The international break for domestic leagues has started and it only means that the chase for European supremacy in the UEFA European Championship qualifiers will resume its matches to know who will get the access to the Euro 2020. Before the first set of matches this coming week, let’s do a recap of the latest matches where 6 nations already booked their place in the next round.
The Belgium national team became the first team to secure a place in the Euro 2020 after crushing San Marino in a record-equaling 9-0 win at home. Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku displayed an outstanding performance in the said match, netting his 5th goal for the national team and making him the first player in Belgium history to achieve that feat.
They have equaled their best scoring margin since the 10-1 win against the same opponents back in February 2001. Manager Roberto Martinez also admits that this match is by far his best in his 12-year managerial career. 18-year-old attacking midfielder Yari Verschaeren also made an impressive debut as he contributed in this heavy win, making him the 13th-youngest player in Belgian history to feature for the senior side.
Martinez’ men have maintained their winning streak after beating Kazakhstan 0-2 on the road, having won all 8 games in Group I derbies before the break ends. They will try to maintain the impressive form as they finish the qualifiers facing Russia and Cyprus this week.
Italy became the second team to secure a spot in the Euro 2020 after bagging all three points at home in a hard-fought win against Greece 2-0. In the recent years, Italy have shown underwhelming results that dropped them in several competitions including the 2018 World Cup, the first time they failed to make it in that tournament since 1958.
Under new manager Roberto Mancini, the squad slowly revives its glory that reflected in the qualifications results. After revamping the team since Mancini’s appointment in May 2018, they have won all 8 games, scored 25 goals and conceded just 3, including the victory over Greece and Liechtenstein before the international break ends. Chelsea’s Jorginho put the team ahead of the match against the Greeks, while Federico Bernadeschi finished it that sealed the team’s place to the top flight.
The Russian team only needed a point to follow the group winners Belgium in the Euro 2020, but they took all 3 points in the win against Cyprus 5-0 that booked their place in the next rounds of the competition. Valencia forward Denis Cheryshev scored twice that opens the team’s lead.
The further goals of the game were scored by Magomed Ozdoev, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Golovin. They have won 7 of 8 games in Group I with 21 points collected that locked the chances of the other teams behind them to qualify for next year’s tournament.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s have already set a historical record by scoring 7 consecutive win in the qualifying competitions, surpassing the success of the team led by Oleg Romantsev in 1999. Cherchesov believed that the qualification was only a first step in the ambitious plan set for the Russian national team for the UEFA Euro 2020.
Poland thrashed North Macedonia 2-0 that booked their place in the Euro 2020. Przemysław Frankowski and Napoli start player Arkadiusz Milik scored the winnings goals for the Polish national team. Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski ended his scoring streak in this match, but he paved way in these 2 important goals, assisting both goals that sealed them the qualification.
Jerzy Brzeczek’s men have won 6 of 8 qualifying matches and top the Group G table prior and after the qualification. They will face Israel and Slovenia in the last 2 matches of the qualifications during the international break this week.
The last team to qualify before the international break ended last time was Ukraine national team under the legendary Andriy Shevchenko’s management. They thrashed Portugal 2-1 at home that booked their place in the tournament next year and left their opponent in a crucial spot of the Group B table. This is also Portugal’s first lost after 14 matches.
They needed just a point against Portugal to ensure the spot, but they took all 3 points with the First-half goals from Roman Yaremchuk and Andriy Yarmolenko that put the team on the lead. Meanwhile Cristiano Ronaldo in 72nd minute penalty scored his 700th goal, making him the 6th player in history to have officially reached this feat.
The Spain national team booked their spot to the Euro 2020 despite sharing spoils with Sweden 1-1. Rodrigo’s injury-time goal sealed the place for the Spaniards, but didn’t bag the whole three points from the game with Marcus Berg’s goal for Sweden.
However, this qualification paid a price as Manchester United keeper David de Gea injured after making a stunning save to deny Robin Quaison in the first half. De Gea missed a couple of games for the Red Devils right after the injury, but returned to the game after recovery.