Five goals from Gnabry and Goretzka seal group win
What a performance by Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka! Five goals from the FC Bayern duo helped Germany win 6-1 against Northern Ireland on the final matchday of the Euro 2020 qualifiers. The 2014 World Cup winners top Group C and end the international fixtures of 2019 with an impressive victory.
"I want to do my best in every game. I play up front for the national team and that's incredible fun. We've got a young team and we understand each other very well. I think we play very, very good football. We can go into the tournament with great confidence and the qualifiers went well too," declared the happy match-winner Gnabry after the game.
"We wanted to finish the year with a win and we were suitably motivated. Every victory gives you confidence and you can't replace winning with anything. He could see we enjoy playing today. We exploited the gaps that appeared very well," declared a highly satisfied Goretzka.
Joachim Löw started the game in Frankfurt with three Bayern players in the line-up with Goretzka and Gnabry playing alongside Joshua Kimmich from the outset. Captain Manuel Neuer was rested and he was replaced by Marc-André ter Stegen. Germany did not get off to a good start with Michael Smith opening the scoring on seven minutes with a long-range effort.
Germany were determined to make amends quickly and levelled through Gnabry on 19 minutes. He showed great technique in hitting the ball into the corner on the turn. Just before half-time, Goretzka scored to give Germany a deserved lead (43'). Gnabry made it 3-1 two minutes into the second half before netting a third on the hour mark -- it was his 13th goal in his 13th international and only Gerd Müller has a better record (1969). It got even better for the Bayern players on 73 minutes as Goretzka netted his second to put Germany 5-1 up. The outstanding Gnabry left the pitch to great applause on 80 minutes. Julian Brandt scored in added time (90+ 1') to make it 6-1.
Lewandowski scores in win for Poland
Poland ended the Euro qualifiers with a 3-2 home win against Slovenia in Warsaw to seal top spot in Group G. The captain Robert Lewandowski (54') was successful once again as he scored to put his side 2-1 up. In addition, Tim Matavž (14') and Josip Iličić (61') scored for the visitors with Sebastian Szymański (3') and Jacek Góralski (81') also scoring for Poland.
Austria lose without Alaba
Austria lost 1-0 in Riga on the final matchday of the qualifiers although they were already through to the finals before the game as they were certain or finishing second in Group G. David Alaba was rested and was not in the squad. The only goal of the game was scored by Mārcis Ošs (65').
Captain Perišić scores again in Croatia win
After Croatia sealed qualification as top team in the group on Saturday, the World Cup runners-up played a friendly against Georgia on Tuesday night in Pula. As at the weekend, Ivan Perišić got on the goalscoring list. The FCB striker, who led the team as captain, netted the winner on 53 minutes after Giorgi Papunaschwili (18') had put the visitors ahead with Croatia levelling through an own goal by Guram Kashia.