Guardian sport on 11 June 2019
A goal in each half from Romelu Lukaku and an unerring late drive from Kevin De Bruyne consigned Scotland to a 3-0 Euro 2020 qualiifying defeat by Belgium in Brussels.
A backs-to-the-wall first half from Steve Clarke’s side saw Belgium’s chances kept to a minimum: David Marshall was forced into a fingertip stop by a looping strike from De Bruyne before Lukaku miscued badly from close range. But the resistance was broken on the stroke of half-time when Eden Hazard raced to the byline and lofted a cross for Lukaku to nod home.
The striker’s hit-and-miss night continued when he squandered a couple more presentable chances before making the points safe in the Group I match by pouncing when Marshall spilled De Bruyne’s effort. Scotland contrived to miss a three-man breakaway before De Bruyne added a third.
Northern Ireland’s perfect start to their qualifying campaign continued with a hard-earned 1-0 win against Belarus in Barysaw. Conor Washington came closest to breaking the deadlock during a cagey first half when he rifled wide from the edge of the box. The visitors upped their efforts after the break, Washington and George Saville both unleashing vicious shots from range, before Paddy McNair jinked into the box from the left to drill low and hard into the far corner with five minutes to go.
The points keep them at the top of Group C despite Germany’s 8-0 win against Estonia in Mainz. An Ilkay Gündogan penalty made it four goals within the half-hour and Leroy Sané rounded off the scoring late on.
Italy were made to work for their 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Turin. Edin Dzeko capped a flowing move before Lorenzo Insigne volleyed home a corner in dazzling fashion. Marco Verratti’s precise finish clinched the win late on.
Kylian Mbappé opened the scoring as France breezed to a 4-0 victory in Andorra, the Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma turning in the fourth.