Football Features

Euro 2020 qualifying: Six things you might have missed as Emerson injury leaves Chelsea fretting

By Chris Smith

Published: 21:45, 8 September 2019

Sunday was packed full of international action as Euro 2020 qualifying rolled on once again.

The likes of Spain, Italy and Denmark were all in action as each staked their claim to be a part of next summer’s showpiece tournament.

Here is the best of the action you might have missed.

1. Record-equalling Ramos

At long last, Sergio Ramos has finally picked up his 167th cap for Spain, drawing level with Iker Casillas as the nation’s most capped player of all-time.

He may be incredibly divisive but nobody can question just how important he’s been to La Roja during that time, winning three back-to-back major honours between 2008 and 2012 and scoring a remarkable 21 goals, including eight in his last 10 caps. Some achievement for a centre-back.

A brilliant captain who, even at 33, is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.

2. Denmark stumble to damaging draw

As far as damaging results go, few could be worse than Denmark’s 0-0 draw away to Georgia.

The Danes dominated most of the game but were unable to break down a stubborn Georgian defence and in the end, actually had to survive something of a late barrage from the hosts, whose only result in Group D prior to Sunday was a 3-0 win over lowly Gibraltar back in June.

The stalemate keeps Denmark in second place but just a point ahead of Switzerland having played a game more, while they missed the chance to go level on points with group leaders, Republic of Ireland. Fixtures against those two are still to come and this group is sure to go down to the wire.

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3. Emerson injury leaves Chelsea fans fretting

It’s been a tough old start to the season for Frank Lampard and Chelsea, sitting 11th in the Premier League table having won just one of their four games so far. Well, it just got a whole lot tougher with left-back Emerson Palmieri limping off injured in the early stages of Italy’s clash with Finland.

The Blues have a ready-made left-back ready to step into the fray in the form of Marcos Alonso but for all his set-piece expertise, the Spaniard is somewhat questionable defensively and, putting it politely, he isn’t a favourite among Chelsea fans. A 30-second scroll through Twitter was a great testament to that…

That injury list is getting pretty hefty.

4. Bonucci climbs the ladder

This evening’s headlines will be shared by Ramos equalling Casillas’ appearance record and the injury to Emerson but a nod must also be given to Leonardo Bonucci. The Juventus centre-back lined up against Finland to make his 91st appearance for Italy, drawing him level with Alessandro Del Piero as the nation’s 10th-most capped player of all-time.

During that time, Bonucci has managed seven goals and picked up the knack of scoring against some pretty major nations, including Germany, France and the Netherlands. And, of course, who can forget his iconic partnership with Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli for club and country?

5. Pukki penalty continues strong start

Prior to Sunday’s clash, Jorginho highlighted Norwich City man Teemu Pukki as Finland’s star man and biggest threat, having scored five goals in four Premier League games so far this season.

Apparently, his Italian teammates didn’t get the memo, allowing the 29-year-old to run free into the penalty area before being fouled by Stefano Sensi.

Of course, Pukki converted the penalty to bring Finland level, before another penalty from Jorginho himself put Italy back in front. Still, it’s another goal in what is quickly turning into a dream start to the season for Pukki, who will be vital in keeping Norwich up as well as firing Finland to a first-ever major tournament.

6. Late double continues remarkable Alcacer run

Paco Alcacer was only given a 29-minute cameo against the Faroe Islands on Sunday but that’s all he needed to get himself on the scoresheet, bagging two goals in three minutes as Spain finally put the minnows to the sword.

 

The Borussia Dortmund striker has been absolutely on fire so far this season and his late brace means he has now scored nine goals in seven games for club and country combined, getting himself on the scoresheet in every single game he’s played in.

His move to the Bundesliga has done wonders for Alcacer’s confidence and if he can keep scoring at this rate, Dortmund might just have a chance of toppling Bayern Munich’s monopoly on the German top flight this term.

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