AMSTERDAM: Wingback Nico Schulz struck a late counter-attacking winner as a new-style Germany won 3-2 away to Holland in their opening Euro 2020 Group C qualifier.
Germany had seemed well set for victory after a superb first half produced goals for Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry to give coach Joachim Low encouragement in his strategy to regroup after the World Cup and Nations League failures.
However the bad old habits returned in tghe first eight minutes of the second half as Memphis Depay created one goal for Matthijs de Ligt then struck a sharply-taken equaliser.
Wing-back Schulz produced the decisive moment of the match though when he netted in the final minute after a fine build-up down the left to re-establish Germany’s advantage and claim a crucial victory to get their qualifying campaign underway.
Northern Ireland head the group after goals from Jonny Evans and Josh Magennis gave them a 2-1 win over Belarus on Sunday and a perfect start of six points from two games.
Germany and Holland have three points each, though the latter have now played two matches.
World Cup finalists Croatia continued their shaky start to qualifying with a 2-1 defeat by Hungary . They had taken an early lead in Budapest through Ante Rebic after 13 minutes but lacked defensive organisation and allowed Adam Szalai to draw Hungary level 20 minutes later, before Mate Patkai scored the winner for Hungary from a corner in the 76th minute.
The result means Croatia are fourth on goal difference in Group E, which includes Wales, after their 2-1 home win over Azerbaijan on Saturday.
Eden Hazard marked his 100th cap with an early goal to set Belgium on their way to a comfortable 2-0 win in Cyprus . Michy Batshuayi got the other goal for the top team in the world rankings, who began their campaign last Thursday with a 3-1 home win over Russia and now have six points from their opening two games in Group I.
Poland made it two wins out of two at the start of their qualifying campaign after second-half goals by Robert Lewandowski and Kamil Glik gave them a 2-0 home win over Latvia in Group G.
In the group’s other games an Eran Zahavi hat-trick steered Israel to a 4-2 home win over Austria while Slovenia were held to a 1-1 home draw by North Macedonia.
Poland, who beat Austria 1-0 away in their opening match, lead the way with six points from two games. Israel and North Macedonia have four each and Slovenia have two while Austria and Latvia are pointless.