2020 Euro Cup Qualifiers: A Round-Up
The week-long flurry of 2020 European Cup qualification matches came to an end with almost all of the 55 nations participating completing 2 matches each.
England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Poland, France, Belgium, Italy are among those who have won both their fixtures and collected the maximum of 6 points, topping their respective groups as a consequence.
England's wins were probably the most emphatic with Gareth Southgate's men hammering in as many as 10 goals from their wins over Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Other than England, heavyweights Spain, Belgium, France and Italy registered wins from each of their 2 fixtures.
World champions France were particularly ruthless in their outing against Iceland, dispatching off the Nordic team 4-0 in Paris with goals coming from Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, Samuel Umtiti and Antoine Griezmann.
Turkey, too, share the same points as France but are placed second in Group H by virtue of an inferior goal average. The Turks had relatively weaker oppositions in the form of Albania and Moldova to deal with, as score-sheets of 0-2 and 4-0 would suggest.
Shock World Cup rejects Italy made a strong statement in their 2-0 and 6-0 wins over Finland and Liechtenstein respectively.
But 2016 European champions Portugal were left struggling in the third place in Group B having managed just a couple of points from their 2 games. The Iberian team were surprisingly held to a goalless draw by a much inferior Ukrainian side home at Lisbon.
That was followed by a 1-1 draw played out away in Serbia and to make matters worse for the Portuguese, star player Cristiano Ronaldo had to pull out with a hamstring injury.
A new-look and youthful German side shocked Netherlands 2-3 in a Group C fixture away at Amsterdam.
The German goals game from WC 2018 reject Leroy Sane, 23-year old Bayern Munich striker Serge Gnabry and Hoffenheim midfielder Nico Schulz. Both Netherlands and Germany share 3 points in a Group where an un-fancied Northern Ireland leads with 6 points.
The advantage the Germans have is that they have played just one game and have the chance of moving to the top of the Group C cluster when they face Belarus in their next fixture in June.
Quarter-finalists and hosts of WC 2018, Russia, were left struggling in the 3rd place of Group I with 3 points. After being beaten 1-3 by WC 2018 semi-finalists, Belgium, the Russians recovered impressively to beat Kazakhstan 0-4 away at Asthana.
Poland secured the top spot in a relatively easy Group J overcoming Austria and Latvia in two tight matches with score lines reading 0-1 and 2-0 respectively.
Republic of Ireland secured their second win of the Group D, hence helping themselves to the top of Group D after a hard fought 1-0 win over Georgia in Dublin. This follows a 0-1 away win over Gibraltar during the weekend.