World Sports News in Brief

Belgium first team into Euro 2020 finals after 9-0 win

Friday, 2019-10-11 09:13:21
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Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group I - Belgium v San Marino - King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium - October 10, 2019 Belgium's Romelu Lukaku in action with San Marino's Cristian Brolli. (Photo: Reuters)
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Belgium became the first side through to the Euro 2020 finals after thrashing San Marino 9-0 on Thursday with Romelu Lukaku scoring his 50th and 51st international goals.

Inter Milan striker Lukaku became the first Belgian to reach a half century of international goals with a right-footed shot to open the scoring. Russia were on the verge of joining the world’s top ranked nation as second qualifiers from Group I after running out 4-0 winners at home to Scotland with all the goals coming in the second half. Unbeaten Belgium have 21 points from seven games, while Russia have 18 and Cyprus are on 10. The top two qualify directly.

* Croatia remained firmly on course to reach Euro 2020 after two goals from striker Bruno Petkovic helped them to a 3-0 home win over Hungary while Wales kept alive their hopes with a 1-1 draw at Slovakia in qualifying Group E on Thursday. The Croatians top the group with 13 points from six matches and will secure a berth in next year's finals with a match to spare if they beat Wales away on Sunday.

* Austria defender Martin Hinteregger scored a goal that any striker would have been proud of to set up a 3-1 win over Israel in Euro 2020 qualifying on Thursday. The Austrians moved into second place in Group G above Slovenia, who were surprised 2-1 away to North Macedonia with a Eljif Elmas brace, while a Robert Lewandowski hat-trick gave leaders Poland a comfortable 3-0 win away to basement side Latvia.

* Memphis Depay scored twice and Luuk de Jong was also on target as the Netherlands came back from a goal down with 10 minutes left to beat Northern Ireland 3-1 in their Euro 2020 qualifier in Rotterdam on Thursday. Netherlands, Germany and Northern Ireland all have 12 points in Group C, although the Irish have played a game more.

* Iran made it a night to remember for female fans allowed into the Azadi Stadium for a World Cup qualifying match for the first time since the Islamic Revolution as they inflicted a record-breaking 14-0 thrashing on Cambodia on Thursday. Striker Karim Ansarifard scored four goals and Sardar Azmoun hit a hat-trick as the Iranians handed Cambodia their heaviest ever defeat.

* World number one Novak Djokovic produced a majestic display in a 7-5 6-3 victory over American John Isner on Thursday to extend his winning streak in Asia and reach the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals. Djokovic, the defending champion, will next play Greek sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas who beat Poland's Hubert Hurkacz 7-5 3-6 7-6(5) in the only three-setter of the day. Twice champion Roger Federer was far from his best but did enough to overcome David Goffin 7-6(7) 6-4.

* Tennis star Naomi Osaka has taken steps to give up her US citizenship to play for Japan in the 2020 Olympics, Japanese media said on Thursday. The 21-year-old, born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother but raised in the United States, told NHK it will be special for her to represent host Japan at the Tokyo Games, the public broadcaster said.

* Toulouse and coach Alain Casanova have parted company by mutual consent after a poor start to the season left them third from bottom in Ligue 1, the club said on Thursday. Toulouse added that Denis Zanko, the technical director of the club's youth academy, would be in charge on a caretaking basis.

* Serbia defeated Paraguay 1-0 in an international friendly football match at Krusevac, Serbia on Thursday after breaking the deadlock in the final moments of the game.

* Injured former world No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro has postponed his return to the professional circuit on the advice of doctors, the Argentine's management team said on Thursday. Del Potro has not played since June, when he fractured the patella in his right knee for the second time in nine months during the Queen's ATP 500 tournament in London.

Reuters, Xinhua