Euro 2020 qualifying review, highlights and stats: Scotland on a roll, Northern Ireland thrashed in Germany

John McGinn: Scotland attacker celebrates after scoring against Kazakhstan in Euro 2020 qualifying
John McGinn: Scotland attacker celebrates after scoring against Kazakhstan in Euro 2020 qualifying

We review Tuesday's Euro 2020 qualifying action.

Results

  • Belgium 6-1 Cyprus
  • Germany 6-1 Northern Ireland
  • Latvia 1-0 Austria
  • Netherlands 5-0 Estonia
  • North Macedonia 1-0 Israel
  • Poland 3-2 Slovenia
  • San Marino 0-5 Russia
  • Scotland 3-1 Kazakhstan
  • Slovakia 2-0 Azerbaijan
  • Wales 2-0 Hungary - report and highlights here

Scotland sign off with a victory

McGinn scores twice in Scotland win | Scotland 3-1 Kazakhstan | Euro 2020 Qualifiers

Scotland required a second-half fightback to conclude their doomed 2020 European Championship qualifying campaign with 3-1 win over Kazakhstan at Hampden Park.

The Scots lost 3-0 to their opponents in their Group I opener in Nur-Sultan March, a result so devastating that it soon led to the departure of boss Alex McLeish, whose successor Steve Clarke watched attacker Baktiyor Zainutdinov stun the home side with a terrific opener in the 34th minute.

Scotland stepped up the pace after the break and midfielder John McGinn levelled three minutes into the second half with a deflected free-kick before captain Steven Naismith headed in a second in the 64th minute.

McGinn scored again in the 90th minute to keep Scotland third in their section with their third successive win, and although they have failed to qualify for next summer's finals through

the conventional method, they have the chance to get there through the play-offs.

Scotland will be at home on March 26 and will discover their opponents in Friday's draw. On this evidence, however, Scotland will have to improve markedly to reach the final.

Opta stats

  • Scotland have won three consecutive games in all competitions for the first time since October 2017 under Gordon Strachan.
  • Scotland have won seven of their last nine competitive matches on home soil – their previous seven such wins were spread across 18 matches before this.
  • Kazakhstan scored 13 goals during this qualification process, the most they have ever scored during a single EURO/World Cup qualifying campaign as a UEFA member nation.
  • Steven Naismith (33 years and 66 days) became the oldest player to score for Scotland since Kenny Miller (33 years and 234 days) against England in August 2013.
  • John McGinn has scored six goals in his last three games for Scotland; he had netted just once in his first 18 appearances for his country before this.

Northern Ireland hit for six in Germany

Gnabry hits hat-trick as Germany thrash NI | Germany 6-1 Northern Ireland | Euro 2020 Qualifier

Serge Gnabry's hat-trick condemned Northern Ireland to a 6-1 defeat to Germany in their final Group C fixture of Euro 2020 qualifying as outgoing manager Michael O'Neill suffered the second heaviest defeat of his eight-year reign.

Michael Smith's first international goal gave Northern Ireland a shock lead just seven minutes in at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, but it proved a false dawn.

Serge Gnabry failed to make the grade at Arsenal and even West Brom but is flourishing with Bayern Munich and he moved on to 13 goals in as many international appearances with a brilliantly-taken hat-trick, while Leon Goretzka scored a brace and Julian Brandt added a sixth late on.

It was Northern Ireland's heaviest defeat since they lost 6-0 to Holland in O'Neill's second game in charge back in 2012.

It was a painful way to end this campaign, though they can already look forward to next March as Wales' victory over Hungary means they are set to head to Bosnia in the play-offs.

O'Neill plans to remain in charge for that match alongside his duties as Stoke boss, and will hope a side that has gone toe-to-toe with Holland and Germany - in Belfast at least - in this qualifying campaign can improve on last year's 2-0 Nations League defeat in Sarajevo.

Opta stats

  • After winning five consecutive matches between March and September of this year, Northern Ireland have been victorious just once in their following five games (D1 L3).
  • Germany are unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with Northern Ireland, drawing three and winning the last nine in a row since a 0-1 home loss in November 1983.
  • Northern Ireland have finished in the top three places in each of their last three EURO/World Cup qualifying campaigns, having done so just once in nine previous such campaigns.
  • Germany are the first side to score six goals against Northern Ireland since Netherlands also hit them for six in a friendly in June 2012.
  • Michael Smith's goal was Northern Ireland's first to be scored from outside the box since Chris Brunt's direct free-kick against Czech Republic in September 2017.
  • Serge Gnabry is the first player to score a hat-trick against Northern Ireland since Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in September 2013.

Elsewhere...

Belgium 6-1 Cyprus

Belgium thrash Cyprus | Belgium 6-1 Cyprus | Highlights | Euro 2020 Qualifier

Netherlands 5-0 Estonia

Gini Wijnaldum gets a hat-trick against Estonia | Netherlands 5-0 Estonia | Euro 2020 Qualifier

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