In his first 11 appearances for the Denmark national football team, former Sturm striker Rasmus Höglund promptly scored his first international goals. At the start of the European Championship qualifiers, the 20-year-old scored hat-tricks (21, 82 and 93) and almost single-handedly hit “Danish dynamite” to seal a 3-1 victory over Finland. In doing so, he also extended his international career, which he began with six goals in 2023 for his club, Atalanta Bergamo in Italy. Hoglund moved to Lombardy in August 2022 after just six months in Graz for €20m.
First, England put in a big brick to win their group. In the new edition of the European Championship final, the “Three Lions” defeated the eventual European champions Italy with a stomach ache 2: 1 (2: 0). In Group X, Portugal around world record holder Cristiano Ronaldo and Bosnia and Herzegovina began the qualifiers, which run until November 21, with crushing victories over Liechtenstein (4-0) and Iceland (3-0).
Slovenia wrote out entirely in Kazakhstan in Denmark’s H pool (2-1). North Macedonia also won in Group C in Italy (2-1 against Malta).
In addition to already qualified hosts Germany, 20 other teams get the ticket via the regular qualifiers. The first two of the seven groups are eligible. The last three EM participants in March 2024 will be decided by qualifying.
Italy started ambitiously in front of a full house in Naples, but the thread broke completely after the first setback. Declan Rice succeeded in the margin after a corner kick (13). Harry Kane’s shot was blocked earlier. Kane made it 2-0 before the break (44). The star striker converted a penalty after a VAR intervention for his 54th international goal, making him his only first-place finisher ahead of Wayne Rooney.
With nine European Championship finalists in the starting line-up, the English initially presented themselves as a more solid team against an Italy in turmoil. But as Jack Grealish missed the ‘bench’ to make it 3-0 (45+1), it got exciting again. Debutante Matteo Rettigi scored the connecting goal after a perfect pass from Lorenzo Pellegrini (56). The coach of the Italian national team, Roberto Mancini, called the 23-year-old “Argentina”, who had never played a competitive match on Italian soil, in a completely unexpected way. A maternal grandfather from Sicily was able to capitalize on the Argentine top scorer in the first place.
Ronaldo set the world record
The 2-1 draw brought the crowd back at Diego Armando Maradona’s stadium – and suddenly England stumbled. The finish belonged to Azzurri and it turned into a British defensive battle at the latest after Luke Shaw was booked red (78′, 80′). But it wasn’t enough for the locals to win a point.
Portugal did not fall into the debut of the team’s chief Roberto Martinez, the victory was 4-0 against Liechtenstein according to the script of Cristiano Ronaldo. The national icon only set a world record with his 197th international appearance and extended that tally of international goals to 120 (51/penalty, 63rd place). Joao Cancelo (8th) and Bernardo Silva (47th) gave the first two goals to the outsider, who was temporarily taken care of by Strian Rene Boric.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, who beat Iceland 3-0 thanks to Salzburg’s first international goal, Amar Dedic (63), are likely to be the Portuguese’s toughest opponents in the group (63). Dedic acted on the right flank, Iosif Gazibegović’s Stormgraz Corps on the left flank. Rade Kronic tied a brace (14, 40).
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