ENGLAND AND FRANCE SEAL BERTHS-EURO2020
London: England qualified in style for the 2020 European Championship, while the Czech Republic, France and Turkey also booked their places on Thursday at next year’s tournament.
England only needed a draw to qualify but Harry Kane scored a hat trick in a 7–0 win over Montenegro, and the Czech Republic also advanced from Group A by beating Kosovo 2-1.
The result also meant that England, playing their 1,000th game, clinched top spot in the group thanks to their record against the Czech Republic. They won 5-0 at Wembley in March before losing 1-2 in Prague last month.
Cristiano Ronaldo also scored a hat trick, in Portugal’s 6-0 win over Lithuania, to keep the defending champion in contention for one of the top two spots in Group B.
Iceland’s earlier draw in Istanbul had already ensured France and Turkey were through from Group H.
All three of Kane’s goals ca- me in the first half as the Tottenham forward became the first player to score a hat trick in successive appearances at Wembley having also scored a treble against Bulgaria in September ..
The landmark night was completed by Tammy Abraham’s first England goal, six minutes from time.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the opener in the 11th mi nute and Marcus Rashford also netted in the first half to help England to a 5-0 advantage at halftime.
After a flood of goals in the first half, the Montenegro net was only breached after the bre ak by Aleksandar Sofranac’s own-goal and Abraham in the 84th.
The Czech Republic needed to win to join England buthada scare when Atdhe Nuhiu headed Kosovo into a surprise lead five minutes after the interval.
But Alex Kral curled in a stunning equalizer in the 71st and Ondrej Celustka scored what was to prove the crucial goal for the Czechs eight minu tes later.
CR7 on rampage: Ronaldo hadn’t scored in his last three clubmatches after playing with aknee injury.
But the Juventus forward showed little sign of any problems as he came to his count ry’s aid on Thursday, reaching 98 national goals in the process. He will be hoping to become the secondever player to reach 100 this weekend.
Iranian greatAli Daei holds the all-time record with 109 in ternational strikes .
It was Ronaldo’s ninth hat trick with Portugal, and the 55th of his career for club and country.
Pizzi Fernandes, Goncalo Paciencia and Bernardo Silva also scored for Portugal, which can qualify with a win in their final Group B match on sunday at Luxembourg.
The rout against last-place Lithuania gave Portugal 14 po ints, five fewer than group lea der Ukraine who havealready qualified — and one point more than third-place Serbia, who beat Luxembourg3-2.
QUALIFIED TEAMS (10)
Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine.
Note: 14 more teams will join them in main round
Iceland needed to beat Gro up H leader Turkey to stay in therunningfora direct berth in next year‘s tournament but drew 0–0
Hordur Magnusson came close for Iceland, eight minutes from time, but his effort from a corner was blocked on the line by Turkey defender Merih Demiral. The result meant France had already qualified before their 2–1 win over Moldova.
Vadim Rata fired Moldova into a surprise lead in the ninth minute but Raphael Varane leveled in the 35th and Olivier Giroud converted a penalty 11 minutes from time.
THURSDAY’S RESULT Group A: Czech Republic 2 (Krai 71 Celustka 79) Kosovo 1 (Nuhiu 50); England 7 (Oxlade-Chamberlain IL Kane19,24,37, Rashford 30, Sofranac 66-og, Abraham 84) Montenegro Group B: Portugal 6 (Ronaldo 7-pen, 22,65, Pizzi 52, Paciencia 56, Bernar do Silva 63) Lithuania 0; Serbia 3 (Mitrovic 11, 43, Radonjic 70) Luxem bourg 2(Rodrigues 54, Turpel 75) Group H: Albania 2 (Balaj 6, Manaj 55) Andorra 2 ( Martinez 18, 48); France 2 (Varane 35, Giroud 79 pen)Moldoval (Rata 9); Turkey O Iceland 0