Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Europe clear


As the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in South America and the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers continued, Euro 2020 played out the play-off matches to put its final pieces together and the European Nations League concluded its group matches to produce its 4 semi-finalists.

In World Cup qualifiers, Colombia had a disastrous week losing 3-0 at home to Uruguay before being humiliated 6-1 in Ecuador. The Uruguayans returned home to lose 2-0 to Brazil while Bolivia drew 2-2 in Paraguay and Argentina were 2-0 winners in Peru.

In the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Alex Iwobi scored twice for Nigeria who took a 4 goal lead at home to Sierra Leone but the visitors hit back with a brace from Alhaji Kamara to earn a 4-4 draw while Equatorial Guinea struck twice in stoppage time to win 3-2 in Libya and Burundi drew 1-1 in Mauritania before winning the reverse fixture 3-1 with a double from Saidi Ntibazonkiza. South Sudan upset Uganda 1-0 in Kenya while Ghana were stunned 1-0 in Sudan and DR Congo were 1-0 winners in Angola. Niger lost 3-0 in Ethiopia and Egypt won 3-1 in Togo while Cameroon scored twice without reply in Mozambique, but Algeria could not hold on to their 2-goal lead and were pegged back to 2-2 in Zimbabwe.

North Macedonia qualified for Euro 2020 with a 1-0 victory in Georgia and Slovakia celebrated a 2-1 extra-time win in Northern Ireland while Scotland needed a penalty shootout to get past their Serbian hosts and join Hungary in the finals as play-off winners.

In the European Nations League Armenia defeated their Georgian hosts 2-1 before celebrating promotion to league B with a 1-0 win over North Macedonia in Cyprus while Hungary, who are one of the highest movers of the year in the football rankings, celebrated promotion to the top league after Russia were humiliated 5-0 in Serbia for whom Luka Jovic netted twice.

In friendly matches Nepal lost 2-0 in Bangladesh and Jamaica were 2-1 winners in Saudi Arabia, but the biggest shock was Finland’s 2-0 win away to world champions France.