Belgium thrash San Marino to qualify for Euro 2020 as Netherlands wins

Written By: BBC/Hunja Macharia
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Belgium became the first team to qualify for Euro 2020 as Romelu Lukaku scored twice in a 9-0 thrashing of San Marino.

Roberto Martinez’ side have an unassailable 11-point lead over third-place Cyprus in Group I.

Belgium led 6-0 at the break after Lukaku’s brace, two own goals and Nacer Chadli and Youri Tielemans’ strikes.

Christian Benteke made it 7-0 before Yari Verschaeren scored a penalty and Timothy Castagne wrapped up the win.

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Lukaku’s double takes his international tally to 51 and makes him the first player to score 50 goals for Belgium.

The Inter Milan striker has six goals in 10 games for club and country this season.

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Meanwhile, Russia look set to join Belgium in progressing from Group I as they strengthened their position in second place with a 4-0 win against Scotland.

In Holland, Northern Ireland’s hopes of Euro 2020 qualification suffered a major blow as they went down to an agonising last-gasp 3-1 defeat by the Netherlands.

Josh Magennis’s 75th-minute header gave NI the lead but Memphis Depay toe-poked home the equaliser five minutes later.

Luuk de Jong’s hooked effort in the first minute of injury time gave the hosts the lead and Depay slid the ball into the net for his second soon after.

The Dutch move top of the group, ahead of Germany and NI on goal difference.

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European giants Netherlands and Germany both have a game in hand over Northern Ireland and are now in pole position to secure the two automatic qualification spots from Group C.

NI remain in contention however with a home game against Ronald Koeman’s side and an away fixture against Germany to come in November, but it looks a very uphill task.

Elsewhere Wales kept their Euro 2020 qualification hopes on track in Slovakia despite the hosts coming from behind to earn a point in Trnava.

A first international goal from Wigan’s Kieffer Moore gave Wales the advantage as he firmly headed home from Dan James’ excellent cross moments after Gareth Bale headed against the crossbar.

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Slovakia equalised with a goal from nothing as Juraj Kucka smashed home a volley after Wales failed to clear a cross eight minutes into the second half.

The hosts dominated after the interval, but their momentum was lost when Norbert Gyomber was sent off for a second yellow card, allowing Wales to finish the contest as the most likely winners.

The draw means Wales stay fourth in Group E, behind Hungary who lost 3-0 to group leaders Croatia.

Slovakia sit three points above Wales and a point above third-place Hungary, but Wales have a game in hand and a superior head-to-head record over Slovakia.

 

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