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Lukaku nets 50th goal as Belgium qualify

Romelu Lukaku hit his 50th and 51st international goals as Belgium became the first team to qualify for Euro 2020 after they hammered San Marino 9-0 – matching the record for the biggest margin of victory in their history.

Inter Milan striker Lukaku became the first Belgian to reach the milestone with a right-footed shot to open the scoring in the 28th minute.

He set up Nacer Chadli three minutes later before an own-goal from Cristian Brolli put Belgium 3-0 up. Lukaku grabbed his second – and 51st goal for Belgium – on 41 minutes, assisted by Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard.

A deflected Toby Alderweireld effort in the 43rd minute and a Youri Tielemens shot in stoppage time saw Belgium cruise in 6-0 up at the break.

The pace slowed before Christian Benteke broke his three-year international drought by coming off the bench to score in the 79th minute by wrong-footing the goalkeeper from the edge of the area.

Yari Verschaeren, 18, came off the bench to score his first senior goal from the penalty spot to make it 8-0 in the 84th minutes and Timothy Castagne rounded off the tally in the 90th minute.

Croatia cruise to Hungary win

Croatia remained firmly on course to reach Euro 2020 after two goals from striker Bruno Petkovic helped them to a 3-0 home win over Hungary.

The Croatians top the group with 13 points from six matches and will secure a berth in next year’s finals with a match to spare if they beat Wales away on Sunday.

The Croatians dominated after captain Luka Modric fired them into a fifth-minute lead when he picked up a loose ball in midfield, raced down the middle and steered a shot past Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

Petkovic made it 2-0 with a delightful back-heel from close range after Ante Rebic left his marker for dead on the left flank and squared the ball to the Dinamo Zagreb hitman.

A catalogue of defensive errors allowed Petkovic to bundle in the third late in the first half, as Tamas Kadar and Gulacsi misjudged Ivan Perisic’s low cross from the right.

Gulacsi made amends in the 55th minute when he saved Perisic’s penalty after Rebic was fouled but any slim hopes of a Hungary comeback were dashed moments later when Laszlo Kleinheisler was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Austria comeback beats Israel

Austria defender Martin Hinteregger scored a goal that any striker would have been proud of to set up a 3-1 win over Israel.

The hosts made a slow start in front of a half-full Ernst Happel stadium and were stunned when Eran Zahavi, scorer of a hat-trick in Israel’s 4-2 win in the first meeting of the two teams in the group, put the visitors in front with a sublime effort in the 34th minute.

Munas Dabbur threaded the ball through to Zahavi who side-stepped his marker and lashed a dipping shot into the top corner from 25 metres.

Valentino Lazaro slotted in the equaliser from Marko Arnautovic’s pass seven minutes later and Austria went ahead 11 minutes after the break.

Andreas Ulmer thumped a cross into the area where Hinteregger, between two defenders, controlled the ball on his thigh, turned and sent his effort past goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.

Marcel Sabitzer added the third with a deflected shot in the 88th minute to leave Austria second with 13 points from seven games, two ahead of North Macedonia and Slovenia.

Lewandowski hat-trick in Poland win

The prolific Robert Lewandowski took his tally to 11 goals in his last seven appearances for club and country with his treble against Latvia as Poland won 3-0.

He exchanged passes with Sebastian Szymanski and beat keeper Andris Vanins after nine minutes and then turned in Kamil Grosicki’s low cross after Latvia were dispossessed in midfield.

He completed his sixth Poland hat-trick by tapping in Grosicki’s cross-shot in the 76th minute.

Elsewhere…

Northern Ireland slipped to a late 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands, with Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay scoring twice in the final three minutes.

Kieffer Moore’s first international goal helped Wales stay in pursuit of qualification for Euro 2020 with a 1-1 draw in Slovakia.

Scotland must rely on the UEFA Nations League play-offs to book their place at Euro 2020 after a 4-0 defeat in Russia.

    Cyprus beat Kazakhstan 2-1 in Scotland’s group. Temirlan Erlanov gave the hosts the lead in the 34th minute but Cyprus hit back late on, with Pieros Sotiriou scoring a 73th minute equaliser before Nicholas Ioannou completed the victory 11 minutes later.

    Belarus and Estonia played out a 0-0 draw in Group C while Slovenia were surprised 2-1 away to North Macedonia, with a Elif Elmas brace sealing the win for the hosts.

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