Wins For England, France and Germany but Netherlands Hit Trouble

1 April 2017

World Cup Qualifying Europe Round Up w/e March 26th 2017 (Part 1)

Group A

Delev delivered double trouble for the Dutch as Bulgaria beat the Netherlands by two goals to nil as Bulgarian star Delev hit a brace to sink the Dutch armada. The defeat ended the Danny Blinds Dad’s term in office for the Dutch as he was sacked after this new debacle. The Bulgarians swap places with the Dutch in the group with the Dutch dropping to fourth place.

Meanwhile France kept up their form in the group with a 3-1 win at neighbours Luxembourg and France remain in second place with a comfortable 4-0 win over Belarus as Forsberg notched twice for the Scandinavians.

France on 13 points lead Sweden by 3 points with Bulgaria on 9 points and the Netherlands in massive trouble on 7 points.

Group B

Switzerland kept up their tremendous form with 5 wins out of 5 with a 1-0 home win over Latvia which wasn’t as close as the score line might suggest. With 67% possession and a whopping 21 shots on the Latvian goal it was only a 66th minute Drmic goal that separated the teams.

The Portuguese are still in Switzerland’s slipstream though with an easy enough 3-0 victory at home against a hapless Hungary and yes Christianaldo Ronaldo was on the score sheet again as he scored twice in the same week as the Madeira Airport was named after him. So that is the second time that something has been named after the Portuguese star following the expression of ‘Doing A Ronaldo’ whereby you get very upset, burst into tears and throw all your toys out of the pram until you get what you want.

In the other game Andorra entertained the Faroe Islands although that is not quite the word that fits the description of the game as both teams played out a dull as dishwater 0-0 draw. As memorable as putty.

Switzerland 15 points, Portugal 12 points and Hungary 7 points is how the table looks so if you support Switzerland and Portugal get your flights booked for Russia now as there is no other competition in the group.

Group C

Two first half goals from Jamie Ward and Conor Washington help Northern Ireland to remain on course for a World Cup play-off spot thanks to an impressive qualifier win over Norway.

Jamie Ward’s strike put the hosts in front as early as the second minute and Steven Davis set up Conor Washington to fire in the second on 33 minutes at Windsor Park. Alexander Soderlund hit the crossbar in the first half but it was a disappointing start to Lars Lagerback’s managerial reign with the Norwegians.

World champions Germany beat Azerbaijan 4-1 in Baku on Sunday to make it five wins out of 5 and to remain five points ahead of Michael O’Neill’s side in Group C. Northern Ireland are two points clear of third-placed Czech Republic.

The Czechs earned a 6-0 win over bottom-placed San Marino on Sunday with two goals apiece from Barak and Darida which sounds like a firm of dodgy accountants. Azerbaijan are a further point back and the Norwegians surely out of contention 12 off the top following their defeat at Windsor Park.

Group D

The Republic of Ireland and Wales had a rather nasty affair in a 0-0 draw but the Republic’s captain Seamus Coleman suffered a horrendous broken leg after a wild tackle that led to Neil Taylor being immediately sent off and FIFA have said they will investigate the tackle further.

Wales’ hopes of World Cup qualification look increasingly remote following a fourth draw in their 5 matches in the campaign so far and goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland, won’t put them in a better position. In fact the last 20 minutes it was all Ireland who will be disappointed not to have taken all three points.

Strangely, throughout the game the hosts seemed content to play for a draw as their deep-lying and stubborn defence shackled Wales – and the visitors’ lack of creativity and incision contributed to an underwhelming encounter which will probably only be remembered for the horror tackle on Coleman.

Gareth Bale had twice gone close for Wales, but their task became a daunting one after 69 minutes as Taylor was shown a straight red card for his lunge on Coleman, who was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital with his leg seemingly broken in two places.

That incident lit the fuse for a tempestuous atmosphere that appeared to inspire the Republic, but despite their push for a late winner, Martin O’Neill’s side had to settle for a point and second place in Group D.

For Chris Coleman’s side, this was another setback in their stuttering bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia and not made any better after Serbia’s 3-1 victory in Georgia earlier on Friday but the Republic now remain four points ahead of Wales and Austria.

The Austrians had a mandatory 2-0 win over Moldova and are now in 4th on 7 points. It’s any two from these four countries but Serbia and Republic of Ireland are in the driving seat.

Group E

The big game of the day was Montenegro against Poland and a win for the home team would have put them level with the Poles. Instead Poland ran out 2-1 winners and unsurprisingly it was the goal machine himself Mr Lewandowski who opened the scoring after 40 minutes. Mugosa equalised after 63 minutes for the hosts but Poland stole the points with 8 minutes remaining as Piszczek nabbed a winner.

Armenia put themselves back in the hunt for a place with a straightforward 2-0 victory against Kazakhstan while Romania and Denmark played out a 0-0 draw.

Poland extend their lead to 6 points and now have 13 points in the bag and aren’t far short of qualification. Behind them it’s anyone’s guess with Montenegro and Denmark on 7 points each and Romania and Armenia on 6 points each.

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