The Netherlands slumped to a dramatic 4-2 defeat by Turkey of their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, whereas reigning champions France have been held by Ukraine regardless of a superb Antoine Griezmann objective and Belgium got here from behind to beat Wales.
European champions Portugal battled to a 1-0 victory over Azerbaijan, however 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia misplaced 1-0 in Slovenia as they began their bid to achieve the finals in Qatar.
In Istanbul, Turkey led 3-0 shortly after half-time via two Burak Yilmaz objectives and a Hakan Calhanoglu strike, however substitutes Davy Klaassen and Luuk de Jong gave Frank de Boer’s Dutchmen hope.
Yilmaz’s fantastic free-kick sealed him a hat-trick and Turkey a vital win, although, in a match between the 2 favourites to qualify from Group G.
“Very disappointing end result, and likewise the way in which that end result happened,” De Boer instructed NOS TV.
The defeat was a dreadful begin to the marketing campaign for the Netherlands, who didn’t qualify for both Euro 2016 or the 2018 World Cup, however are one of many fancied sides forward of the delayed Euro 2020 finals this 12 months.
France kicked off their title defence with a 1-1 draw in opposition to Ukraine on the Stade de France.
Griezmann curled a high quality end from exterior the field into the highest nook within the nineteenth minute to attract stage with David Trezeguet in fourth place on France’s all-time goalscoring listing, with 34. However Presnel Kimpembe put via his personal web earlier than the hour mark to attract Ukraine stage.
The Paris Saint-Germain defender had a late probability to make amends, however headed too near away goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan.
“We’d like extra accuracy and motion in opposition to these opponents,” France coach Didier Deschamps instructed TF1. “Qualifying is an extended haul and never an extended, quiet river, it by no means has been.”
The opposite sport in Group D noticed Finland and Bosnia and Herzegovina draw 2-2, with Teemu Pukki netting twice for the Finns in Helsinki.
“It left a foul style in my mouth,” stated Pukki. “I’m a bit gutted we couldn’t get the three factors.”
Belgium see off Wales
Belgium, the world’s number-one-ranked facet, fell behind early in opposition to Wales however fought again to outclass their opponents 3-1.
Harry Wilson scored a wonderful Tenth-minute opener for Wales in Leuven, however Kevin De Bruyne and Thorgan Hazard netted within the area of six minutes to place the hosts forward earlier than the half-hour mark.
Belgium’s document goalscorer Romelu Lukaku wrapped up the factors with a penalty 17 minutes from time, gaining the Purple Devils a measure of revenge for his or her Euro 2016 quarter-final loss to Wales.
“It was essential to start out with a victory at house,” stated winger Thorgan Hazard. “It’s at all times essential to start out qualifying effectively. We have been a little bit scared through the first quarter-hour.”
Roberto Martinez’s males sit second within the early Group E desk behind the Czech Republic, who thrashed Estonia 6-2 on impartial floor in Poland, with West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek scoring a hat-trick.
Portugal, who defend the title at Euro 2020 later this 12 months, struggled of their Group A opener in opposition to Azerbaijan in Turin.
However Maksim Medvedev’s personal objective 9 minutes earlier than half-time was sufficient, regardless of Cristiano Ronaldo, on 102 worldwide objectives, failing to shut the hole to Iranian Ali Daei’s all-time document of 109.
“The sport was below management. We would have liked to enhance the ending, however we ended up successful – with an personal objective, however perhaps we deserved to have scored extra,” stated Portugal coach Fernando Santos, after his fiftieth win in cost from 80 video games.
Portugal’s group rivals Serbia battled again to beat the Republic of Eire 3-2, as Aleksandar Mitrovic got here off the bench to seize a second-half double.
‘Human rights, on and off pitch’
Norway stars Erling Braut Haaland and Martin Odegaard donned t-shirts with the slogan ‘Human rights, on and off the pitch’ in assist of migrant staff constructing World Cup venues in Qatar for the 2022 finals.
Haaland, nationwide captain Odegaard, in addition to teammates, wore the shirts when the nationwide anthems have been performed earlier than their 3-0 success in Gibraltar.
The Scandinavians sit forward of Turkey in Group G.
Elsewhere, Russia, 2018 quarter-finalists on house soil, stuttered to a 3-1 win in Malta.
Additionally in Group H, Croatia have been crushed by Sandi Lovric’s early objective for Slovenia.
At Turin, Italy
Portugal 1 (Medvedev 36-og) Azerbaijan 0
Serbia 3 (Vlahovic 40, Mitrovic 69, 75) Republic of Eire 2 (Browne 18, Collins 86)
Finland 2 (Pukki 58, 77) Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 (Pjanic 55, Stevanovic 85)
France 1 (Griezmann 19) Ukraine 1 (Kimpembe 57-og)
At Leuven, Belgium
Belgium 3 (De Bruyne 22, T. Hazard 28, Lukaku 73-pen) Wales 1 (Wilson 10)
At Lublin, Poland
Estonia 2 (Sappinen 12, Anier 86) Czech Republic 6 (Schick 18, Barak 27, Soucek 32, 43, 48, Jankto 56)
At Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey 4 (Yilmaz 15, 34-pen, 81, Calhanoglu 46) Netherlands 2 (Klaassen 75, L. de Jong 76)
Latvia 1 (Ikaunieks 40) Montenegro 2 (Jovetic 41, 83)
Gibraltar 0 Norway 3 (Sorloth 43, Thorsvedt 45, Svensson 57)
Malta 1 (Mbong 56) Russia 3 (Dzyuba 23, Fernandes 35, Sobolev 90)
Cyprus 0 Slovakia 0
Slovenia 1 (Lovric 15) Croatia 0