the bar before he set up Croatia’s 17th-minute opener, when Welsh defender James Lawrence fired the winger’s sharp low cross into his own net past stranded goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Perisic made it 2-0 early in the second half after he got on the end of a loose ball in the penalty area and drove it past Hennessey from 10 metres with his weaker right foot.

Gareth Bale twice came close for the Welsh before substitute David Brooks pulled a goal back in the 77th minute, beating Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic with a deflected shot from 20 metres.

The visitors piled on the pressure in the closing stages and midfielder Harry Wilson missed a gilt-edged chance to grab a late equaliser, heading a teasing Bale cross over the bar from five metres.

Belgium top Group I with 100 percent record

Belgium eased to a 3-0 win over Kazakhstan in Brussels on Saturday to keep up their 100 percent start to the Euro 2020 qualifiers and top the Group I standings.

Early goals from Dries Mertens and Timothy Castagne put Belgium 2-0 inside the opening quarter-hour and Romelu Lukaku added a third five minutes into the second half.

Belgium have nine points from their opening three qualifiers, ahead of Russia and Scotland on six points.

Scotland’s hopes of a change of fortunes under new manager Steve Clarke looked dashed after Cyprus equalised late at Hampden Park in Glasgow but Oliver Burke snatched a last-minute winner to seal a 2-1 triumph.

A scorcher from captain Andy Robertson just after the hour mark had Scotland ahead but Cyprus equalised in the 87th minute through Ioannis Kousoulos, only for the Scots to grab back the lead through Burke’s header.

Scotland fired Alex McLeish as manager after losing in Kazakhstan and narrowly beating San Marino in their opening two matches of the campaign in March.

Earlier on Saturday, Russia recorded their biggest winning margin as Artem Dzyuba scored four in 9-0 thrashing of San Marino in Saransk, one of last year’s World Cup finals venues.

It took Russia 25 minutes, and the first of two own goals by 20-year Michele Cevoli, to get going but they were 4-0 ahead at halftime.

Dzyuba’s first goal came from the penalty spot and he completed his hat-trick with a follow-up after having a second spot-kick saved. His fourth was the last goal of the one-sided win.

On Tuesday, Kazakhstan host San Marino, Scotland are in Belgium and Cyprus travel to Russia for the next round of group fixtures.

Croatia, Hungary win to pull away in Group E

Croatia and Hungary pulled away at the top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group E after victories on Saturday in what is shaping up to be a fiercely competitive pool.

Both teams have six points from three games after a goal and an assist by Ivan Perisic gave 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia a 2-1 home win over Wales while a Willi Orban brace helped the Hungarians to a 3-1 win in Azerbaijan.

Wales and Slovakia have three points each from two games and Azerbaijan none.

Croatia dominated but were forced to hang on in the closing stages and Wales coach Ryan Giggs was disappointed his side came away empty-handed.

 “We showed them far too much respect, we weren’t aggressive enough early on and we made some stupid mistakes and got punished,” he said.

 “Now we prepare for Tuesday. Hungary are a hard-working, physical team, but we will need to play a lot better to get anything out of it.”

Perisic blazed two shots over the bar before he set up Croatia’s 17th-minute opener, when Welsh defender James Lawrence fired the winger’s sharp low cross into his own net past stranded goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Perisic made it 2-0 early in the second half after he got on the end of a loose ball in the penalty area and drove it past Hennessey from 10 metres with his weaker right foot.

Gareth Bale twice came close for the Welsh before substitute David Brooks pulled a goal back in the 77th minute, beating Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic with a deflected shot from 20 metres.

The visitors piled the pressure in the closing stages and midfielder Harry Wilson missed a gilt-edged chance to grab a late equaliser, heading a teasing Bale cross over the bar from five metres.

In Baku, Balazs Dzsudzsak showed his trademark set-piece skills as he floated in a free kick for Orban to fire Hungary ahead with a glancing header and then swung in a corner bundled in by the centre-back from point-blank range.

Azerbaijan halved the deficit when midfielder Mahir Emreli swept in a 68th-minute rebound but Hungary put the game beyond the home side’s reach in the 70th as substitute David Holman drilled a fierce shot into the roof of the net.

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