The International break was full of twists and turns, shock results, thrilling matches and record-breaking performances. Here are the Winners and Losers from the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Bet on football here.
Kevin De Bruyne and Belgium
Manchester City and Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne ran riot against Scotland at Hampden Park, providing three assists before rounding off the scoring with a goal in the 4-0 victory. Since returning from injury last season, the 28-year-old star has been in irresistible form and his performance was simply too hot to handle for the Scots. With that victory, the Belgians are now on the brink of sealing their place in next year’s European championships. Belgium are top of Group I and can mathematically secure their place at Euro 2020 with victory at home to San Marino next month.
In a thrilling contest in Hamburg last Friday, the Netherlands beat Germany 4-2 in a UEFA 2020 qualifier on Friday. On Monday, they eased to a 4-0 victory over Estonia in which boosted their Euro 2020 qualifying hopes. Ronald Koeman’s men sit third in Group C, although they have a game in hand and are only three points behind leaders Germany and second-placed Northern Ireland. The Euro 1988 winners are seeking to return to the competition after missing out on qualification for Euro 2016 and last year’s World Cup. So far, they look the business.
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling
England maintained their 100% record in Euro 2020 following a thrilling 5-3 win over Kosovo on Tuesday. The Three Lions began the match on the wrong foot with their opponents scoring inside 34 seconds. However, the magnificent Raheem Sterling inspired a stunning comeback which saw England score five goals in the first half. He provided two assists and a goal. He has now been involved in 12 goals in his last eight England international appearances (eight goals, four assists). Meanwhile, Harry Kane scored one goal but missed a penalty which didn’t matter at the end. The Three Lions captain now has 26 goals in 41 international appearances
Croatia went top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group E despite being held to a shock 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan. Tamkin Khalilzade’s superb solo strike ensured a surprise result for Azerbaijan, who had lost all four of their qualifiers before drawing 1-1 with the World Cup finalists. Zlatko Dalic’s side still sit top of Group E with ten points from five games, but they will be frustrated they couldn’t pull away from Slovakia, Hungary and Wales who are lurking behind them.
Steve Clarke and Scotland
Steve Clarke’s Scotland were comprehensively beaten by a rampant Belgian side on Monday, a result which leaves their hopes for automatic qualification in the balance. That was the second home loss following another painful 2-1 defeat by Russia on Friday. Their next matches in October will be crucial if they want to qualify for their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
Greece have plummeted to fifth place in Group J after a 1-0 loss to Finland and an embarrassing 1-1 draw with Liechtenstein. The Greeks are currently seven points behind Finland, four behind Armenia and two behind Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Euro 2004 winners’ hopes of qualifying for next year’s championships appear slim. They are now winless in their last six matches and given the number two spot in Group J is up for grabs, they have to be almost perfect in their next matches.