DORTMUND,: Euro 2024 hosts Germany beat France 2-1 in their international friendly on Tuesday to snap a three-game losing run and regain some confidence following a bad run which led to the sacking of coach Hansi Flick on Sunday.
Goals from Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane at the start and end gave Germany, managed by sports director Rudi Voeller for the game, their first win in their last six matches and capped a turbulent few days for the four-time world champions.
While France, 2022 World Cup runners-up, did not field their strongest team, with captain and top striker Kylian Mbappe on the bench, Germany’s overall performance was far improved from Saturday’s 4-1 home loss to Japan that led to Flick’s departure.
“For us it was clear we’d be running a lot today,” Mueller said. “It was a crazy situation in the past three days. But congratulations to Rudi and his staff on how they dealt with it.
“We did what we had to, we worked hard and we were rewarded for it. We should not read too much into this win but for us it was a small emotional release.”
The Germans, who had won four of their previous 17 matches before Tuesday, pressed high and were rewarded when veteran Mueller rifled home from inside the box in the fourth minute for his 45th international goal after a fine 13-pass move.
The French gradually found their way into the game and grew more dangerous, with Randal Kolo Muani and Aurelien Tchouameni piling pressure on the home defence.
Tchouameni’s low drive in the 57th forced a good save from Marc Andre ter Stegen, who also denied Antoine Griezmann in the 82nd by tipping his shot over the bar.
Sane then completed a quick break to score in the 87th before bringing down Marcus Thuram two minutes later for a penalty, with Griezmann cutting the deficit for the visitors.
The Euro 2024 qualifier between Romania and Kosovo was suspended for just under an hour on Tuesday after Romanian fans repeatedly shouted provocative chants.
The game in Bucharest was stopped in the 18th minute after some of the crowd chanted “Serbia Serbia” and a player confronted people in the stands displaying a sign saying “Kosovo is Serbia”, with the referee sending the players back to the changing rooms.
“The match has resumed after play was suspended due to discriminatory behaviour from some supporters,” UEFA said on their website after an interruption of 50 minutes.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and won recognition from more than 100 countries, but not from Serbia. Kosovo and Romania are in European qualifying Group I, which is headed by Switzerland with 14 points.
Frattesi fires Italy
A double from midfielder Davide Frattesi gave Italy a 2-1 win at home against Ukraine in their European Championship Group C qualifier on Tuesday.
Italy broke the deadlock in Milan after 12 minutes, when Mattia Zaccagni retrieved the ball on the left flank and calmly rolled it back for Frattesi, who scored from inside the box without facing any opposition.
In the 29th minute, the Inter Milan player got his second goal by calmly slotting home from close range, capitalising on a ricocheted shot.
Ukraine pulled one back four minutes before half-time when Andriy Yarmolenko put a rebound into an empty net from a short distance.
In the group standings, Italy are now second, just ahead of Ukraine, with both teams on seven points, though Italy have one match in hand. England top the group with 13 points.
Spain hit six
Ferran Torres scored twice to help Spain earn a comfortable 6-0 win against bottom side Cyprus in a Euro 2024 Group A qualifier on Tuesday, with Barcelona prodigy Lamine Yamal becoming his country’s youngest-ever starter aged 16 years and 61 days.
It was another record for Spain’s Yamal, who had become his country’s youngest international and goalscorer on Friday when he made his debut in a 7-1 win away to Georgia.
He was once again electric on the right wing and created several opportunities before he was substituted early in the second half, including a curling shot that hit the post in the 39th minute. Alvaro Morata scored from the rebound but the effort was ruled out by the VAR for offside.
Spain’s first-half goals, however, came through assists by another talented young winger, Athletic Bilbao’s 21-year-old Nico Williams.
Gavi struck to give the Spain an early lead in the 18th minute and Mikel Merino headed in the second goal 15 minutes later, both from crosses by Williams, who had a shot from point-blank range denied by goalkeeper Joel Mall a little later.
Substitute Joselu scored the third with a header in the 70th minute and Torres, Alex Baena and Torres again finished off Spain’s demolition job with close-range strikes.
Spain are second in Group A on nine points after four matches. They trail leaders Scotland by six points but have a game in hand.
“We made two well worked matches, we have been lucky enough to score a lot of goals which are important at the end of the group stage as a tie-breaker,” defender Robin Le Normand told TVE.
“Those are games that seem easy but you have to be focused every minute on defence because your rival is waiting for that one opportunity to score.
“You could be there standing still for 60 minutes and than one ball comes and you have to stop it. We are going back home very happy.”