FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers, matchday: Netherlands hope to rebound after loss, Portugal visit Serbia

The Netherlands look to get their campaign back on track against Latvia after slumping to a 4-2 defeat to Turkey in their first Group G match.

The Associated Press March 27, 2021 12:44:26 IST
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers, matchday: Netherlands hope to rebound after loss, Portugal visit Serbia

Netherlands got their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign underway with a surprise defeat to Turkey. AP

A look at what's happening in 2022 World Cup qualifying in Europe on Saturday:

GROUP A

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal visit Serbia seeking a second straight victory to start qualification. Coach Fernando Santos will be hoping for some improved finishing from his Portugal side in Belgrade after they needed an own goal by an Azerbaijan defender to eke out a 1-0 win in their opening qualifying match.

Ronaldo will be eager to pursue his next milestone. He is seven goals from Iran striker Ali Daei's record of 109 goals scored for a national team.

Serbia also got off to a good start this week when Aleksandar Mitrovic came off the bench to score two goals in a 3-2 comeback victory over Ireland.

Ireland will be looking to get their first win in 10th match under coach Stephen Kenny when they host Luxembourg.

GROUP E

Top-ranked Belgium travel to Czech Republic without several players due to COVID-19 restrictions. After Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Meunier and Thorgan Hazard were not authorised to make the trip to Prague under current rules imposed by Germany, the Belgian federation announced Friday that Thomas Vermaelen was also ruled out "due to quarantine rules" and returned to Japan. Yannick Carrasco also stayed in Belgium to nurse an ankle and get fit for Tuesday's game against Belarus. Hazard scored from Meunier's assist midweek in Belgium's opening 3-1 win against Wales.

Looking to book a spot at the World Cup for the first time since 2006, the Czech Republic will also try to secure back to back wins after starting their campaign with an emphatic 6-2 victory at Estonia, who are up against Belarus in the group's other game.

GROUP G

The Netherlands look to get their campaign back on track against Latvia after slumping to a 4-2 defeat to Turkey in their first Group G match.

"We want to see a better Netherlands team," said coach Frank de Boer. "We'll see tomorrow if there are changes."

Despite a nationwide lockdown, the Netherlands will be cheered on by 5,000 fans at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam as part of a government-approved experiment to evaluate how to safely reopen public venues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Norway host Turkey in a match between the top two in the group after the first match, while Montenegro host Gibraltar in an afternoon match in Podgorica.

GROUP H

The early front runners meet as Russia host Slovenia in front of potentially more than 10,000 fans who are permitted into the stadium in Sochi. It is the first meeting between the teams since Slovenia beat Russia in the playoffs to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

And Slovenia are off to strong start in qualifying for Qatar after beating 2018 runner-up Croatia in the opening round when Russia won at Malta.

Croatia next play Cyprus, who were held to a 0-0 by Slovakia.

Updated Date:

also read

Bundesliga: Relegated Schalke condemn fans who confronted players and egged them
Sports

Bundesliga: Relegated Schalke condemn fans who confronted players and egged them

Relegation follows a dramatic decline for Schalke, which played in the Champions League knockout stages two seasons before.

Serie A: Juventus' Champions League qualification at risk, Inter Milan edge towards title despite Napoli draw
Sports

Serie A: Juventus' Champions League qualification at risk, Inter Milan edge towards title despite Napoli draw

Leaders Inter Milan edged towards the Serie A title despite a 1-1 draw at Napoli, to pull 13 points ahead of Juventus who dropped to fourth place.

Qatar defies raging coronavirus cases, presses on with major sporting events
Sports

Qatar defies raging coronavirus cases, presses on with major sporting events

In the past 30 days, more than 25,000 people tested positive compared to just 7,501 in January, among a population of 2.75 million, although there is no evidence linking sporting events to the surge.