Here’s my top pick of this month’s Euro 2020 Qualifiers including the controversial England-Bulgaria match with reported racists behaviors and the defeat of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal at the hands of Ukraine.
Top 10: England vs Bulgaria 6-0
A great trashing was what Bulgaria and it’s fans deserve after some racists behaviors mostly directed at English player Marcus Rushford. These included Nazi salutes, monkey chants and racist booing. The behavior was widely condemned by the public and various groups, including the anti-racist football campaign Kick It Out. Well that fueled England which scored a total of six goals (7′, 20′, 32′, 40+3′, 69′ 85′).
Top 9: Belgium vs San Marino (9-0)
There’s nothing to brag about 9 goals not if you’re up against a team lacking experience such as San Marino but Belgium’s win made them the first team to qualify in the Euro 2020. There’s an absence of the usual Eden Hazard in the match but Toby Alderweireld did step up, finally. The first half was much more entertaining than the second one, but every Belgium match is a must-watch. Now the question is, can they shine too in the Euro?
Top 8: Netherlands vs Northern Ireland (3-1)
Just when Northern Ireland thought they had the match in the bag with a goal from Joshua Magennis at the 75′, the Lyon forward Memphis Depay scored the equalizer at the 80′. And just as the they thought they will get a point of the match, with the clock winding down and the match entering the extra 4 minute, Luuk de Jong scored in the 90+1′ to snatch any chance of that point. To cap it all up, Depay scored again just before the buzzer at the 90+4′. What a shame Northern Ireland.
Top 7: Netherlands vs Belarus (2-1)
It seems that the Netherlands will be back after that heartbreaking failure (and shocking one) to enter in the biggest football match in Europe in 2016. Although they were unimpressive in Minsk and in their match against Northern Ireland (where they very nearly lost), the Oranje are set to qualify this year on top of the group (but let’s not write off the Germans), with superb double goals courtesy of Georginio Wijnaldum.
Top 6: Switzerland vs Republic of Ireland (2-0)
The Irish are on top of their group standings which is refreshing to know but they sadly failed to grab an outright qualification as goals in each half earned Switzerland a 2-0 victory in Geneva. Haris Seferovic scores a goal in the 16′ minutes before Edimilson Fernandes closes the deal in the 90+3′. The Irish salvaged a point in their last meeting but this time the Swiss get to have the entire 3 points and improve their standings.
Top 5: Ukraine vs Portugal (2-1)
Roman Yaremchuk and Andriy Yarmolenko were the heroes of Ukraine as they defeat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal with goals early in the first half of the match. Even Ronaldo’s penalty goal could not save his team’s collapsed in the first 30 minutes of the game which resulted to Ukraine’s victory. With that win, Ukraine waltz to the Euro 2020 with an impressive 6-1-0 scorecard.
Top 4: Germany vs Estonia (3-0)
Slowly but surely. The 4-time World Cup titleholders are a step closer to the Euro 2020 and their much-awaited redemption. Their 3-0 victory is not as impressive as their 8-0 rout in their first game with Estonia, with a slow start and some frustrating moments, The Die Mannschaft pull some stops in the second half of the match with Gundogan scoring a double goal in the 51′ and 57′ before Werner seal the deal in the 71′.
Top 3: France vs Turkey (1-1)
Just when the current titleholders think that they have the Euro 2020 qualifications in the bag, Turkey comes to spoil their celebrations. Olivier Giroud finally snatched the elusive goal late in the second half of the match in the 76′, Kaan Ayhan scored a goal for Turkey in the 81′ to deny the French of an early celebration. Well, they’ll qualify anyway.
Top 2: Spain vs Sweden (1-1)
It might have been one of Sweden’s historic matches to date, beating a World Cup champion. Marcus Berg once again step up for his side with a goal in the 50′. They were all but celebrating all throughout the second half, just waiting for that final whistle, but Rodrigo Moreno’s late goal in the 90+2′ erased the smiles from the Swedish side, (just like the Germany-Sweden 2018 World Cup match, right?) and ensure a qualification ticket for Spain. Well, tough luck Sweden.
Top 1: Czech Republic vs England (2-1)
In one of the most glaring examples of why the World Cup is not coming home to England anytime soon, the lowly Czechs humiliated a star-filled English side. In a complete reversal of their impressive 5-0 victory when they first met, England were completely murdered by the Czechs in this match. The English rely again on their rehearsed tricks. Their goal even came from a penalty by overrated Harry Kane in the 5′. But there was a “Czech Mate” in the 9′ that kill the rowdy English celebrations and in the 85′ the Czech Republic seal the deal and deliver a reality check to the World Cup champion-aspiring English team.