After a 1-1 draw in Ukraine, World Cup champions France faltered in their effort to qualify for the 2022 finals in Qatar, while Memphis Depay guided the Netherlands to a demolition of Montenegro on Saturday.
France drew their sixth consecutive match in Kiev, with Anthony Martial scoring his first international goal in five years to win a point for Didier Deschamps’ team.
The Manchester United striker, who missed Euro 2020 due to a knee injury, scored only his second goal in 29 caps to cancel out Ukraine midfielder Mykola Shaparenko’s spectacular first-half strike.
Les Bleus lead Group D by four points, but they have played two more games than Finland, whom they visit in Lyon on Tuesday. Finland defeated Kazakhstan 1-0 thanks to Joel Pohjanpalo’s second-half goal.
“We’re not in any better shape than we were before the match, but we’re not in any worse shape either. It’s just one more point when our goal was clearly to get all three “According to Deschamps, M6 is a French broadcaster.
So far, Ukraine has drawn all five of their qualifiers, including both matches against France.
Depay’s 4-0 win over Montenegro in Eindhoven kept Louis van Gaal’s squad in second place in Group G, behind Turkey, which won 3-0 in Gibraltar.
Depay, a Barcelona player, scored a penalty for the Dutch and added a second on the hour. Cody Gakpo scored his first goal for the national team with a fantastic curling shot, and captain Georginio Wijnaldum added a smooth third.
Van Gaal, who is back in command of the Netherlands for the third time, stated, “Once the first goal went in, we played in a much more relaxed manner and produced some pretty nice football.”
“Memphis had an outstanding performance. He was without a doubt the match’s MVP.”
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In Norway’s 2-0 win over Latvia, Erling Haaland converted a penalty kick for the second game in a row, while Mohamed Elyounoussi also scored.
Turkey, which visits Amsterdam next week, is a point behind Norway and the Netherlands.
“Now we must defeat Turkey on Tuesday. A win would put us in a great position to qualify for the tournament “Van Gaal added.
Croatia won 1-0 away to Slovakia thanks to Marcelo Brozovic’s late goal, keeping the 2018 World Cup runners-up level with Russia in Group H.
Russia defeated Cyprus 2-0 on the road, while Slovenia defeated Malta 1-0 at home.
Denmark needed a goal from Jonas Wind in the 85th minute to beat the Faroe Islands 1-0 and win their sixth game in a row in Group F.
Eran Zahavi added two more goals to his hat-trick against the Faroe Islands in midweek to help Israel defeat Austria 5-2.
Lyndon Dykes’ early goal gave Scotland a 1-0 home win over Moldova, moving them over Austria into third place.
Serbia overcame Luxembourg 4-1 to move ahead of Portugal on goal difference at the top of Group A. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice.
The Republic of Ireland rescued a disappointing 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan at home thanks to a late Shane Duffy equalizer.