Oranje, Red Dev­ils ride easy

Ger­many Also Close To Fi­nals

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport -

Paris: Bel­gium and the Nether­lands both cruised to 4-0 wins over Scot­land and Es­to­nia re­spec­tively in Euro 2020 qual­i­fy­ing on Mon­day, while Ger­many claimed a cru­cial vic­tory over North­ern Ire­land in their bid to qual­ify for next year’s fi­nals.

Roberto Martinez’s Bel­gium, the world-num­ber-one ranked side, were not at their best but still swat­ted aside a poor Scot­land out­fit at Ham­p­den Park to make it six wins from as many matches in Group I.

In­ter Mi­lan striker Romelu Lukaku gave the vis­i­tors the lead in Glas­gow in only the ninth minute with his Bel­gian record-ex­tend­ing 49th in­ter­na­tional goal. De­fend­ers Thomas Ver­mae­len and Toby Alder­weireld ended the game as a con­test with less than 32 min­utes on the clock. Manch­ester City mid­fielder Kevin De Bruyne, who had as­sisted each of the first three goals, com­pleted the scor­ing him­self with eight min­utes re­main­ing. Rus­sia re­main in pole po­si­tion to progress from Group I with Bel­gium, af­ter Mario Fer­nan­des’ win­ner sealed a 1-0 win over Kaza­khstan which moved Stanislav Cherch­esov’s men eight points ahead of their beaten op­po­nents.

Dutch dou­ble for Babel

The Nether­lands backed up their stun­ning 4-2 win over Ger­many in Ham­burg last Fri­day by thrash­ing Es­to­nia in Tallinn, as Ryan Babel scored his maiden in­ter­na­tional dou­ble.

Mem­phis De­pay grabbed the third goal, with Liver­pool’s Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum also find­ing the net. The Euro 1988 win­ners next host the North­ern Ir­ish on Oc­to­ber 10 in a cru­cial e.

Ger­many lead the group stand­ings af­ter edg­ing to a nervy 2-0 vic­tory in Belfast. Mar­cel Hal­sten­berg's bril­liant vol­ley broke the dead­lock shortly af­ter

IN FORM:

half-time in a tense en­counter, and Serge Gnabry gave Joachim Loew's men breath­ing space in in­jury-time.

Croa­tia stum­ble

Ear­lier on Satur­day, Croa­tia suf­fered a set­back in their qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign as they were held to a 1-1draw by Azer­bai­jan in Baku. The 2018 World Cup run­ners-up took an early lead through a Luka Mo­dric penalty, but the hosts hit back with Tamkin Khalilzade's bril­liant 72nd-minute equaliser to claim their first point in Group E. Lead­ers Croa­tia are only ahead of third-placed Hun­gary, who they host on Oc­to­ber10, by one point, with Slo­vakia sec­ond on head-to-head record af­ter win­ning 2-1in Bu­dapest.

Wales are three points fur­ther back, but hav­ing played a game fewer.

Azer­bai­jan, coached by Croa­t­ian Nikola Jurce­vic, re­main rooted to the foot of the ta­ble. Else­where, North Mace­do­nia kept their hopes of reach­ing a maiden ma­jor tour­na­ment alive with a 2-0 win in Latvia. The Balkan na­tion sit fourth in Group G, but are only three points be­hind sec­ond-placed Slove­nia af­ter their dra­matic 3-2 win over Israel, with Austria two points bet­ter off in third fol­low­ing a goal­less stale­mate at lead­ers Poland.

De Bruyne best play­maker: Martinez

Glas­gow: Bel­gium coach Roberto Martinez has hailed Kevin De Bruyne as “the best play­maker in the world” af­ter he scored one goal and set up three more in their 4-0 win over Scot­land in Euro 2020 qual­i­fy­ing on Mon­day.

“For me, he is the best play­maker in the world,” said Martinez. “Play­mak­ers dic­tate the tempo, give per­fect passes and they take re­spon­si­bil­ity. He did all of that against Scot­land.” Martinez also said he was glad to see other play­ers step up. “I was pleased with the per­for­mances of our ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers be­cause Eden Hazard was not here,” he added. many as three all-outs in the 20-minute pe­riod, to stay in the mix for a playoff berth. Desh­wal starred with 9 points.

U Mumba, who are in fifth place with 43 points from 14 matches, take on hosts Bengal War­riors on Wed­nes­day.

Tel­ugu Ti­tans, on the other hand, are in ninth place with 30 points. Da­bang Delhi lead the pack with 59 points.

Fol­low­ing a dis­as­trous start which saw them win just one match in their first eight out­ings, Tel­ugu Ti­tans rekin­dled

REUTERS

Bel­gium’s Kevin De Bruyne (right) scores their fourth goal against Scot­land

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