Sensation from Kosovo, the leadership of Ukraine and the first victory of Portugal: a review of Euro 2020 qualification matches
Kosovo defeated the Czech Republic and is second in its Euro 2020 qualifying group after England, which defeated Bulgaria thanks to Harry Kane's hat-trick. Ukraine continues to lead confidently thanks to a crushing victory over Lithuania in an away match. The Portuguese, led by Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since the start of qualification scored three points, beating Serbia. Group H retains the triple leadership of France, Turkey and Iceland. The main events of the qualifying tournament - in the material RT.
The main sensation of the day was the breakthrough of the Kosovo team, for which the current selection for Euro 2020 is the first in history. At the draw, this team was in the fifth basket, but according to the results of the first round of the qualification tournament, it seriously claims to make its debut in a serious tournament.
In the first three matches, the Kosovars did not suffer a single defeat. Their win-win series, taking into account friendly games, has been going on since November 2017. With England, the strongest team of qualifying group A, the players of the partially recognized state have not yet met. But in the fourth round they were able to beat their main competitors for the second ticket to the Euro - Czechs.
The meeting in Pristina began with a goal by Martin Schick. The forward of RB Leipzig, which Zenit will soon meet in the Champions League, scored the fourth goal for the Czech national team in the last three matches. But four minutes later, his efforts brought to nothing the Vedat Muriki from Fenerbahçe. In the second half, Kosovo did come forward thanks to a goal by Mergim Voivoda. The Czech national team tried to avoid a second defeat in the qualifying campaign, but it did not have one advantage in accurate hits.
Two teams will meet again in Pilsen, and at the same time two matches with England await the Kosovars, one of which will be held on September 10th. The second round will be much more difficult for the Balkans, but at the moment it is they who occupy the second place in their group, having two points of advantage over the Czechs.
Kane's hat trick
England is only one point ahead of Kosovo, but only because it managed to hold only three matches. But in each of them, “Three Lions” won a landslide victory with a difference of at least four goals. Another victim of the wards of Gareth Southgate was the team of Bulgaria, who was visiting Wembley.
Shortly before the meeting, the British lost due to Jesse Lingard's illness, but the detachment did not notice the loss of a fighter. The main driving force of the founders of football was Harry Kane. For the second time in his career, after a match with Panama at the World Cup in Russia, he designed a hat-trick in the form of his own national team. At the same time, the Tottenham striker again scored twice from the penalty spot and only once from the game. In total, he has 25 goals for the national team, which allows him to occupy 14th place in the list of top scorers.
Kane did not forget about the partners - it was with his transfer that Rahim Sterling scored another goal, which helped celebrate the victory with a score of 4: 0. England scored nine points in three matches and has a “+13” goal difference - other teams needed at least five games to achieve this result, including the Russian national team.
Ronaldo's first success
The Portuguese national team, like Belarus, only in September won the first victory in the qualifying tournament after two draws. The current champions of Europe and the League of Nations in their third match defeated the Serbian team away.
The Serbs for a long time resisted the guests, which included Cristiano Ronaldo from the first minutes. The game in the first half was absolutely equal, but the Portuguese still led 1-0 after a goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovich's mistake, thanks to which Williams Carvalho hit the ball into the empty net. After the break, Gonçalo Guesdes played out - he beautifully beat the Serbian defenders in their penalty area and no less beautifully hit the distant “nine”.
The home team all this time continued to play actively in the attack, and they almost fell for their efforts. They created two goals immediately after the forced replacement of Nelson Semeda by João Consela, but realized only one. Nikola Milenkovic just struck his head, but in the next episode, Rui Patriciu pulled the ball out from under the crossbar.
The Portuguese really needed to regain the advantage, and Ronaldo came to the rescue. Throwing the ball over the goalkeeper after a jerk, the striker scored his 89th goal as part of the national team. But, although by that time it was already the 80th minute, the match did not end there. The Serbs responded with a shot by Stefan Mitrovic, but Bernard Silva returned the difference in two goals. Portugal rose to second place in Group B, ahead of Serbia and Luxembourg by one point.
Leadership of Ukraine
The first line by a wide margin is the Ukrainian team. Wards of Andrey Shevchenko won the fourth victory in a row, having beaten Lithuania on the road.
The success was given to the owners of the European Championships before last is not easy. During the training camp, they lost a number of players due to injuries, and the defense was habitually weakened by the absence of Yaroslav Rakitsky from Zenit. Nevertheless, Ukrainians managed to beat Lithuania in the classroom.
Already in the seventh minute, Alexander Zinchenko, the holder of various titles in Manchester City, scored on the verge of an offside position and scored a pass from Marlos. After 20 minutes, the naturalized Brazilian himself scored the first goal for the Ukrainian team, starting the attack almost from the middle of the field. The point in the match, in which the Lithuanians struck only one shot on target, was put by Ruslan Malinovsky.
Ukraine scored 13 points and shares with Belgium the record for conceded goals among the teams that played five matches. The goal in the match with Luxembourg remains the only one that captain Andrei Pyatov could not prevent.
Group power in group H
Group H still has the most intricate intrigue. France, Turkey and Iceland still share first place with the same number of points. In the fifth round, they all met with teams that excel in the class, and achieved synchronous victories.
World champions got the most difficult test. Still, Albania recently participated in the European Championship and could boast of a set of interesting players. But now four goals have visited her goal, two of which have been scored by Kingsley Coman and one more by Olivier Giroud and Nanitamo Ikone, who made his debut at age 21 for the country's first national team. Antoine Griezmann could have distinguished himself, but he did not realize a penalty in the first half. There was only one drawback in this victory - in the 90th minute, Hugo Lloris missed a penalty kick.
The Icelanders, in turn, defeated Moldova, sending three unanswered goals at its goal. The Turks also suffered in a home game with Andorra. Only in the 89th minute did the goal of Ozan Tufan deprived the dwarf principality of its most significant success in history, which could be considered a draw with Turkey.
According to the results of the first round, all the favorites scored 12 points. Iceland is the third extra so far - at the moment it is inferior in terms of additional indicators, as in personal meetings with France and Turkey it has the worst difference between goals scored and goals conceded. This situation may continue in the next round, in which a trio of leaders will only change their rivals.