Friday, September 13, 2019

Back to business

After the summer break, competitive international football returned with European qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers in Africa and Asia. In Africa the qualifiers began with a shock in the first round as Djibouti celebrated a 2-1 victory over Eswatini and held them to a goalless draw in the away match to progress to the next round while a 3-1 win for Sudan in Chad was enough to take them through after a 0-0 home draw. Zimbabwe also made it to the next round despite being stunned 1-0 in Somalia, as did Equatorial Guinea who could only draw 1-1 at home to South Sudan in their first match. Angola paved their path to the next round with a 1-0 win in Gambia.
The Asian World Cup qualifiers entered the group stage where Palestine enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to Uzbekistan but were embarrassed 2-1 in Singapore the following week. The shock of the round was produced by Nepal who won 2-0 in Taiwan while Mongolia stunned their visitors from Myanmar 1-0 and Asian champions Qatar where held to a goalless draw at home to India. Lebanon lost 2-0 in North Korea and Kyrgyzstan fell to a single goal in Tajikistan while Australia were 3-0 winners in Kuwait and Malaysia defeated Indonesia 3-2 on their travels.
In the Euro 2020 qualifiers Croatia slaughtered Slovakia 4-0 on the road, but the Slovaks salvaged some pride days later with a 2-1 win away to Hungary while Croatia were held to a 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan. The Netherlands returned from Germany with a 4-2 victory that took them to the top of the Ziaian rankings and Greece were held 1-1 at home to little Liechtenstein while Bosnia & Herzegovina were beaten 4-2 in Armenia for whom Henrikh Mikhitaryan scored twice. Poland lost 2-0 in Slovenia while Portugal triumphed 4-2 in Serbia and Estonia were 2-1 losers at home to Belarus. The Czech Republic picked up a 3-0 win in Montenegro while Albania enjoyed a 4-2 home win against Iceland.
In the Concacaf Nations League Panama suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Bermuda.