Euro Qualifiers: France, Turkey, Czechs through

Turkey’s 0-0 draw against Iceland in Thursday’s European Qualifiers ensured they and France made it to Euro 2020 from Group H.

The draw also kept Iceland on course for a possible play-off spot and they will look to win in Moldova on Sunday, while fourth-placed Albania take on France at home.

France‘s efforts to celebrate their qualification for Euro 2020 were almost spoiled by Moldova, with an Olivier Giroud penalty sparing their blushes as they came from behind to win 2-1 and go top of Group H.

The visitors took the lead in the ninth minute when France defender Clement Lenglet followed up a bad defensive header with an even worse one, giving Moldova striker Vadim Rata the chance to poke the ball home.

France equalised in controversial circumstances in the 35th minute as Giroud contested with Moldova ‘keeper Alexei Cosele for a free-kick lifted into the box, forcing Cosele to spill the ball for Raphael Varane to head into an empty net.

The Moldova players protested vehemently that their ‘keeper was fouled by Giroud, but Lithuanian referee Gediminas Mazeika waved away the protests and allowed the goal to stand.

Despite the glittering array of attacking players at their disposal, world champions France struggled to break down the dogged Moldovans, and it took a 79th-minute Giroud penalty following a foul on Lucas Digne to secure the three points.

Elsewhere in the group, Albania had to come from behind to grab a 2-2 draw at home to Andorra.

France, who travel to Albania for their final game, top Group H on 22 points, two ahead of Turkey, who host Andorra to round off their qualifying campaign.

Portugal and Serbia go to final game

Cristiano Ronaldo is just two away from 100 international goals after he scored a hat-trick as Portugal thrashed Lithuania 6-0 to put themselves on the verge of qualification.

It was Ronaldo’s first appearance since leaving Juventus’ stadium early after being substituted after 55 minutes during the 1-0 win over AC Milan on Sunday.

Portugal were awarded a penalty after just seven minutes when Ronaldo was fouled inside the box. He made it 1-0 from the spot, and 15 minutes later, he scored his 97th international goal.

Pizzi’s deflected effort made it 3-0 before Bernardo Silva’s cross was tapped home by Goncalo Paciencia. Silva fired home to extend Portugal’s lead before Ronaldo completed his hat-trick.

Serbia kept alive their qualifications hopes after a first-half double from Aleksandar Mitrovic helped them scramble a 3-2 home win over Luxembourg.

The result left Serbia third in the group on 13 points from seven games. They are one point behind holders Portugal and six adrift of Ukraine. In order to advance, the Serbs must beat Ukraine at home in their final game and hope Portugal fail to win in Luxembourg on Sunday. Should they fail, Serbia could still qualify via the play-offs in March.

Fulham striker Mitrovic headed Serbia into an 11th-minute lead and made it 2-0 with a spectacular shot into the top corner in the 43rd minute, with the home side missing several chances in a lively first half.

Nemanja Radonjic restored Serbia’s two-goal advantage with a piledriver from 20 metres after Gerson Rodrigues had pulled one back, but the home side endured a nervy finish after David Turpel headed Luxembourg’s second in the 75th minute.

Mitrovic missed a late chance to grab a hat-trick when he hit the post from close range.

England and Czech Republic through

England booked their place at Euro 2020 and celebrated their 1,000th international in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro at Wembley.

Captain Harry Kane scored a first-half hat-trick and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Marcus Rashford both found the net as England raced into a five-goal lead in 37 scintillating minutes.

An unfortunate Aleksandar Sofranac own goal made it 6-0 in the second half before substitute Tammy Abraham opened his account in international football, confirming England’s biggest home victory since October 1987.

Czech Republic punched their ticket to Euro 2020 by coming from behind to beat Kosovo 2-1 as Alex Kral scored one goal and set up another to give the hosts second spot in Group A.

The Czechs dominated possession but failed to convert their chances in the first half before falling behind when striker Atdhe Nuhiu scored against the run of play in the 50th minute.

But the home side roared back and levelled in the 71st minute when midfielder Kral pounced on a loose ball and unleashed a fierce strike that gave the Kosovo ‘keeper no chance.

The goal energised the Czechs who hit the woodwork twice in quick succession before 21-year-old Kral directed a header towards Ondrej Celustka who guided the ball home in the 79th.

No international break for Super 6

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