England on Friday lost a World Cup or European Championship qualifier for the first time in 10 years as Dallas forward Zdenek Ondrasek scored in his international debut for the Czech Republic.
Substitute Ondrasek helped to rally Czech Republic to a 2-1 win over England in their Group A qualifier for Euro 2020.
It was the first victory for the Czech Republic over England since Czechoslovakia split in 1993. Czechoslovakia beat England 2-1 in 1975 in a qualifying game for the following year’s European Championship, which Czechoslovakia went on to win.
“It’s unbelievable,” the 30-year-old Ondrasek said. “I’m happy to get a chance [to play] and that I used it. It’s a very important victory and I’m grateful for it. It was the hard work from the entire team.”
Five minutes from time, Lukas Masopust advanced down the right before crossing for Ondrasek to score the winner with a low, right-footed shot.
“I just wanted to hit the ball right and put it in the net,” Ondrasek said.
“I saw tears in the eyes of my father probably for the first time in my life. It’s a great win and great feeling,” he said.
England had won all their four previous games in the group with 19 goals scored.
England and the Czech Republic top the group with 12 points, but England have one game in hand.
Kosovo were four points back in third, while Group A strugglers Bulgaria and Montenegro drew 0-0.
England previously lost a qualifying game for a major tournament on Oct. 10, 2009, a 1-0 away loss to Ukraine in a 2010 World Cup qualifier. That loss came with England already qualified for the tournament. Its last meaningful defeat in qualifying was against Croatia in 2007.
“We didn’t play well enough, simple as that,” England coach Gareth Southgate said.
“We conceded possession of the ball too cheaply. Particularly in the first half, we didn’t create enough chances, the second half, we had some good chances that we didn’t take and throughout the night we were too open out of possession,” he said.
“That was because of giving the ball away. We gave [the Czechs] too many opportunities to score,” he said.
Cristiano Ronaldo moved to within six goals of his international century when he scored in a 3-0 win over Luxembourg on Friday that kept the defending champions on course for the Euro 2020 finals.
The veteran star hit his 94th goal for Portugal and took his overall career tally to 699 when he found the target in the second half after Bernardo Silva had opened the scoring in the first period.
The three points kept Portugal in second place in Group B, five points behind Ukraine, who defeated Lithuania 2-0.
“In the first 25 minutes we were very good, very dynamic and created chances,” said Fernando Santos, who was marking his fifth anniversary as Portugal coach. “Then we lost depth, Luxembourg became more comfortable, but never created opportunities.
Andorra made history on Friday by avoiding defeat in a European Championship qualifier for the first time on their 57th attempt with a 1-0 win over Moldova.
The tiny microstate with a population of just over 75,000 took all three points in their Group H clash as Marc Vales scored a second-half header in Andorra la Vella.
In other games on Friday, Turkey beat Albania 1-0 and France beat Iceland 1-0.
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