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EURO qualifying: A pair of 3-3 draws, feat. 3 stoppage-time goals

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A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in 2020 European Championship qualification…

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Italy 6-0 Liechtenstein

Italy thrashed Liechtenstein on the back of two penalty kicks converted by Fabio Quagliarella (35th and 45th minutes), along with individual tallies from Stefano Sensi (17th), Marco Veratti (32nd), Moise Kean (70′) and Leonardo Pavoletti (76th).

With two victories from two games, and a +8 goal difference now in tow, Italy sit perched high atop Group J. With two sides set to qualify from the six-team group, it’s just about impossible to conjure up a scenario in which the Azzurri don’t qualify with more than a couple qualifiers still remaining.

Malta 0-2 Spain

Alvaro Morata bagged a brace (31st and 73rd minutes) to help Spain to a comfortable, if slightly labored, victory over Malta. Spain enjoyed a healthy 80 percent of possession and out-shot Malta by a margin of 23-2 (7-1 on target).

The only side with six points from their first two games, Spain lead Group F by two points over Sweden.

Switzerland 3-3 Denmark

The game of the day.

Remo Freuler put Switzerland ahead after 19 minutes. It would stay that way until the final 25 minutes, when a massive explosion of goals saw the game quickly get out of hand, in the most unimaginable of ways.

Granti Xhaka made it 2-0 in the 66th, and Breel Embolo made it 3-0 in the 76th. That was it, the game was over, done and dusted, right? Wrong.

Mathias Jorgensen brought Denmark back to 3-1 in the 84th, followed by Christian Gytkjaer in the 88th for 3-1. Deep into stoppage time — as in, three minutes deep — Henrik Dalsgaard completed the comeback with a header to clean up a mad scramble of failed headed clearances inside the penalty area.

Norway 3-3 Sweden

While also a six-goal thriller with stoppage-time drama, Sweden’s comeback was only from 2-0 down.

Bjoern Maars Johnsen (41st) and Joshua King (59th) established the lead just before the hour mark, and everything was going exactly to play for Norway. That remained the case until the 70th minute, when scored Viktor Claesson from open play. Norway scored again in the 86th minute, only Havard Nordtveit put the ball into his own net, which drew the Swedes level.

Robin Quaison gave Sweden the lead in the 91st minute, surely sealing all three points in a memorable comeback, right? Wrong again. Ola Kamara’s 96th-minute equalizer meant a 3-3 draw that neither side would be happy with, nor particularly dissatisfied.

Elsewhere in EURO 2010 qualifying

Group D

Ireland 1-0 Georgia

Group F

Romania 4-1 Faroe Islands

Group J

Bosnia & Herzegovina 2-2 Greece
Armenia 0-2 Finland

EURO qualifying: France tops Iceland; England win marred by racism

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England and France made sure their EURO 2020 qualifying stayed on script, completing 6-point starts to the campaign on Monday.

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Montenegro 1-5 England

Sloppy English defending allowed Legia Warsaw man Marko Vesovic to put Montenegro ahead at Podgorica City Stadium, but the Three Lions sound found their footing.

Michael Keane scored his first England goal before Ross Barkley redirected a Callum Hudson-Odoi strike eight minutes later to give Gareth Southgate‘s men a 2-1 lead at the break.

Barkley completed his brace when Montenegro keeper Stefan Savic pushed a clearance of a Raheem Sterling cross back toward the Chelsea man. Harry Kane and Sterling also scored for the Three Lions.

Unfortunately, Danny Rose and several of his black England teammates were targeted by racists.

France 2-0 Iceland

Samuel Umtiti was the surprise goal scorer, heading home a Kylian Mbappe cross as hosts France were only able to break down Iceland on one occasion until the 68th minute.

That’s when Olivier Giroud moved into third place all-time on the French goal scoring list, behind only Michel Platini and Thierry Henry. The Chelsea man was in position to score when goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldórsson made a mess of Benjamin Pavard’s cross.

Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann would also score in the win.

Giroud has six fewer goals than Platini, and is 16 behind Henry’s 51.

Elsewhere
Portugal 1-1 Serbia — Ronaldo hurt
Kosovo 1-1 Bulgaria
Luxembourg 1-2 Ukraine
Andorra 0-3 Albania
Turkey 4-0 Moldova

Ronaldo asks for sub following leg injury for Portugal

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Juventus supporters will be hoping their hero is keeping it safe rather than sorry.

Cristiano Ronaldo has left Portugal’s EURO 2020 qualifier with Serbia after sustaining an injury in the first half at the Estadio da Luz on Monday.

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The 34-year-old pulled up mid-run and asked to be taken out of the game around the half-hour mark, with Portugal trailing Serbia 1-0 on a Dusan Tadic penalty.

Ronaldo went 90 minutes against Ukraine last week in his first Portugal appearance since Uruguay eliminated the EURO 2016 champs from the 2018 World Cup.

Juve has a 15-point lead on Napoli with 10 matches to play in the Serie A season, and won’t begin its next UEFA Champions League round until April 10 at Ajax.

Schar to sit out next game after being knocked out, playing on

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Fabian Schar will Switzerland’s 2020 European Championship qualifier against Denmark on Tuesday, three days after the defender was apparently knocked unconscious in a 2-0 victory over Georgia but continued to play for more than an hour and finished the game.

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The Newcastle United center back was involved in a nasty clash of heads in the 24th minute. Georgia’s Jano Ananidze tried to stop Schar from swallowing his own tongue and blocking his airway while unconscious. Following nearly five minutes of treatment and evaluation, Schar was allowed to remain in the game. He has since been deemed — with the help of Schar’s club team, Newcastle United — unavailable for Tuesday’s game due to “medical reasons.”

Afterwards, Schar has the following to say about the collision and his state at the time:

“It looks awful, I can’t remember anything. I was out for a few seconds. My skull is still humming. And I’ve got neck ache and a bruise on my forehead. But it was worth it.”

Schar was directly involved in creating both of Switzerland’s second-half goals.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

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It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

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Hungary 2-1 Croatia

Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.

Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.

Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.

Israel 4-2 Austria

Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.

China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.

Austria is winless through two qualifiers.

Elsewhere
Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia