Euro 2020 qualifying

England thrash Montenegro, France beat Iceland

Tuesday, 2019-03-26 07:13:45
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England's Ross Barkley (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group A - Montenegro v England - Podgorica City Stadium, Podgorica, Montenegro - March 25, 2019. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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England recovered from an early scare in Montenegro as Ross Barkley scored twice in a clinical 5-1 victory to continue their strong start to the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign on Monday.

Skipper Harry Kane and livewire Raheem Sterling also got on the scoresheet as England’s dynamic young side tore Montenegro apart after Michael Keane had brought the visitors level.

Marko Vesovic raised the decibel level in the stadium when he fired the hosts in front against the run of play in the 17th minute, but England were unfazed and went ahead by halftime thanks to Keane’s first England goal and Barkley’s finish.

Montenegro were still a threat early in the second half and Fatos Beciraj could have equalised, but when Barkley drilled in his second just before the hour the result was a formality.

Kane tapped home the fourth goal after a swift counter-attack from a cut back by Sterling, who slid home from Jordan Henderson’s slide-rule pass in the 81st to complete the rout.

England, now unbeaten in 32 World Cup and European qualifiers, have scored 10 goals in two games in Group A having thrashed Czech Republic 5-0 with a Sterling hat-trick on Friday.

With Bulgaria only drawing 1-1 in Kosovo, England already have a four-point lead in the group.

Reliable Giroud strikes again as France thrash Iceland

France's Olivier Giroud scores their second goal - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group H - France v Iceland - Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France - March 25, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)

Olivier Giroud once again proved his reliability for France, netting his 35th international goal as the world champions demolished Iceland 4-0 at home in their second Euro 2020 qualifier.

Giroud, now alone in third place on France’s all-time scoring list, added to Samuel Umtiti’s early opener in the second half before Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann rounded off a routine win to put France on six points in Group H.

Turkey, who will face Les Bleus in June, emerged as France’s main rivals in the group when they thrashed Moldova 4-0 thanks to a Cenk Tosun double after beating Albania 2-0 away on Friday when France enjoyed a 4-1 victory in Moldova.

Albania have three points, like Iceland, after snatching a 3-0 away win against Andorra.

Iceland, who have now won only one of their last 17 games, played aggressively but it was not enough to unsettle Les Bleus.