France beat Kazakh; Germany tops Group J

France beat Kazakh; Germany tops Group J
France teammates celebrate Ousmane Dembele’s goal against Kazakhstan.
BERLIN, MAR 29 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/29/2021 12:50:10 PM IST


Ousmane Dembele inspired France to a 2-0 victory over Kazakhstan on Sunday in their second match in World Cup qualifying Group D.

Four days after being held 1-1 by Ukraine at the Stade de France, the world champions built their win in the first half with Sergiy Maliy’s own goal adding to Dembele’s opener before Kylian Mbappe missed a second-half penalty.

France moved top of the standings with four points, ahead of Bosnia, who they face away on Wednesday, Ukraine and Finland, who drew 1-1 on Sunday. Kazakhstan have zero points after playing their first game of the campaign.

Only captain Hugo Lloris and Antoine Griezmann remained from the team who started against Ukraine, with the Barcelona forward setting a new record of 45 consecutive starts for Les Bleus.

He beat the previous mark of Patrick Vieira, who started 44 games in a row between 1999 and 2002.

Les Bleus doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time when Maliy, who had just denied Martial, headed a cross into his own net.

Germany maintained their perfect start in 2022 World Cup qualifying after an early Serge Gnabry goal gave them a 1-0 win over Romania in Group J on Sunday although they missed a string of chances against the home side.

The result left the Germans top of the group on six points from two games ahead of Armenia on goal difference before their next match at home to North Macedonia on Wednesday.

Armenia, who beat Iceland 2-0 earlier on Sunday courtesy of goals from Khoren Bayramyan and Tigran Barseghyan, are at home to Romania on Wednesday while Iceland visit Lichtenstein in the group’s other fixture.

Meanwhile, Sweden secured a routine 3-0 win against Kosovo in Pristina with goals from Ludwig Augustinsson, Alexander Isak and a penalty from Sebastian Larsson.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Poland also eased to a 3-0 victory over Andorra.

taly’s Andrea Belotti and Manuel Locatelli secured a 2-0 win over Bulgaria on Sunday to make it two wins from two in Group C at the start of their side’s 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Italy struggled to break down the hosts in the first half despite dominating possession but took the lead with a penalty won and converted by Belotti two minutes before the break.

There were few second-half chances but the visitors put the seal on a fifth successive win - without conceding in that run - eight minutes from time thanks to Locatelli’s fine finish.

Spain striker Dani Olmo snatched a 2-1 win away to Georgia in their World Cup Qualifier on Sunday with a stoppage-time strike from outside the area to kick-start his side’s efforts to qualify for Qatar 2022 after a sluggish start.

Georgia thrilled the 15,000 fans in the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena when 20-year-old winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia fired them ahead two minutes before halftime after his side had coasted past a passive visiting defence.

Spain were on course for their first defeat in a World Cup Qualifier in 28 years until Ferran Torres levelled in the 56th, sliding in to send a Jordi Alba cross into the roof of the net after Alvaro Morata had failed to connect with the ball.

Meanwhile, Denmark turned on the style as they thrashed hapless Moldova 8-0 in their World Cup Qualifier on Sunday to top Group F, with Kasper Dolberg and Mikkel Damsgaard both scoring twice against the nation ranked 177th in the world.


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