World Cup 2022 Qualifiers in European zone is finally underway. Several high profile teams did gain some unexpected results in their opener. The reigning Champions France was stunned by Ukraine at their home turf. Didier Deschamps’ men were held in a 1-1 draw by Ukraine under the command of Andrey Shevchenko, their former prolific striker in 2000s. Antoine Griezmann’s long range shot opened the scoring. Unfortunately, Les Blues were unable to capitalise some decent chances by Olivier Giroud in the penalty boxes. In fact, they had to concede through Presnel Kimpembe’s own goal. The 2010 Champions, Spain, began their qualifying campaign in disappointment as they failed to seal a win and could only muster the same result as Les Blues, 1-1 draw when they played host to Greece. Alvaro Morata’s goal gave them the lead at the first half before finally denied by Tasos Bakasetas’s penalty. This results could stumble their campaign in the future, should they do not change their system, tactical approach or even formation in the future.
France vs Ukraine 1-1
Goals: Antoine Griezmann (19); Presnel Kimpembe (57 o.g)
France: Hugo Lloris – Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, Presnel Kimpembe, Raphael Varane – Adrien Rabiot, NGolo Kante – Antoine Griezmann, Kingsley Coman (Ousmane Dembele 64), Kylian Mbappe (Anthony Martial 77), Olivier Giroud (Paul Pogba 63)
Ukraine: Georgi Buschan – Serhii Kyrvtov, Zabarnyii, Karavaev, Matvienko, Mykolenko – Olexander Zichenko, Serhiy Sydorchuk (Viktor Kovalenko 79) Mykola Shaparenko (Olexander Zubkov 83) – Roman Yaremchuk (Junior Moraes 73), Ruslan Malinovsky
If those two former Champions failed to pick up the necessary win, the other three world cup winners, Germany, Italy and England began their campaign without so much difficulty. The Champions of 2014 edition, Germany, trashed Iceland 3-0, event hough they should have scored more. Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz and Manchester City man Ilkay Gundogan netted their winning goals. Meanwhile, the fourth-time world cup winner, Italy snatched a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland the goals of Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile, whereas England ran riots against San Marino and hammered them 5-0. James Ward-Prowse, Raheem Sterling, Ollie Watkins and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s brace were on the score sheet. Some other high profile teams such as Belgium and Netherlands have quite in contrast results. Romelu Lukaku and Co crushed Wales 3-1 but their neighbour De Oranje were lacklustre and beaten 2-4 by Turkey on the road.
Germany vs Iceland 3-0
Goals: Leon Goretzka (3), Kai Havertz (7), IIlkay Gundogan (56)
Germany: Manuel Neuer – Emre Can, Antonio Rudiger, Mathias Ginter, Lukas Klostermann – Ilkay Gundogan, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka (Florian Neuhaus 71) – Leroy Sane (Timo Werner 79), Serge Gnarby (Amin Younes 86), Kai Havertz (Jamal Musiala 79)
Iceland: Halldorsson – Arnasson, Stampsted, Ingason, Magnusson – Gunnarsson, Birkir Bjanarsson, Arnor Trautasson (Arnor Sigurdsson 71), Runar Sigurjonsson (Albert Gudmusson 40), Viktor Palsson (Ary Skulasson 89) – Jon Bodvarsson (Kolbein Sigthorsson 89)