CDM 2022 qualifiers: Yilmaz extinguishes the Netherlands, Portugal as a small winner, Croatia falls … what to remember from the 1st day

Burak Yilmaz happy scorer with Turkey against the Netherlands
This first day of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers saw the surprise defeat of the Croatian vice-world champions in Slovenia and a very meager Portuguese performance against Azerbaijan. It was also the scene of unbridled matches in Turkey and Estonia … everything he learned from this first day.

Author of a particularly interesting season (9 goals in 20 Ligue 1 matches) with Christophe Galtier’s LOSC, the captain of Turkey, Burak Yilmaz, was the great architect of the almost surprise victory of his selection against the Pays- Low (4-3) at the opening of the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, this Wednesday, March 24. Author of a hat-trick, the Lille center forward was the executioner of the Dutch and Lyonnais Memphis Depay who missed a penalty admirably stopped by Cakir (90th + 4). The little burst of pride of the Batavians at the end of the second period (75th and 76th) was not enough to see the Oranje come back to the game. Especially since Yilmaz definitively ended the hopes of the Netherlands on his second penalty (81st) of the meeting a few moments later. More than enough to see the Turks sign a success which could prove to be very important when it comes time to do the reckoning next November.

It was not good to be finalists of the last World Cup on this first day of qualifying for the next World. After a disappointing draw for the Blues against Ukraine, his runner-up in Moscow in 2018 bowed to him (1-0). Picked cold, Croatia was surprised against its Balkan neighbor, Slovenia. The Croats however largely dominated the meeting by having monopolized the ball (66% of possession) but never managed to answer the opening of the score of Sandi Lovric for modest Slovenia. The next two matches against Cyprus and Malta should nevertheless allow the Croats to regain some confidence.

Portugal probably did not expect to deliver such a confused performance against Azerbaijan. With a host of scorers including Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix and the inevitable Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese were unable to score a single goal despite… 28 attempts! If they finally won (1-0) this Wednesday evening, it is thanks to the unfortunate Maksim Medvedev, scorer against his side by countering in spite of himself, a stop by his goalkeeper Magomedaliyev. The CR7 teammates leave with the victory but will have to show a much better face on Saturday March 27 against Serbia.

The Red Devils have shown themselves to their advantage by easily dominating Wales on Wednesday night (3-1). After Wilson’s Welsh scoring opener, Belgium went, as often, to Kevin De Bruyne who equalized with a magnificent strike from outside the penalty area. Thorgan Hazard also contributed to the victory of his family by scoring his 5th goal in the selection, in the absence of his older brother Eden, once again injured, before Lukaku drives home the point. The number 1 in the FIFA rankings confirm their status and start the World Cup qualifiers in the best possible way.

Faced with a very weak team from Estonia, which has not won a single match since 2019 and a victory in Gibraltar, the Czech Republic did not do in the lace by winning (6-2). The Estonian scoring opener by Sappinen woke up the Czechs who then scored no less than six goals, including three by Tomas Soucek. The West Ham midfielder had scored only four times out of all of his thirty caps. This Wednesday, he almost doubled his counter thanks to this hat trick. The Czech Republic takes the lead of its group ahead of Belgium.

With Quentin Ramelet

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