Bukayo Saka in the 2022 FIFA World Cup group match between England and Iran, Qatar
Bukayo Saka in the 2022 FIFA World Cup group match between England and Iran, Qatar | (Photo by Maryam Majd ATPImages/Getty images)

Football | Euro 2024 Qualifiers | Matchday 4 | Roundup

By Robert Wheeler

  • England put seven past North Macedonia
  • Scotland defy the rain to beat Georgia
  • Wales and Northern Ireland lose again
Europe – It was a familiar story for the home nations with wins for both England and Scotland but losses for Wales and Northern Ireland.


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England cannot stop scoring

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After putting four past Malta last week, England beat North Macedonia 7-0 at Old Trafford to continue their perfect start to the Euro 2024 qualifiers. The night was all about Bukayo Saka who scored his first hat-trick for the Three Lions.

Harry Kane gave England the lead with a tap-in before Saka fired in his first to double their lead. Marcus Rashford made it three just before half time. The goals kept coming after the break as Trent Alexander-Arnold played a great ball to Saka who smashed it into the top corner.

Saka then got his third when he latched onto Kane’s through ball before slotting past Stole DimitrievskiKalvin Philips came off the bench to score his first England goal before Kane completed the rout from the penalty spot.

The result showed how ruthless Gareth Southgate‘s side can be. They are top of Group C having won four games out of four and next up for the Three Lions is Ukraine in September.


Not even the rain can stop Scotland

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Scotland’s perfect start to Group A continued with a 2-0 victory over Georgia. The match was played despite heavy rain at Hampden Park which delayed the game but it could not stop Steve Clarke‘s side from making it four wins from four matches. 

Play from the start was bizarre with the amount of water on the pitch. At every kick of the ball, there were splashes and it would not have been long before a game of water polo could commence. Scotland still found a way to score as Callum McGregor fired in from a corner. McGregor was wise to hit his shot through the air as if his effort was along the ground it would have got bogged down in the pitch.

The match was then delayed whilst the grounds staff attempted to sweep the water off the pitch. The game did not restart until 90 minutes later. Scott McTominay doubled his side’s lead with a great strike into the bottom corner. Georgia did not want to continue the match but they had a chance to get one back late on from the penalty spot. However, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia‘s penalty was blazed over the bar.

The conditions were not great but it was the same for both sides. The result puts Clarke’s side in a very good position to make it to Germany next year.


Wales’ poor form continues

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Wales embarrassingly lost to Armenia last time out and their poor form continued with a 2-0 defeat away to Turkey. There were early warning signs that Rob Page‘s side was in for a tough night as Zeki Celik found the back of the net for the home side. However, his goal was ruled out by VAR for offside.

The visitors were not helped when Joe Morrell got himself sent off just before the break for a high challenge. After half time, Turkey missed the chance to take the lead as Hakan Calhanoglu‘s penalty was saved by Danny Ward.

Turkey then had another goal ruled out, Umut Nayir thought he had given his side the lead but VAR deemed him to have handled the ball before scoring. Nayir then finally gave Turkey the lead with a header. The victory was then sealed as Arda Guler curled his shot into the top corner from outside the box.

The result means Wales are fourth in Group D and five points off the leader Turkey. Page has already conceded that his side will need to win all their remaining games if they are to make it to Germany.


Late drama again for Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland was denied a point against Denmark in their last game as Callum Marshall‘s goal in added time was ruled out for offside. Their fortunes did not improve as it was late heartbreak again for Michael O’Neill‘s side as Abat Aymbetov claimed a 1-0 win for Kazakhstan with a goal in the 88th minute.

O’Neill managed to qualify Northern Ireland for Euro 2016. However, their campaign to make it to Germany is all but over as this result leaves them fifth in Group H with just three points.


Matchday 5 of the Euro 2024 qualifiers get underway from September 7.