World Cup qualifiers: Kante, Werner strike in style

Updated: 16 November, 2020 11:41 IST | AFP | Paris

France's N'Golo and German Timo fire their teams to crucial wins against Portugal and Ukraine respectively

France midfielder N'Golo Kante celebrates after scoring against Portugal in a UEFA Nations League match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday; (right) Germany striker Timo Werner heads to score against Ukraine at the Red Bull Arena Stadium in Leipzig, Germany on Saturday. Pics/AFP
France midfielder N'Golo Kante celebrates after scoring against Portugal in a UEFA Nations League match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday; (right) Germany striker Timo Werner heads to score against Ukraine at the Red Bull Arena Stadium in Leipzig, Germany on Saturday. Pics/AFP

World champions France and Germany rode on the influence of their Chelsea stars to rack up Nations League wins on Saturday night. Spain's Sergio Ramos missed two penalties on the night he celebrated a record-setting 177th international appearance.

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante scored just his second international goal as France defeated European champions Portugal 1-0 in Lisbon to secure a place in next year's finals. Kante was quickest to react to a rebound as he netted the winner on 53 minutes that clinched France top spot in their group.

"It's very nice to see them snatch the win. It's deserved. We've fulfilled our objective of finishing first," France coach Didier Deschamps said.

Chelsea stars shine

Kante's Chelsea teammate in the English Premier League Timo Werner scored twice on his return to Leipzig as Germany enjoyed a 3-1 win over Ukraine. The win leaves Germany undefeated in their last 12 games and top of their group, a point ahead of second-placed Spain with the sides due to meet in Sevilla on Tuesday. "I had four good years here and it was fun to come back and win," Werner told ZDF. Ukraine took an early lead when Roman Yaremchuk caught the German defence napping. The hosts roared back with three unanswered goals by Leroy Sane and Werner, who scored either side of half-time.

Spain's Sergio Ramos  after a 1-1 draw v Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League match at St Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel, Switzerland on Saturday
Spain's Sergio Ramos after a 1-1 draw v Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League match at St Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel, Switzerland on Saturday

Ramos misses two penalties

In Basel, Ramos missed two penalties as Spain needed a late equaliser from Gerard Moreno to draw 1-1 with Switzerland. Ramos was making his 177th appearance to break the international appearances record for a European player, pulling clear of Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, who has 176. But it was a night to forget for the defender, who saw one spot-kick saved by Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer but backed himself to score a second, only to miss again with a dreadful attempted 'Panenka'. Ramos had previously scored 25 penalties in a row. "Sergio's numbers for penalties are out of this world. If there had been a third penalty, he would have taken that as well," said Spain coach Luis Enrique. Remo Freuler gave the Swiss a 26th-minute lead but they had Nico Elvedi sent off for conceding the second penalty with 11 minutes left. Spain finally found an equaliser in the 89th minute as Moreno converted Sergio Reguilon's cross.

Meanwhile, after losing all four of their opening games, Sweden finally found some form in Solna, beating World Cup runners-up Croatia 2-1. Switzerland's Juventus star Dejan Kulusevski and Marcus Danielson scored a goal each before Danielson also netted an own-goal.

Results

Sweden 2-1 Croatia
Portugal 0-1 France
Switzerland 1-1 Spain
Germany 3-1 Ukraine
Cyprus 2-1 Luxembourg
Malta 3-1 Andorra
Latvia 1-1 Faroe Islands
San Marino 0-0 Gibraltar

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First Published: 16 November, 2020 08:03 IST

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