Sun, Sep 08, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Germany fall at home as Croatia thrash Slovakia

AFP, PARIS

Croatia’s Bruno Petkovic, top, and Slovakia’s Milan Skriniar vie for the ball in their Euro 2020 qualification match in Trnava, Slovakia, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Germany on Friday suffered a surprising 4-2 home defeat by the Netherlands as World Cup runners-up Croatia hammered Slovakia in qualifying for Euro 2020.

Joachim Loew’s side lost in Hamburg after debutant Donyell Malen’s late effort for the visitors as the home side failed to pick up a point for the first time in the campaign.

Serge Gnabry scored for the Germans after nine minutes before new Barcelona signing Frenkie de Jong responded for the Dutch.

A Jonathan Tah own-goal with less than an hour to play gave the traveling Dutch fans something to cheer about before Toni Kroos equalized from the spot.

Malen then beat Manuel Neuer with a volley on 79 minutes and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum secured three points in injury time.

“We made some mistakes, which explains the Germans’ opener, but we simply did more to get the win,” Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman said.

In Trnava, Croatia retained top spot in Group G with a 4-0 thumping of Slovakia as Nikola Vlasic, Ivan Perisic, Bruno Petkovic and Dejan Lovren all got on the scoresheet.

“Since I have been coach this is one of the best matches of the Croatian national team and that is why I am very pleased,” boss Zlatko Dalic, who led his side to last year’s World Cup final, told HRT Sport.

“There was no chance of us losing this game. We missed a lot of chances in the first half an hour, a little bit of nervousness came in,” he said.

Also in that pool, Wales survived a scare to beat lowly Azerbaijan 2-1 thanks to Gareth Bale’s 84th-minute header.

Elsewhere, Slovenia saw off previously unbeaten Poland 2-0 in Ljubljana despite a strike-force of Robert Lewandowski and Krzysztof Piatek starting for the visitors.

Belgium maintained their perfect start to qualifying, easing past San Marino 4-0 as Michy Batshuayi netted twice, and Scotland’s hopes of progression took a blow with a 2-1 loss at home to Russia despite John McGinn’s 11th-minute effort.

“On a good day I could have scored four or five goals, but I have not played for a while. The most important thing is that we won,” Batshuayi, who has only featured for six minutes for Chelsea this season, told UEFA.com.

Yesterday, World Cup winners France were to host Albania looking to respond after a defeat in June by Turkey, who welcomed Andorra.

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