Berlin, App. Germany became the first country to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after beating North Macedonia 4-0 in Europe’s Group-J FIFA World Cup qualifying match, despite making a lot of mistakes.
Germany performed brilliantly, winning seven matches in eight matches. The team suffered a 1–2 upset against North Macedonia in Duisburg in March, its only defeat. Germany scored all its four goals in the second half. Timo Werner scored the most goals for the team while Kei Howartz and Jamal Musiala scored one goal each. This is Germany’s fifth win in five matches under their new coach Hansie Flick. In the 2018 World Cup, Germany’s team was eliminated from the first round.
In the first half of the match, the German players could not pass the ball to each other properly and could not take advantage of the few scoring opportunities. The first half was goalless. In the second half, Müller sent the ball to Kei Havartz, who opened Germany’s account in the match by scoring in the 50th minute. Coach Hansie’s team played more aggressively in this half and got the advantage in the form of goals. Werner scored in the 70th minute to give Germany a 2-0 lead and this time too Muller passed the ball well. Werner again scored another goal three minutes later. Then in the 83rd minute, substitute Jamal Musiala scored his first international goal to increase Germany’s winning margin.
In Group J, apart from Germany, Romania and Iceland also managed to register victories. Romania beat Armenia 1-0 while Iceland beat Lichtenstein 4-0. Romania is second in the group with 13 points. They have a one point lead over North Macedonia and Armenia. Iceland has eight while Lichtenstein has one point. Turkey, on the other hand, kept their qualifying hopes alive after beating Latvia 2-1 on a penalty goal in the ninth minute of injury time from Burak Yilmaz. This was the first match of Stefan Kuntz, the former coach of Germany’s Under-21 team, as coach of the Turkish team.
In Rotterdam, Memphis Depay scored two goals and assisted in two goals but missed a penalty as the Netherlands made a strong move to qualify after beating Gibraltar 6-0. In Group G, the Netherlands have a two-point lead over Norway and four points over Turkey. In Group H, Croatia has decided to play at least in the playoffs with a draw and Russia winning. In Group E, Wales beat Estonia 1–0 thanks to a goal from Kiefer Moor to extend Belgium’s wait to qualify. Wales and Czech Republic have the same number of points as they beat Belarus 2-0. However, the Czech Republic have played one match more. Belgium are leading by five points and are almost certain to qualify.
In Group G, Depay made a stellar performance for Barcelona, leaving behind a bad club season. He has 14 goals to his name for the Netherlands this year and broke Patrick Kluwert’s record for the most national team goals in a calendar year with 12 goals. The Netherlands maintained a two-point lead over Norway, who beat Montenegro 2-0. In Group H, Croatia held Slovakia to a 2-2 draw with midfielder Luka Moudric’s goal on a free kick. Russia reached the top of the group after beating old rivals Slovenia 2-1. 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia will now have to beat Russia to qualify for the World Cup. In another match, Malta held Cyprus in a 2-2 draw.
India will face Maldives in a do or die match in SAIF Championship
Male, Pretr. Struggling with poor form, the Indian men’s team will take on hosts Maldives in the last league match of the SAIF Championship and only a win in this ‘do or die’ match can save them from being eliminated. In the event of a draw or a loss, India will be out of the race for the final and this will be their worst performance in the last few years. With this, the demand for the removal of the coach of the Indian team, Igor Stimak, will also start gaining momentum.
Seven-time champion Indian team had earlier finished third in 2003. Since then, in 11 seasons, India have either won the title or finished as runner-up. In the five-team tournament, the top four teams will race for the final on October 16. India have five points after two draws and one win and are in third place. Maldives (6 points from three matches) and Nepal (6 points from three matches) are above him. Nepal will face Bangladesh.
It has never been easy for India to beat the two-time champions Maldives. Maldives has always given a tough challenge to the Indian team. Ali Ashfaq-led Maldives defeated Bangladesh and Sri Lanka after their defeat to Nepal in the first match. Like Indian captain Sunil Chhetri, the performance of Maldives is also responsible for 36-year-old Ashfaq. He has scored two of the team’s three goals in this tournament.
On the other hand, the Indian team missed the experienced Sandesh Jhingan against Bangladesh. Despite taking a one-goal lead, the Indian team had to be content with a draw. Chhetri was not in form against Sri Lanka and that match too ended in a goalless draw. Chhetri scored the decisive goal against Nepal but the question is how long the team will depend on the 37-year-old striker.
Indian women’s team will face Chinese Taipei
Manama, Pretr. The Indian women’s football team will face a better-ranked Chinese Taipei team in what will be their toughest test in recent times in an international friendly here on Wednesday. The Indian team dominated Bahrain 5-0 in their previous encounter on Sunday and will be looking to boost their confidence for the match against world ranking 40th-ranked Chinese Taipei.