Football | Euro 2024 Qualifiers | Matchday 3 | Roundup
By Robert Wheeler
- England comfortably defeat Malta 4-0
- Scotland come from behind to beat Norway
- Losses for Wales and Northern Ireland
Europe – It was a mixed round of fixtures for the Home Nations with England and Scotland both winning but there were defeats for Wales and Northern Ireland.
Fantastic four for England
Gareth Southgate was the first to play Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield, which at the time brought on a lot of criticism from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Now Klopp is playing him in an advanced role and the player starred for England clad in the No 10 shirt in their 4-0 victory over Malta.
The Three Lions took an early lead when Alexander-Arnold played a long ball to Bukayo Saka whose cross was turned in by Ferdinando Apap for an own goal. Alexander-Arnold then scored from range to double their lead. Harry Kane made it three before half time from the penalty spot.
Eberechi Eze came on for his England debut in the second half. The Crystal Palace player has been on a long road to this moment having overcome an Achilles injury. Southgate’s side completed the rout when Callum Wilson scored from the spot to make it four.
England are top of Group C with three wins from three and play North Macedonia on Monday night. The Three Lions are on course to qualify for Germany next year.
Scotland comeback to beat Norway
Scotland matched England’s record by making it three victories from three matches with a win 2-1 over Norway. The result keeps Steve Clarke‘s side top Group A and puts them in a great position of making it to the finals.
Scotland has shown that on their day they can beat anyone having already defeated Spain in this qualifying campaign. The challenge of facing Norway was keeping last season’s Premier League top goalscorer, Erling Haaland, quiet. They did a good job of this until the 63rd minute when Haaland fired in from the penalty spot.
As the match entered the final stages the Norwegians thought they had done enough and substituted Haaland. However, Lyndon Dykes had other ideas as he equalised in the 87th minute. Dykes then laid the ball off to Kenny McLean who curled his effort into the bottom corner to claim a 2-1 win for the Scots.
Armenia inflicts agony on Wales
Wales were humiliated in a 4-2 defeat to Armenia at the Cardiff City Stadium. This was Rob Page‘s team’s first home defeat in their last 12 European qualifiers and it could have a seismic impact on their chances of making it to Germany.
It had looked like Wales were on for a straightforward victory when Daniel James gave them the lead after just 10 minutes. However, Lucas Zelarayan fired into the top corner to equalise. The visitors were then in front when Grant-Leon Ranos headed in past Danny Ward.
Ranos then got another when he slotted into the bottom corner in the 66th minute. He celebrated with his shirt off as if he had scored a last-minute winner. Wales got one back through Harry Wilson but any hopes of a comeback were dashed when Zelarayan got his second to make it four for Armenia.
To add insult to injury Kieffer Moore was then sent off for a foul on Ognjen Cancarevic. Wales is now third in Group D behind Turkey and Croatia.
Northern Ireland denied draw with Denmark
Northern Ireland had a last-minute goal by Callum Marshall ruled out, which would have earned them a draw with Denmark in Copenhagen. Jonas Wind had given the Danes a 1-0 lead but Marshall on his debut flicked in what he thought was the equaliser in the 94th minute.
Celebrations in front of their travelling supporters were crazy until VAR called intervened. After a lengthy delay, the goal was disallowed for offside. Michael O’Neill and his side were bitterly disappointed and the result leaves them with a giant of a task of making it to the finals. They are now 5th in Group H with just San Marino below them.
The next round of fixtures of the Euro 2024 qualifiers begins on Monday, June 19.