Germany crushed Belarus 4-0 on Saturday to confirm their place for the Euro 2020 for a record 13th straight time in history. Among the other heavyweights to qualify on Saturday were world cup runners-up Croatia and the Netherlands along with Austria which means 16 teams have booked spots at the 24-side event in Rome next year.
While Germany qualified with a dominating display, the Netherlands needed just a point which they ensured through a goalless draw with Northern Ireland in Belfast. Netherlands, Germany a”It means a lot for us as players. Hopefully it means so much to the Dutch people,” defender Virgil Van Dijk said after the win.
Tony Kroos struck twice while Matthias Ginter and added a goal each Leon Goretzka in Germany’s one-sided win. Belarus though had a chance to pull one but captain Manuel Neuer pulled off a superb save to stave off Igor Stasevich’s spot-kick. “Overall we did well, but at the moment I don’t include us among the favourites for the European title,” Kroos said.
Croatia though had to fight hard for their spot after Robert Bozenik struck to give Slovakia 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute. Slovakia held on to their lead during the half-time before Nikola Vlasic drew level.
Bruno Petkovic the put Croatia in front before Ivan Perisic sealed the deal. “We were trying to stay calm in the dressing room at half-time, we were sure that our quality would prevail. We kept attacking, creating chances, and the goals came,” Petkovic said.
Australia beat North Macedonia 2-1 to also progress for the finals.
Belgium, who have already qualified, maintained their unbeaten qualifiers run with a 4-1 win over Russia, securing the top spot in Group I.