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Monday, January 30, 2023

World Cup 2022 qualifiers..French “service” to Ukraine and the Netherlands in the finals

France, the guarantor of its qualification for the World Cup finals, beat its host Finland 2-0, while the Netherlands managed to return to the finals by defeating Norway, while Wales snatched the play-off card with a draw with Belgium.

France grants supplement card to Ukraine

France served Ukraine, which grabbed the play-off card, by defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0 on Tuesday, in Group D of the European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

France raised its score to 18 points, compared to 12 for Ukraine, and 11 for Finland.

France coach Didier Deschamps made five changes to the squad that played against Kazakhstan in the last round and came out with a sweeping score of 8-0. He rested some first-class stars such as Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante. The young German striker Bayer Leverkusen replaced them. Moussa Diaby, who will play his first major game in his career, and Monaco midfielder Aurelian Chuamini.

Despite the control of the French team, the European Nations League champion, last month at the expense of Spain, with a large percentage of 63 percent in the first half, it did not create many opportunities, while the most prominent for Finland was Norwich City striker Timo Burki, who hit a sudden ball that saved Her France captain Hugo Lloris (30).

Benzema participated in the 57th minute instead of Diaby and needed only 9 minutes to open the scoring after he exchanged the ball with Kylian Mbappe and fired it into the net (66).

Benzema scored in the last four matches of his national team, respectively, and became the first player to achieve this feat by doing so himself between November 2013 and June 2014, knowing that he was absent from the team’s squad between 2015 and now due to a sexual scandal.

It is the eighteenth consecutive match in which the French national team has scored at least one goal, equaling its previous personal record, which it achieved between September 1999 and October 2000.

Soon, Mbappe added the second goal with a wonderful artistic movement with a curling ball out of the reach of the Finnish goalkeeper (76), raising his score to 24 goals in 53 international matches.

In the second match, Ukraine returned with a precious victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina with two goals scored by Manchester City’s left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko (59) and Artem Dovbek (79) to snatch second place in the group and the supplement card.

The Netherlands returns to the finals

The Dutch national team will return to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 after its absence from the last edition, after it completed on Tuesday the contract of the ten qualified teams directly from Europe, with a late victory over Norway in Rotterdam 2-0 in front of empty stands in the tenth and final round of the seventh group.

The Netherlands waited until the 84th minute to open the scoring through Stephen Berchvin before adding Memphis Depay II (90+1), to top their group with 23 points against Turkey (21), winning 2-1 at its host Montenegro, to qualify for the playoffs next March. Norway ranked third (18).

The Netherlands joined Spain, France, Germany, England, Croatia, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, and Serbia for the old continent, Brazil for South America, and host Qatar.

The qualification for the orange team came before the eyes of coach Louis van Gaal, who is in a wheelchair after he slipped and fell on his hip when he was stopping his bike at the hotel on his way back from Sunday’s training session.

Van Gaal returned to supervise the Netherlands for a third term last August, succeeding Frank de Boer, and the team, under his leadership, did not know the taste of defeat in seven qualifying matches (five wins and two draws).

Van Gaal failed in his first period (2000-2001) to lead the “mills” to the finals of the World Cup Korea and Japan 2002, before leading him to the World Cup in Brazil 2014, where he finished third at the expense of Brazil after losing in the semi-final against Argentina.

The Netherlands, runners-up in 1974, 1978, and 2010, missed the opportunity to qualify in the previous round, when they missed a two-goal lead for Depay against Montenegro, to receive two goals in the last eight minutes and only tied with a 2-2 draw.

Norway played in the absence of its deadly striker Erling Haaland, who has been out of action for some time due to injury, knowing that he was the scorer of the goal when the two teams tied 1-1 in the first match that brought them together in Oslo in the qualifiers last September.

Van Gaal made three changes to the squad that started against Montenegro on Saturday, inserting Berkhvin in attack instead of Doniel Malin and central defender Matthijs de Ligt in place of Stephane de Vree, who was injured late in the previous match. Also, goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen returned instead of Justin Bello.

The first threat came from Debye’s header after a cross from Berchvin settled in the goalkeeper’s hands (13), before the ball reached him inside the area from Denzel Dumfries, he tried to shoot it, but it was light (15) before he followed up with a header also after an easy cross in the hands of Orian Neyland (27) ).

A minute before, Arnot Danyoma had an opportunity, who penetrated into the area and hit a ball that passed along the post (26).

Depay almost scored a great goal when he showed high technique when he turned half a lap around himself and hit the ball at the bird from outside the area that the goalkeeper picked up (40).

The second half did not witness many chances from both sides, and the first shot was between the three wood, which came from the first goal, after a pass from Danyoma to Berchvin inside the area, shot by a missile in his right into the ceiling of the goal (84).

The Dutch launched a rebound after a corner kick for Norway, so Berchvin went from the midfield line towards the inside of the area before passing a free ball to Depay, who followed it into the net (90 + 1).

In the other match, Montenegro took the lead in the third minute through Fatos Bekircag, before Turkey returned through Karim Aktoroglu (22) and Orkun Kokcu (60).

Latvia also won 3-1 in Gibraltar in a marginal match.

Wales snatch the supplement card

Wales snatched the supplement card and ensured that it was among the teams ranked in the first level, with its 1-1 draw with Belgium on Tuesday in the eighth and final round of Group E of the European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Belgium, which secured its place in the football match in the last round, raised its score to 20 points, compared to 15 for Wales and 14 for the Czech Republic, which defeated Estonia with two clean goals, which in turn ensured the play-off despite occupying third place in the group due to its classification in the last edition of the European Nations League.

Wales played the match without the injured Real Madrid star Gareth Wells and fell behind with a goal by Belgium and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne after 12 minutes.

But the hosts equalized through Kiefer Moore, using a cross pass from winger Daniel James (32).

It is noteworthy that Wales participated once in the World Cup finals, and that happened in the 1958 edition of Sweden when it was eliminated in the quarter-final against Brazil.


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