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European Championship review

TAGs: Euro 2020, European Championships, Gareth Bale

Dutch Delight, a very English rout and Gareth Bale rescues Wales

The first half of the European Championships qualifiers last weekend saw some terrific games take place, with England, Wales and the Netherlands all grabbing maximum points after some sweating along the way.

european-championship-review-dutch-delight-a-very-english-rout-and-gareth-bale-rescues-walesEngland 4 – 0 Bulgaria

Gareth Southgate’s men got off to another good start in qualification games at Wembley as they saw off Bulgaria with ease.

Taking the lead through Harry Kane, England went into the half-time break just 1-0 up. But the second half saw England add some gloss coat to an already thorough job when Kane completed his hat-trick, the Tottenham Hotspur striker’s second and third goals coming from the penalty spot.

In between those spot kicks, Raheem Sterling slotted home another goal in his spectacular start to the campaign to see England thrash Bulgaria 4-0 and remain in complete control of Group A.

Germany 2 – 4 Netherlands

A stirring second half comeback saw Holland go from the brink of probable reliance on their Nations League performance to qualify for Euro 2020 to putting their destiny right back into their own hands with a vital win over old enemies Germany.

After former Arsenal striker Serge Gnabry put the home side into the lead, Netherland went into half-time needing something of a miracle. They got it. Three goals in 20 superb second half minutes saw them heading into the final minutes 3-2 up thanks to Toni Kroos’ penalty on 73 minutes pegged Oranje back for mere seconds.

Goals from de Jong, an own goal from Tah, and a Malen strike had seen former Everton manager Ronald Koeman’s side lead into a frantic final few minutes. Germany pressed desperately for an equaliser, but Gino Wijnaldum would eventually score a game-ending fourth for the Dutch in injury time to see them right back in contention for qualification via the group.

Wales 2 – 1 Azerbaijan

Gareth Bale’s late header rescued Wales and kept Welsh hopes alive for qualification from Group E.

With Daniel James running Azerbaijan ragged in the early stages, it was no surprise when the home side forced an own goal, conceded by Pavlo Pashayev for the visitors to the Cardiff City Stadium.

But the plucky Azerbaijan side equalised on 58 minutes when Emreli knocked in the rebound to his first shot after sloppy defending from Wales threatened to undo any good work.

With time running out, Wales saw their star man, Real Madrid rebel Gareth Bale nod in a goal which not only saw the home crowd go crazy, but restored hope the Welsh qualification campaign and galvanised manager Ryan Giggs into a fist-pumping celebration born of as much relief as elation.

Selected Results:

Armenia 1 – 3 Italy
Finland 1- 0 Greece
Republic of Ireland 1 – 1 Switzerland
Romania 1 – 2 Spain
Germany 2 – 4 Netherlands
Slovakia 0 – 4 Croatia
Wales 2 – 1 Azerbaijan
Scotland 1 – 2 Russia
England 4 – 0 Bulgaria
Serbia 2 – 4 Portugal
France 4 – 1 Albania

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