Football Features

Eight things you might have missed from Tuesday’s Euro 2020 qualifiers

By Harry Edwards

Published: 21:49, 11 June 2019

Tuesday evening brought the final round of Euro 2020 qualifiers for the month, with another 13 matches taking place.

The likes of Italy, Germany, Belgium, France and Wales were all in action, looking to get one step closer to qualifying for next year’s tournament.

Naturally, with so much football on, it can be hard to keep track of everything. But fear not, Squawka have got you covered, with eight things you might have missed from Tuesday’s Euro 2020 qualifiers.

1. Marek Hamsik makes more history

Since his move to China in January, former Napoli captain Marek Hamsik may have fallen off the radar for most European football fans outside of his own supporters.

But the midfielder continues to put in high-level performances for club and country, scoring two in Slovakia’s 5-1 win over Azerbaijan to send his nation up to second in Group E.

The brace brought Hamsik up to 24 goals for Slovakia, overtaking Robert Vittek as the country’s all-time leading goalscorer. This adds to Hamsik already being Slovakia’s most-capped player with 114, as well as holding the appearance and goalscoring records for Napoli too.

2. Centurion Mbappe’s delightful dink

France bounced back from their 2-0 defeat to Turkey on Saturday by cruising to a 4-0 win away to Andorra.

Kylian Mbappe opened the scoring for the world champions with a chipped effort from close range, capping off a fast break.

The goal was incredibly Mbappe’s 100th in senior football for club and country, a record he has achieved in 180 matches, all while still only 20.

It was his 13th strike for the French national team, adding to 27 for Monaco and 60 for Paris Saint-Germain – having played just 87 games for the latter.

Mbappe was joined on the scoresheet by Wissam Ben Yedder, Florian Thauvin and Kurt Zouma to send Les Bleus back top of Group H.

3. Marco Reus on fire in Germany rout

Germany had a torrid 2018 as far as competitive international football was concerned, with Die Mannschaft winning just one of their seven non-friendly games.

But with 2019 in its sixth month, Germany are looking more like the team of old, the one crowned world champions in 2014.

After wins over Netherlands and Belarus, Estonia were up next, and were the unfortunate recipients of an 8-0 thrashing.

Five goals came in the first half for Germany, the first time they have scored five before half-time in a game since beating Brazil 7-1 en route to the World Cup in 2014.

Two of those goals, including a wonderful free-kick, came from Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus.

The 30-year-old scored in consecutive games for Germany for the first time since March 2015, to take his tally to 13 goals for the national team – 23.1% of which have come in June 2019.

4. Edin Dzeko ends Italy run

Plying his trade in Serie A, you would expect Italy’s defenders to understand the dangers of Edin Dzeko.

But the Bosnian striker put his side ahead after 32 minutes on Tuesday evening in Turin, tapping in from close range after a good move.

Remarkably, the goal ended a run of 600 minutes for Italy without conceding in international football. Prior to Dzeko, Ruslan Malinovskyi was the last player to score against Italy, in a 1-1 draw for Ukraine in October 2018.

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5. Teemu Pukki scores again

It’s becoming news of the ‘water is wet’ variety, but Teemu Pukki scored once again on Tuesday.

Building on his 29 goals in the Championship for Norwich City, guiding them back to the Premier League, Pukki scored twice for Finland in their recent win over Bosnia & Herzegovina.

But the 29-year-old was not done there. Before heading off for his much-deserved summer holidays, Pukki had time to score once more for Finland, opening in a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein.

6. Romelu Lukaku continues goalscoring run with Inter sniffing

Romelu Lukaku failed to score in his last eight games for Manchester United at the end of the 2018/19 season. His most recent goals for the Red Devils came in their 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain at the start of March.

But the Lukaku who represents Belgium is a different player, in fine goalscoring form for the other Red Devils.

With two goals against Scotland on Tuesday evening, Lukaku took his total tally for Belgium to 48 – three of which have come in the past two matches, extending his record as the nation’s all-time top goalscorer.

At a time when Lukaku’s Man Utd future is in doubt about Inter Milan interest, the Belgian forward is certainly doing himself no harm if he wants a move away.

7. A night for international firsts

As well as important wins in qualification campaigns, Tuesday was a night of firsts for some players on the international stage.

In France’s 4-0 win over Andorra, Kurt Zouma scored his first ever goal for Les Bleus on just his fourth appearance, heading in from a corner.

And almost 1,800 miles away in Belarus, there was another defender scoring his first international goal. There it was Paddy McNair for Northern Ireland, who cut inside and drilled low into the bottom right corner, scoring the only goal of the game to give his side another win.

The Green and White Army remain three points clear of Germany at the top of Group C, having won all four of their matches so far.

8. Wales’ poor away form continues

Wales hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 took a big hit on Tuesday evening as they were beaten 1-0 by Hungary.

Ryan Giggs’ men went into the game off the back of a 2-1 away defeat to Croatia and would have expected a tough game against the group leaders.

But the defeat means Wales have now won just one of their last six away games since the start of 2018, not the form needed when chasing qualification to a major tournament.