Day of the outsiders: The Netherlands experience a bitter opening failure, and world champions France and runners-up Croatia also fail at the qualifying start. Erling Haaland sends a human rights message to Qatar, Portugal is lucky.
Holland is in need again, and defending champions France and “Vice” Croatia rubbed their eyes in amazement.
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.
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.
Kimpembe’s own goal costs France the win
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 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).
Croatia loses in Slovenia
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 beat underdog Estonia 6-2 (4-1) in Lublin, Poland, with goalscorer Patrick Schick. Schick also contributed three assists.