The qualifying matches for the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament witnessed England and the reigning champions Portugal scoring five goals each against low ranking teams in their respective group matches on September 10. While England won against Kosovo, Portugal cruised past Lithuania. The reigning world champions, France also marked their day with a victory against Andorra.
After a sloppy start to their qualifiers, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo capped his 160th appearance for his team by scoring all of four goals to cement their second spot in the group. Ukraine occupies the first place in the group with an advantage of 5 points. Lituania, with a FIFA ranking of 136, remained at the bottom of the group after losing all their matches.
With a game in hand, the Portuguese team's coach Fernando Santos said that his team won the match because they played better and kept the momentum of a fast-paced game. Portugal started its title defense with draws against Ukraine and Serbia in its first two matches.
The first goal against Lituania was a penalty taken by Ronaldo with the second goal that saw the ball bouncing off the Lithuanian keeper's head before finding itself in the net. The third goal was scored in the 65th minute with a volley from a close range with the 4th one coming in like a shot from the corner side. The 5th and the final goal of the match were scored by 27-year-old defensive midfielder, William Carvalho in injury time taking the scoreline to 5-1.
Meanwhile, England gave its manager Gary Southgate a reason to smile as they pulled off a 5-3 victory against Kosovo. The 120th ranked team scored within 34 seconds but the English team retaliated with 5 goals and the scoreline stood at 5-1 after the first half ended. The second half saw Kosovo snatch 2 goals taking the scoreline to 5-3. The English team held on and won the match taking them to the top of their group after 4 matches.
On the other hand, France, won their match 3-0 at the Stade de France against Andorra. Barcelona forward, Antonio Griezmann missed a penalty but it was the trio of Clement Lenglet, Wissam ben Yedder and Kinglsey Coman who came to France's rescue. With the Turkish team beating Moldova and Iceland losing their match against Albania gave the opportunity to Turkey to snatch away the first spot in the group standings from France.
(Inputs from PTI)