England and Denmark win to put one foot in Qatar next year but France and Italy both stutter
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(Football news) After a scintillating matchweek 4, the World Cup qualifiers were in full flow, with victories for England and Denmark they maintained their perfect record in the qualifiers to put one step in Qatar next year. World Champions France and European Champions Italy are still yet to find their mojo in these ongoing qualifiers.
England won comfortably 4-0 against lower ranked opponents Andorra. Gareth Southgate completely changed his playing eleven as he handed out full international debuts to Patrick Bamford and Sam Johnstone. The star of the show was Jesse Lingard as he bagged two goals and an assist for Saka who scored his first goal for England on his birthday. Harry Kane put the finishing touches by scoring a penalty on a dominant performance for the Three Lions. With this result, England have 5 wins out of 5 matches and lead Group I with 15 points.
The World champions France drew 1-1 to Ukraine in what was their fifth consecutive draw. Dider Deschamps made changes to the starting line up by deploying out of favour Manchester United striker Anthony Martial who only scored his second goal for Les Bleus. Ukrainians under new management showed a good account of themselves as they put the French under the back foot in the first half which resulted in them scoring through Mykola Shaparenko. With this draw, France still lead Group D with 9 points from 5 matches.
European Champions Italy were held to a dull 0-0 against Switzerland, Robert Mancini’s side couldn’t break the resolute defence of the Swiss as they had majority of the possession and more shots on goals. The Italians won a penalty in the 53rd minute which was taken by Jorginho but it was brilliantly saved by Yan Sommer who was arguably the man of the match as he kept the Swiss in the game. With two draws the Italians now have 11 points from 5 matches in Group C but have played two more games then Switzerland.
Germany won 6-0 against Armenia in a resounding performance, this was Hansi Flick’s first home match and they were rampant in the first half as two goals from Serge Gnabry, Marco Reus and Timo Werner put the contest to an end in the first half itself. The story of the second half was of the debutants as goals from Jonas Hoffman and Karim Adeyemi helped put the Germans top of Group J as they have 12 points from 5 matches.
The Dutch won 4-0 against Montenegro as two goals from Depay helped them consolidate their 2nd position in a tough group G consisting of Turkey and Norway. Spain won 4-0 against Georgia as goals from Jose Gaya, Carlos Soler, Ferran Torres and Pablo Sarabia helped them reclaim top spot in Group B but have played two matches more than Sweden. Belgium continued their winning run as they won 3-0 against Czech Republic as goals from Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Saelemaekers helped the Red Devils to 13 points from 5 matches to lead Group E from the Czech’s.
The other notable results were:
Denmark 1 (Jonas Wind) - 0 Faroe Islands
Belarus 2 (Lisakovich, Sedko) - 3 Wales ( Gareth Bale x3)
Slovakia 0 - 1 Croatia (Brozovic)
Gibraltar 0 - 3 Turkey (Dervisoglu, Calhanoglu, Karaman)
Latvia 0 - 2 Norway ( Haaland, Elyounoussi)