Turkey stun France; Italy sweep aside Greece; Germany see off Belarus | The Daily Star
10:49 AM, June 09, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:20 AM, June 09, 2019

Turkey stun France; Italy sweep aside Greece; Germany see off Belarus

World champion France was given a cold shower on Saturday in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Turkey, which kept up pressure throughout the game for a 2-0 home win while former world champions Italy and Germany notched comfortable wins against Greece and Belarus.

Turkey started the game strong, scoring their first goal in the 30th minute with a header from Kaan Ayhan following Cengiz Under's free kick into the penalty area.

Under then raised the difference in the 40th minute, slipping the ball past Hugo Lloris after a sprint down the right wing to the French goal.

Les Bleus upped the pressure in the second half of the game, but missed several chances to score due to strong defence from their opponents and a solid performance from goalkeeper Mert Gunok.

Burak Yilmaz missed the chance to put Turkey further ahead at the 85th minute, sending the ball narrowly past the right post after a one-on-one with Lloris.

In other games in the group on Saturday, Iceland earned a 1-0 home win against Albania, while Moldova beat Andorra 1-0 at home.

Turkey now lead Group H with nine points having won all three games so far. They are followed by France then Iceland, both at six points.

Meanwhile, Italy continued their perfect start to Euro 2020 qualifying with a comfortable 3-0 win over Greece in Athens on Saturday which sent them three points clear at the top of Group J.

Roberto Mancini’s side are in pole position after picking up three wins from their opening three games without conceding a goal.

The visitors blew the Greeks away with three goals in the 10 first-half minutes, with Nicolo Barella opening the scoring when he met an Andrea Belotti pull-back to sweep in the opener.

Lorenzo Insigne doubled Italy’s lead with an exquisite curling finish before Leonardo Bonucci completed the rout by heading in a third after 33 minutes.

Greece showed signs of life after the break as Salvatore Sirigu dived to palm away a Kostas Fortounis half-volley, while Italian winger Federico Chiesa squandered a glorious chance to make it four when he fired over unmarked from close range.

Finland moved into second place on six points with a 2-0 win over Bosnia in Tampere.

Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki struck both goals inside 12 second-half minutes, striding through the visiting defence to open the scoring before adding the second with a delicate chip.

The Finns are now unbeaten in their last 10 home games, winning eight and drawing two, and sit two points ahead of Greece and Bosnia in third and fourth places respectively.

Armenia beat Liechtenstein 3-0 in a meeting between the bottom two teams to earn their first points of the campaign and leave the visitors bottom of the group with three defeats.

In the next round of fixtures on Tuesday, Italy host Bosnia in Turin, Armenia face Greece in Athens and Finland travel to Liechtenstein. 

Elsewhere, Germany eased past hosts Belarus 2-0 with goals from Leroy Sane and Marco Reus on Saturday to make it two wins from their first two Euro 2020 Group C qualifiers.

The three-time European champions, who suffered a shock World Cup first-round exit last year before being relegated in the inaugural Nations League, took a 13th-minute lead when Sane shook off his marker and fired in from close range.

Belarus responded by forcing a fine save from Manuel Neuer, who punched Nikita Naumov's 30th-minute header over the bar for the hosts' best chance in the game.

The visitors struck again with Reus in the 62nd minute after a clever assist from Matthias Ginter, the result giving them six points, three behind leaders Northern Ireland who beat Estonia 2-1 for their third win in three qualifiers. 

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