Scotland were all but qualified after defeating Cyprus 3-0 to make it five victories in a row. Scott McTominay scored with a header early on. The Manchester United player may not be playing for his club but he has now scored six goals for his country in this qualifying campaign. Ryan Porteous doubled their lead before John McGinn sealed the victory with a fine strike from the edge of the box.
There was a chance that Scotland could have qualified if Norway and Georgia drew. However, whilst Steve Clarke‘s side were losing to England, Norway managed to win 2-1.
England dropped their first points of the qualifying campaign as they drew 1-1 with Ukraine in Poland. However, there is no need to panic as Gareth Southgate‘s side remain top of their group.
Oleksandr Zinchenko finished off a swift counter-attack to give Ukraine the lead but Kyle Walker equalised with his first goal for the Three Lions. Southgate surprisingly took off both Jude Bellingham and James Maddison midway through the second half. The manager has come under more criticism for being too pragmatic because of his cautious tactics.
However, the Three Lions were much improved when they took on Scotland at Hampden Park. After missing a good chance early on, Phil Foden got the opening goal of the night as he deflected in Walker’s shot. Bellingham soon after doubled their advantage as he fired in the ball that was gifted to him through Andy Robertson‘s mistake.
Robertson made amends in the second half as his cross led to Harry Maguire scoring an own-goal. Scotland’s fightback did not last long as Bellingham played through Harry Kane who slotted in to make it three and seal the victory.
Northern Ireland’s international break did not get off to the best of starts as they suffered a 4-2 defeat to Slovenia in Ljubljana. The result means Michael O’Neill‘s side have now lost four games on the bounce and their hopes of going to Germany next year are all but over.
The match started in a catastrophic fashion as Andraz Sporar gave the home side the lead after just three minutes. Northern Ireland equalised soon after through Isaac Price. However, it was not long until they fell behind again, Petar Stojanovic‘s cross was deflected in off Johnny Evans.
Benjamin Sesko made it three for Slovenia with a fine effort from the edge of the box. Evans then made amends for his own-goal by getting one back for the Green and White Army as his shot took a deflection but ended up in the top corner. Slovenia’s victory was then secured by Sporar claiming his second of the game, as he rounded Northern Ireland’s keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell before passing the ball into an empty net.
The break got worse for O’Neill’s team as in their second qualifier, they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Kazakhstan. MaximSamorodov‘s goal was enough to see off Northern Ireland. The Green and White army still has just three points and sits fifth in Group H.
The European Championship qualifiers return on October 12.
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