Euro 2020 qualifying review: Wales seal nervy win over Azerbaijan, Scotland lose to Russia and Netherlands come back in Germany

Celebrations for Wales against Azerbaijan in Euro 2020 qualifying
Celebrations for Wales against Azerbaijan in Euro 2020 qualifying

A review of Friday's international football action.

Friday's results

  • Cyprus 1-1 Kazakhstan
  • Estonia 1-2 Belarus
  • Austria 6-0 Latvia
  • Germany 2-4 Netherlands
  • San Marino 0-4 Belgium
  • Scotland 1-2 Russia
  • Slovakia 0-4 Croatia
  • Slovenia 2-0 Poland
  • Wales 2-1 Azerbaijan

Latest Euro 2020 scores and fixtures

Latest Euro 2020 standings


Gareth bails Wales

Gareth Bale spared Wales a humiliating night in Euro 2020 qualifying with a late winner in a 2-1 home victory over Azerbaijan.

Bale struck his 32nd goal for Wales six minutes from time, rising to head home after Joe Allen's shot had been deflected high into the Cardiff air.

Wales had been gifted a first-half lead when Pavlo Pashayev scored a bizarre own goal, but Mahir Emreli punished a sloppy home display with a 58th-minute equaliser.

Azerbaijan are ranked 109th in the world - a whopping 85 places below Wales - and their only competitive away wins came in the Faroe Islands and San Marino.

But Wales, who could not afford to drop points after June defeats in Croatia and Hungary, were poor throughout and there was more relief than satisfaction at the final whistle.

Scotland hopes hang by a thread

Russia left Scotland's Euro 2020 qualifying hopes hanging by a thread as they came from behind to win 2-1 at Hampden Park.

The hosts enjoyed a dream start in a must-not-lose game when John McGinn pounced on Russia goalkeeper Guilherme's awful attempt to catch Ryan Fraser's low cross, and netted his first international goal from eight yards.

Russia always looked dangerous but Scotland's tenacity kept them largely at arm's length, until Andrew Robertson's tackle on Aleksandr Golovin in his own box fell kindly for Artem Dzyuba, and he slotted inside the near post.

After half-time Russia turned up the pressure and went in front when Golovin's cross was turned in by Yuri Zhirkov via O'Donnell's foot, and they should have enjoyed a more comfortable margin of victory but were denied a chance to wrap up the game by the woodwork.

Elsewhere...

Donyell Malen enjoyed a dream debut for Netherlands after his goal helped give the Dutch their first win in Germany for almost 19 years.

The PSV Eindhoven forward, 20, struck 11 minutes from time in Hamburg before Georginio Wijnaldum sealed a 4-2 victory which puts Ronald Koeman's side right back in contention to qualify for next year's European Championships.

Not since November 2002 had Holland beaten their neighbours in their own back yard. That day, they enjoyed a 3-1 success thanks to goals from Patrick Kluivert, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Serge Gnabry's early goal saw Germany lead at half-time but Frenkie De Jong's strike and a Jonathan Tah own goal turned the game on its head just before the midway point.

A controversial penalty scored by Toni Kroos levelled things up before Malen quickly restored Holland's lead and Wijnaldum made sure of victory in injury time.

The other game in Group C saw Maksim Skavysh's injury-time strike give Belarus a 2-1 win in Estonia after Erik Sorga had cancelled out Nikita Naumov's opening goal.

Belgium maintained their 100 per cent record in Group I with a 4-0 success in San Marino.

Michy Batshuayi scored twice, the first from the penalty spot, with Dries Mertens and Nacer Chadli on target in between the Chelsea striker's goals.

Cyprus and Kazakhstan drew 1-1 after Pieros Sotiriou cancelled out Aleksey Shchetkin's early opening goal for the visitors.

Wales stay three points behind Croatia, who won 4-0 in Slovakia thanks to goals from Nikola Vlasic, Ivan Perisic, Bruno Petkovic and Dejan Lovren.

Group G leaders Poland suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat in Slovenia, with Andraz Struna and Andraz Sporar on the scoresheet for the hosts. That allowed Austria to move to within three points of the Poles with a 6-0 home thrashing of Latvia.

Marko Arnautovic scored twice, once from the penalty spot, while Marcel Sabitzer, a Pavels Steinbors own goal, Konrad Laimer and Michael Gregoritsch ensured a comfortable success.

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