Football Features

Eight things you might have missed in tonight’s Euro 2020 qualifiers as Sergio Ramos breaks record

By William Eldridge

Published: 22:02, 7 June 2019

The Euro 2020 qualifiers continued on Friday with some big matches taking place across the continent. 

Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland faced a trip to Scandinavia to take on a Denmark side that consists of Tottenham Hotspur transfer seeker, Christian Eriksen.

Another side facing a trip abroad was Euro 2012 winners Spain, who took on minnows Faroe Islands, while England’s 2018 World Cup quarter-final opponents Sweden hosted Malta.

A grand total of 12 fixtures took place this Friday and here are eight things you may have missed from Friday’s Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures.

1. Ramos scores and breaks records

The Real Madrid defender has been in the press recently because of the uncertainty surrounding his future at the Spanish giants, although Sergio Ramos himself has confirmed that he wishes to stay with the club.

One thing that has never been in doubt is his commitment to his country, a country of which he has helped win the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012 respectively.

Facing the Faroe Islands in Group F on Friday, Spain defeated their inferior opposition 4-1 – with help from a goal from Ramos himself inside five minutes – to continue their 100% record in the qualification stage to date, three wins from three matches.

Friday’s win also secured Ramos’ record of most international wins, with the defender now sitting on 122 international wins with Spain, taking over goalkeeper Iker Casillas (121). Fun fact, the top four players for international wins are all Spanish: Ramos, Casillas, Xavi (100) and Andreas Iniesta (96).

2. Late goal keeps Ireland top

In one of the most exciting fixtures of the evening, Republic of Ireland travelled to Denmark knowing a win would really set them up perfectly for a great shot of qualifying for Euro 2020.

A Danish side which consisted of a want-away Christian Eriksen, Ireland knew they were in for a tough task, a task which got even tougher after Jens Stryger Larsen assisted Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Højbjerg to put the hosts 1-0 up with just 14 minutes remaining.

A night dominated by Premier League relations, Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back Shane Duffy popped up with a typical header five minutes from time to steal Ireland a vital point.

It means Ireland are top of Group D with seven points, three points ahead of Switzerland and five ahead of the Danes, but both have a game in hand.

3. Sweden’s ‘Mainz’ man strikes again

Having made his debut for Sweden in 2013 under former international boss Erik Hamrén, FSV Mainz 05 centre-forward Robin Quaison has finally started to get his name among the goals for his country.

Quaison scored in Sweden’s 2-1 victory over Romania and in their dramatic 3-3 draw with Norway in their previous two Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures.

On Friday, Quaison popped up once again after just two minutes to put his side ahead in their 3-0 victory over Malta. It was his third goal in three Euro 2020 qualifying games and his fifth goal in nine Sweden outings in total.

The 25-year-old scored seven goals in 28 games for Mainz this season as they finished 12th in the Bundesliga league table.

4. Ukraine ‘Bale’ continues to impress

At the age of just 21, Dynamo Kyiv forward Viktor Tsyhankov has the world at his feet as he continues to impress on both the domestic and international stage.

Tsyhankov has scored 37 goals for Kyiv in all competitions in the past two seasons and has now brought that excellent goalscoring form to the Ukraine senior side.

Ukraine defeated Serbia 5-0 on Friday evening in Group B with Tsyhankov scoring two goals in two first-half minutes to put the tie in the hosts’ hands.

Once described as the ‘Ukrainian Bale‘, the forward – who was once linked with a move to Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur – may continue to turn heads as the summer transfer window progresses.

5. England’s rivals play catch-up

With Gareth Southgate’s side involved in the Nations League semi-finals on Thursday evening, every other side in their Euro 2020 qualifying group continued to fight for a place in next year’s competition.

Montenegro – who England defeated 5-1 on their own turf – hosted Kosovo, who came away from a tightly contested match with a point to their name, drawing 1-1.

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The Czech Republic saw Bulgaria come to town and with a double from AS Roma forward Patrik Schick, sent the Bulgarians back home without any reward for their efforts, winning 2-1.

England knew they would finish the evening top of the pile regardless of the scores but tonight’s results mean they are three points ahead of the Czech Republic at the top of the table, but their goal difference is a mighty 13 goals better than the Czech’s after just 180 minutes of play.

6. Real Madrid playmaker steps up 

Once touted as one of the most promising players of his generation, things have slowed down over the past few seasons for Real Madrid youngster Martin Odegaard.

Still just 20-years-old, Odegaard was recently quoted as saying: “The indication from Real Madrid is that they are very happy with me, but it is difficult to play there and probably it will also be the case next season.”

What with Friday’s official announcement of Eden Hazard’s arrival in Madrid on a five-year-contract, Odegaard’s goal for Norway tonight came at a perfect time to let club boss Zinedine Zidane know that he is still an option going into next season.

Norway netted twice in the second half but could only draw 2-2 with Romania, a result which keeps them fifth in Group F, with just the Faroe Islands sitting below them.

7. Serbian collapse despite their quality

To look at their squad on paper, Serbia had many recognisable faces among their ranks on Friday, including recent Real Madrid signing, Luka Jović, who will join up with the Spanish giants in July.

Jović didn’t have a look in this evening and was eventually substituted. However, Serbia still had the likes of Dusan Tadic and Aleksandar Kolarov providing experience to the side.

In truth, this was an experience the Serbs will wish to forget, especially if they are to get their Euro campaign back up and running as soon as possible.

They currently sit bottom of Group B after two matches with just a single point, with the likes of Luxembourg and Lithuania sitting above them.

8. Georgia hit three once again

Ranked just 94th in the official Fifa rankings, Georgia aren’t exactly renowned for their consistent success in the various major tournaments available to them.

Having failed to qualify for any competition since their first match in 1990, qualification from Group D this time around would be a mighty shock.

The likelihood of that occurring is low, however, they did their chances no harm on Friday by defeating Gilbratar 3-0 at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena.

In all competitions, it was their third 3-0 win in the past seven matches and their sixth win in the past nine matches, form that will please boss Vladimír Weiss.

Euro 2020 qualifiers final scores

Group A

Czech Republic 2-1 Bulgaria
Montenegro 1-1 Kosovo

Group B

Lithuania 1-1 Luxembourg
Ukraine 5-0 Serbia

Group D

Georgia 3-0 Gibraltar
Denmark 1-1 Republic of Ireland

Group F

Faroe Islands 1- 4 Spain
Norway 2-2 Romania
Sweden 3-0 Malta

Group G

Austria 1-0 Slovenia
Latvia 0-3 Israel
North Macedonia 0-1 Poland