Germany edge N Ireland in Euro qualifiers

Germany edge N Ireland in Euro qualifiers
Germany’s Serge Gnabry in action during their Euro 2020 qualifying match against Northern Ireland in Belfast.
BELFAST, Sep 10 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/10/2019 11:40:42 AM IST

Germany beat hosts Northern Ireland 2-0 on Monday with two goals in the second half to get their Euro 2020 qualification on track as they bounced back from last week’s loss to the Netherlands to take over top spot in Group C.

Defender Marcel Halstenberg drilled the ball in three minutes after the restart following a lacklustre first half by the Germans, who lost 4-2 at home to the Dutch on Friday.

Serge Gnabry continued his impressive scoring run for Germany, netting in second-half stoppage time for his ninth goal in his 10th international, completing Germany’s eighth consecutive win over Northern Ireland.

The win put Germany on 12 points from five games, ahead on goal difference of second-placed Northern Ireland, who suffered their first loss of the campaign.

The Germans, missing half a dozen injured players, seemed to lack a clear game plan in the first half with plenty of passing but struggling to find ways to open up the Irish defence.

Loew’s young team, looking to recover from last year’s shock first-round World Cup exit and Nations League relegation, have not had enough match practice and it showed.

Conor Washington had a golden chance to put the hosts ahead in the seventh minute when he pounced on a rare Toni Kroos mistake but fired straight at charging goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Timo Werner had the visitors’ best chance before the break but his close-range effort was saved by Bailey Peacock-Farrell. Germany looked to be feeling the effects of Friday’s loss with the Irish working hard to stifle their attacks early.

Halstenberg eventually settled German nerves, timing his half-volley to perfection as he angled Julian Brandt’s cross into the far corner just after the break.

They should have scored again in a scintillating start to the second half but instead had to wait until deep into stoppage for Gnabry to make sure of the three points.

Belgium rout Scotland 4-0
Belgium kept their 100 percent record intact in Euro 2020 qualifying Group I with a Kevin de Bruyne-inspired 4-0 demolition of a disappointing Scotland side at a subdued Hampden Park on Monday. Roberto Martinez’s side were a class above their hosts as they scored three times before halftime through Romelu Lukaku, Thomas Vermaelen and Toby Alderweireld .
Belgium needed only nine minutes to take the lead with their first serious foray into Scottish territory.
Moments after Scotland had a free kick at the other end, Belgium counter-attacked in deadly fashion with Dries Mertens driving forward before finding De Bruyne who rolled a pass across the pitch for Lukaku to score with ease. It completely knocked the stuffing out of the Scots and it was 2-0 in the 24th minute when De Bruyne whipped in a cross and Vermaelen arrived to side-foot past keeper David Marshall.
The game was effectively over already in the 32nd minute when De Bruyne swung over a corner and an unmarked Alderweireld headed in off the crossbar. De Bruyne saved the best goal to last as he planted a first-time shot past Marshall after being played in by Lukaku.

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