Erling Haaland and Norway had the strongest performance on the day of the underdogs at the beginning of the qualification for the 2022 World Cup with favorites of European champions Portugal and Belgium – although the boy prodigy went empty-handed against football dwarf Gibraltar. Haaland and Co. set an example at 3-0 (2-0) – and sent a clear message to the controversial World Cup host Qatar.
“Human rights – on and next to the pitch”, read the white T-shirts that Dortmund, Leipzig’s Alexander Sörloth (1: 0/19.) And Co. presented before kick-off. With the safe start, the Vikings took the lead in their group G ahead of Turkey.
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The 2002 World Cup third with three-packer Burak Yilmaz (15th, 34th, penalty and 81st) managed the biggest surprise in the 4-2 (2-0) against Oranje, who had missed the 2018 World Cup. Former Bundesliga professional Hakan Calhanoglu (46th) also met. Former Bremer Davy Klaassen (75th) and ex-Gladbacher Luuk de Jong (77th) shortened, Memphis Depay (90th + 5) missed a penalty.
Own goal costs France victory
France also made an unexpected false start in the mission to defend their title at the finals in the desert state (November 21 to December 18, 2022) in a 1-1 (1-0) win against Ukraine in Group D. Presnel Kimpembe (57th) unluckily equalized with an own goal after Antoine Griezmann’s dreamy opening goal (19th).
Europe’s champion Portugal, like the French in the summer of German EM group opponents, struggled with superstar Cristiano Ronaldo against outsider Azerbaijan to a 1-0 (1-0). A slapstick own goal by captain Maksim Medvedev (36th) brought the decision in the season A game, which was relocated to Turin due to the corona. The visiting team from Qatar defeated Luxembourg 1-0 (1-0).
The World Cup runner-up Croatia around captain Luka Modric lost in group H at neighboring Slovenia hardly less surprisingly 0: 1 (0: 1). Sandi Lovric (15th) scored for the hosts, while Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric was in the starting line-up for Croatia.
The world number one Belgium prevailed against Wales 3-1 (2-1). The former Wolfsburg Kevin De Bruyne (22nd), Dortmund’s Thorgan Hazard (28th) and Romelu Lukaku (73rd, penalty kick) let the Red Devils cheer. Also in Group E, the Czech Republic with goal scorer Patrik Schick prevailed 6-2 (4-1) against underdog Estonia in Lublin, Poland.