Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | ePaper

England, France win big, Portugal held as Euro defense opens

  • Print


England's Jadon Sancho (right) and Czech Republic's David Pavelka run for the ball during the Euro 2020 group A qualifying soccer match between England and the Czech Republic at Wembley stadium in London on Friday.

AP, London :
Big and slick wins for France and England. Not even a goal for Portugal.
Even with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the Portugal side for the first time since last year's World Cup, the European champions could only begin their title defense with a 0-0 home draw against Ukraine.
The goals were flowing elsewhere on Friday night in Euro 2020 qualifying.
World champion France opened with a 4-1 victory at Moldova while Raheem Sterling scored his first international hat trick as England routed the Czech Republic 5-0.
The only surprise in Chisinau was that it took France 23 minutes to score.
It was worth the wait. Paul Pogba collected Antoine Griezmann's pass and floated the ball over the defense for the Atletico Madrid striker to run onto and connect with a left-foot volley.
Griezmann was the supplier of the second goal three minutes later, whipping in a corner that Raphael Varane met at the near post with a flicked header.
For the third, Pogba combined with Blaise Matuidi, who dinked in a cross which Giroud touched home with his left foot. With a 34th international goal, Giroud equaled third place on the France scoring chart with David Trezeguet. Michel Platini's 41 is the next target, and Thierry Henry holds the France record with 51 goals.
"I'm not used to placing my personal objectives ahead of those of the team, but it's a nice thing to now be level with Trezeguet," Giroud said. "He was a great goal-scorer. I hope to climb even further in the all-time list and we'll have to wait and see."It took until the 87th minute for Kylian Mbappe to break Moldova's second-half resistance, slotting home from 12 yards (11 meters).
Also in Group H, Iceland won 2-0 at Andorra and Turkey beat Albania by the same score.
In the first pan-continental European Championship, 12 stadiums in 12 European countries will stage the finals. Wembley has the biggest role, with seven games, including the semifinals and final.
England - like all the hosts this time - must go through qualifying to make the 24-team tournament.
Even though the creative spark was missing for the first 24 minutes, England came to life when the front three combined. Jadon Sancho collected a pass from Harry Kane before squaring the ball for the unmarked Sterling to slide in to net the opener.
When Sterling was bundled over by defenders Pavel Kaderabek and Tomas Kalas in first-half stoppage time, a penalty was awarded that Kane converted.

More News For this Category

Suarez, Cavani score as Uruguay crush 10-man Ecuador in Copa America

Suarez, Cavani score as Uruguay crush 10-man Ecuador in Copa America

AFP, Belo Horizonte :Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were on target as Uruguay thumped 10-man Ecuador 4-0 in their opening Group C match at the Copa America on Sunday.Nicolas Lodeiro

Qatar hit back to snatch Paraguay draw in Copa America debut

Qatar hit back to snatch Paraguay draw in Copa America debut

AFP, Rio De Janeiro :Boualem Khoukhi scored 13 minutes from time as Asian champions Qatar hit back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw with Paraguay at the Copa

Salah helps Egypt to another Africa Cup warm-up victory

Salah helps Egypt to another Africa Cup warm-up victory

AFP, Johannesburg :Egypt superstar Mohamed Salah came off the bench but did not score as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations hosts defeated fellow qualifiers Guinea 3-1 Sunday in a

Arsenal refusing to sell AC Milan target Lucas Torreira

Arsenal refusing to sell AC Milan target Lucas Torreira

Arsenal are refusing to sell midfielder Lucas Torreira amid interest from AC Milan, according to Sky in Italy.With Marco Giampaolo set to move from Sampdoria to the San Siro as

David double as Canada rout Martinique

David double as Canada rout Martinique

AFP, Los Angeles :Canada kicked off the CONCACAF Gold Cup with an emphatic win over Martinique on Saturday, outclassing the Caribbean minnows 4-0 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California.Two

Messi 'bitter' as Colombia stun Argentina

Messi 'bitter' as Colombia stun Argentina

AFP, Salvador :Lionel Messi said his team was feeling bitter after Argentina lost their opening Copa America match 2-0 to Colombia despite dominating the second half.Goals from Roger Martinez and

Coutinho brace helps Brazil forget Neymar in winning Copa start

Coutinho brace helps Brazil forget Neymar in winning Copa start

AFP, Sao Paulo :A brace from Philippe Coutinho handed hosts Brazil a winning start to the Copa America on Friday in a 3-0 victory over Bolivia as the absence of

Sunday's hat-trick helps Dhaka Abahani beat Rahmatganj 5-2

A brilliant hat-trick by Nigerian booter Sunday Chizoba enabled defending champions Dhaka Abahani Ltd to pile up another impressive 5-2 goals victory over Rahmatganj MFS in the 13-team Bangladesh Premier

Juventus move ends Sarri's unhappy marriage with Chelsea

Juventus move ends Sarri's unhappy marriage with Chelsea

Agency :Maurizio Sarri is set to return to Italy to take the vacant managerial role at Juventus and bring the curtain down on a fretful one-year stay at Chelsea.Sarri

'Japanese Messi' Kubo set for Real Madrid move

'Japanese Messi' Kubo set for Real Madrid move

AFP, Tokyo :Teenage sensation Takefusa Kubo is poised to be snapped up by Spanish giants Real Madrid, Japanese media reported on Friday.The FC Tokyo forward, who recently made his