GERMANY’S Nico Schulz sealed a thrilling 3-2 win over the Netherlands in a see-saw Euro 2020 qualifier as Joachim Loew’s new-look line-up survived a severe test on Sunday.
Elsewhere, World Cup finalists Croatia
stumbled to a 2-1 defeat in Hungary, and Eden Hazard celebrated a century of
caps with the opening goal in Belgium’s 2-0 win over Cyprus.
A revamped Germany raced into a 2-0 lead in
Amsterdam with thrilling strikes from Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry but the hosts
struck back with a second half header from Matthijs De Ligt before Memphis
Depay pounced for an equaliser on 63 minutes.
The four-time world champions were put
under immense pressure from a Netherlands side seeking a winner but the
visitors, who were booed by their own fans in a 1-1 friendly draw against
Serbia last Wednesday, snatched victory in the 90th minute through 25-year-old
The Hoffenheim midfielder, who made his
international in August, tapped home a loose ball after a tireless Sane had
taken the defence with him on a run into the box.
The win comes after Loew took an axe to
Germany’s squad ahead of the qualifying campaign in the aftermath of last
year’s calamitous World Cup elimination, when he told Bayern Munich trio Thomas
Mueller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels they had no future in the national
Bayern stopper Manuel Neuer may also come
under pressure for his place after De Ligt beat him with a flying header just
after the restart. Neuer, 32, was also slow to react as Depay pounced for the
Dutch ‘keeper Jasper Cillesen was left with
little chance after Gnabry ended his mazy run by outwitting Virgil Van Dijk
before sending a rasping long-range effort into the bottom corner in the early
Chelsea star Hazard celebrated his 100th
cap by scoring the opener in their 2-0 win over Cyprus in Group I with Michy
Batshuayi grabbing the second as Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois went largely
untested in the Belgian goal.
Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric was
powerless to stop beaten World Cup finalists Croatia from slipping to a 2-1
defeat to Hungary in Group E on Sunday as Mate Patkai notched a 76th minute
winner in Budapest.
Croatia had struggled against Azerbaijan in
their opening qualifier last Thursday before escaping with a 2-1 win, but they
made the perfect start in the Hungarian capital when Ante Rebic put them ahead
on 13 minutes.
But Hungary pulled level through Adam Szalai’s fifth goal in as many games and with a quarter of an hour left, 31-year-old Patkai scored his first international goal to pull off a famous victory. – Reuters
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