Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland register wins in European Championship qualifying

Denzel Dumfries played a crucial role in the Netherlands’ 3-0 win over Greece during their European Championship qualifying match. With this, his his team has moved into second place in Group B behind France, the current leader.

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In the 17th minute, the Inter Milan wingback initiated the scoring by heading a corner back for midfielder Marten de Roon, who fired a low shot into the net. This marked De Roon’s first international goal for the Netherlands in his 38th appearance.

Dumfries continued to shine as he played a pivotal role in two more Dutch goals. In the 31st minute, he delivered a precise cross from the right to Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo, who controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed it past Greece goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos. Then, in the 39th minute, Dumfries chipped a pass to centre forward Wout Weghorst, who headed the ball home from close range, securing his first goal in any competition since March.

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Defender Nathan Ake was substituted at halftime due to a suspected hamstring injury suffered late in the first half. France, meanwhile, maintained its perfect record in Group B by defeating Ireland 2-0.

With the match effectively decided by halftime, the second half was rather uneventful, resulting in a goalless period. In the 83rd minute, substitute Tijjani Reijnders tested Vlachodimos with a shot from just outside the penalty area.

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As a result of this victory, the Netherlands moved ahead of Greece in the standings. Both teams now have six points, but Ronald Koeman’s squad has played one fewer match than Greece. The Dutch are set to face Ireland in Dublin on Sunday, while Greece will take on Gibraltar, currently in last place, in Athens.

Meanwhile, Hungary continued its impressive performance in their qualifying group by coming from behind to defeat Serbia 2-1. With this win in Belgrade, they now lead Group G with 10 points, three points ahead of the previously undefeated Serbian team. Hungary have only lost once in their last 11 matches.

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The home team couldn’t maintain their lead, which initially came from Attila Szalai’s own goal. They eventually suffered their first loss as Barnabas Varga and Willi Orban scored within two minutes, shortly after the half-hour mark, securing Hungary’s win.

Also, Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has emerged as the top scorer in European Championship qualifying for Scotland, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane. Scotland are on the verge of securing a spot in next year’s tournament with a flawless record in Group A, achieved by defeating Cyprus 3-0.

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Lamine Yamal set a record as the youngest player to score for Spain in a European qualifier, helping his team secure a 7-1 victory against Georgia.

McTominay has now scored six goals during the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, keeping Scotland ahead of Spain in the group with a perfect 15 points from five consecutive wins. Scotland only require two more points to confirm its place in the tournament to be held in Germany. He shares the top spot in the scoring charts with his new Manchester United teammate, Rasmus Hojlund of Denmark, and former club mate Romelu Lukaku of Belgium, both with six goals.

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Moreover, McTominay has been involved in more goals than any other player during the qualifiers, while providing one assist. He opened the scoring in the game against Cyprus after just six minutes, and Ryan Porteous doubled the lead in the 16th minute, with John McGinn adding a third in the 30th.

Scotland can qualify without needing additional points if Norway and Georgia draw on Tuesday. Second-placed Spain have played two fewer games than Scotland and has six points but has already lost to the group leader.

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In another game, Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal in Portugal’s 1-0 victory over Slovakia. Managed by new coach Roberto Martinez, they have now won all five of their matches in Group J, which is the team’s best start to a European qualifying campaign.

Luxembourg secured a 3-1 win against Iceland, reaching a total of 10 points, matching their highest tally in European or World Cup qualifying with five games remaining. Liechtenstein remain at the bottom of the group without any points after losing 2-1 to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Croatia moved up to second place in Group D with a 5-0 win against Latvia, trailing leader Turkey by three points with two games in hand. Turkey needed an 88th-minute goal from Bertug Yildirim to secure a 1-1 draw with Armenia.

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