France, Germany, Italy and Spain registered important victories in Round 2 of the Europe qualifiers for FIFA World Cup 2022.
France go top of Group D
The Les Bleus went top of the Group D standings over Finland, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kazakhstan, after a 2-0 win over the Kazakhs. Ukraine and Finland drew 1-1 in the other fixture of the group. The French side only saw captain Hugo Lloris at goal and Antoine Griezmann upfront from their previous game with Ukraine. Griezmann made a French record of 45 continuous starts for his national side.
Griezmann’s Barcelona teammate Ousmane Dembele opened the scoring after 20 minutes into the game. He was set up for the finish by Manchester United winger Anthony Martial after receiving a peach of a pass from his club teammate Paul Pogba from the midfield. This was Dembele’s return to the French side after a gap of 2 years.
France doubled their lead in the fag end of the first half as Maliy, who earlier denied Martial from a goal-scoring opportunity, headed across in the back of his own net.
Didier Deschamps’ side could have gone up 3-0 in the second-half but Kazakhstan goalkeeper Aleksandr Mokin saved Kylian Mbappe’s attempt from the spot.
France will play Bosnia and Herzegovina on April 1 before the club football season resumes.
Germany go to top of Group J with a hard-fought win over Armenia.
Germany made it two wins out of two matches in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers with a hard-fought win over Armenia. The Die Mannschaft registered a 1-0 win courtesy of a goal from Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry.
Chelsea winger Kai Havertz made a terrific run down the wings and squared off to find Serge Gnabry inside the box, who finished off the chance with seven meters away from the goal to open the scoring in the 17th minute.
Germany came close to doubling their lead as Joshua Kimmich’s shot rattled the crossbar in the second half. Germany piled on intense pressure on the Romanians by consistent shots on target, but an inspiring display from the Romanian goalkeeper Florin Nita kept the scores just 1-0.
Romania hardly got a chance to score, but they could have ruined the party for the German side when Nicholae Stanciu missed a sitter from close range from a low angle in the fag end of the game.
Italy leapfrog Switzerland in Group C
Bulgaria’s spirited performance was not enough as Italy scraped in 2-0 winners on Monday with goals from Andrea Belotti and Manuel Locatelli to continue their perfect record in the World Cup qualifiers.
Belotti converted a penalty after earning a spot-kick himself in the 43rd minute. Locatelli made it 2-0 in the late stages of the second half to take Italy to the summit of Group C ahead of Switzerland.
Spain close in gap with Sweden in Group B
Spain survived a scare after Luis Enrique’s side overturned a 1-0 deficit in Georgia to run out 2-1 winners after the full-time whistle.
Georgia went ahead late in the first half through Khvicha Kvaratskhelia before Ferran Torres equalised later in the second half. Dani Olmo snatched a stoppage side winner with a belter of a strike to hand Spain their first victory in the current World Cup qualification campaign.