Ukraine extend France’s winless run, Netherlands thrash Montenegro – World Cup qualifying round-up | Football News

Anthony Martial rescued a point for France in Ukraine as their winless run extended to five games, while Netherlands thrashed Montenegro 4-0.

France’s winless streak stretched to five games as Les Bleus were held to a 1-1 draw away to Ukraine in their World Cup qualifier in Group D on Saturday.

The world champions fell behind when Mykola Shaparenko found the back of the net after 44 minutes before Anthony Martial restored parity early in the second half.

France still top the group on nine points from five games after a 1-1 draw against Bosnia on Wednesday and three days before hosting second-placed Finland.

Ukraine are third behind the Finns, who also have five points, with Bosnia and Kazakhstan both on two points.

Finland edged past Kazakhstan to jump into second spot in Group D with Joel Pohjanpalo’s second-half goal enough to extend their unbeaten start, and earn a first victory in the group.

Group G: Netherlands thrash Montenegro

Memphis Depay netted a double in Luis Van Gaal’s first competitive game back

Memphis Depay scored twice to guide the Netherlands to a first win following the return of coach Louis van Gaal with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Montenegro in their World Cup Group G qualifier in Eindhoven.

Depay slotted a first-half penalty and added a second goal after the break to take his recent tally to nine in as many games for the Dutch, who also scored through Georginio Wijnaldum and a first international strike for Cody Gakpo.

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Highlights of the World Cup qualifier group G match between Netherlands and Montenegro.

They are second in Group G midway through qualification with 10 points from five games, one point behind leaders Turkey and on the same number as third-placed Norway.

Netherlands host Turkey in Amsterdam in a potentially key game on Tuesday, while Norway are at home to minnows Gibraltar.

Turkey kept up their impressive start to the group with a routine 3-0 win over Gibraltar, but were made to wait for a breakthrough at the Victoria Stadium.

Halil Dervisoglu finally broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half before Hakan Calhanoglu and Kenen Karaman secured a more comfortable scoreline.

Goals in each half earned Norway a 2-0 win in Latvia, with a Erling Haaland penalty setting them on their way early on.

Southampton winger Mohamed Elyounoussi added to the scoreline just after the hour to keep his country on the coat-tails of the Netherlands.

Group A: Serbia leapfrog Portugal with big win

Alaksandar Mitrovic continued his fine run of form for Serbia
Alaksandar Mitrovic continued his fine run of form for Serbia

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s rich vein of form continued as he scored a first-half brace which helped Serbia to a 4-1 home win over Luxembourg that sent them top of Group A.

Serbia nosed ahead of Portugal on goal difference with both teams on 10 points from four games, four ahead of third-placed Luxembourg. Ireland and Azerbaijan have one point each after their 1-1 draw in Dublin.

It was another effervescent performance from Fulham striker Mitrovic who took his tally to seven goals in the qualifiers, firing Serbia ahead in the 22nd minute as he steered in a sublime pass by Sergej-Milinkovic Savic.

Mitrovic doubled Serbia’s lead in the 35th as he powered a close-range header past visiting goalkeeper Anthony Moris after an inch-perfect cross from the left by Filip Kostic, who tormented his marker throughout the first half.

Serbia took their foot off the pedal after the break and were punished for some slack defending in the 77th minute as Olivier Thill pulled one back for Luxembourg with a rasping shot from 18 yards.

Substitute Dusan Vlahovic missed a sitter before a Maxime Chanot own goal restored Serbia’s two-goal lead after Moris parried Mitrovic’s header and the rebound ricocheted off the defender’s foot over the line.

Luxembourg had striker Gerson Rodrigues sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card before defender Nikola Milenkovic put the icing on the cake for Serbia with a fine header from another superb cross by Kostic.

Shane Duffy rescued the Republic of Ireland as they left it late to salvage a first point of the World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan.

Duffy’s 87th-minute header, his fifth international goal, cancelled out Emin Makhmudov’s stunning first-half strike and belatedly opened Ireland’s Group A account at the fourth attempt on an evening when they stared further embarrassment full in the face.

Group H: Croatia stay on course with vital late goal

Marcelo Brozovic's goal gave Croatia a vital victory
Marcelo Brozovic’s goal gave Croatia a vital victory

Croatia stayed on course to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after an 86th-minute goal from midfielder Marcelo Brozovic gave them a vital 1-0 win in Slovakia in their Group H qualifier.

The result left the Croatians second in the group on 10 points from five games, behind Russia on goal difference and three ahead of third-placed Slovenia.

Earlier on Saturday, Russia won 2-0 in Cyprus while Slovenia beat Malta 1-0 at home. Fourth-placed Slovakia have six points while Malta and Cyprus have four each.

Group F: Faroes so close to holding leaders Denmark

Denmark striker Jonas Wind struck the only goal five minutes from time as the visitors struggled to a 1-0 win over a stubborn Faroe Islands in their World Cup Group F qualifier.

Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand made nine changes from the team that beat Scotland 2-0 in midweek, giving some younger players a start in a game the Danes were expected to win comfortably but the Faroes held them scoreless through the first 45 minutes.

Wind had the ball in the net in first-half stoppage time but his effort was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

The Faroes put on a tremendous defensive display before losing Rene Joensen to a second booking in the 84th, with Wind heading the winning goal a minute later.

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Highlights of the World Cup qualifier group F match between Israel and Austria.

The victory leaves Denmark top of the six-team group with a maximum 15 points, five ahead of second-placed Israel, while the Faroes are fifth on one point above Moldova on goal difference.

Israel stormed to a 5-2 win over Austria to take command in second place. Manor Soloman, Mu’nas Dabbur and Eran Zahavi gave the hosts a commanding lead before half-time, but Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic mounted a two-goal comeback either side of the break.

A rapid fourth from Shon Weissman settled any home nerves before Zahavi sealed victory late on with his second of the day.

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Highlights of the World Cup Qualifier between Scotland and Moldova.

Lyndon Dykes’ early tap-in gave Scotland a crucial World Cup qualifying win over Moldova, but the hosts wasted a hatful of chances to earn more than their 1-0 victory.

Dykes scored his first international goal in almost a year to get the Tartan Army off to a perfect start in front of a 40,000-strong home crowd, turning home the rebound from Nathan Patterson’s fine give-and-go with Kevin Nisbet.

Scotland dominated from the first whistle to the last without adding to the tally, and were guilty of wasting a number of glorious opportunities in either half, with Ryan Christie and Billy Gilmour especially guilty of passing up gilt-edged positions.

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