Germany, hosts of Euro 2024, beat France 2-1 in their friendly on Tuesday, ending their three-match losing streak. After a poor run that led to the dismissal of coach Hansi Flick on Sunday, the team regained some confidence.
Goals from Thomas Müller and Leroy Sane at the start and end gave Germany, under the direction of sporting director Rudi Völler, their first win in the last six games and capped a turbulent few days for the four-time world champions.
While France, runners-up in 2022, did not field their strongest team with captain and top striker Kylian Mbappe on the bench, Germany’s overall performance was clear compared to Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Japan, which led to Flick’s departure better.
“It was clear to us that we would be running a lot today,” said Müller. “It’s been a crazy situation the last three days. But congratulations to Rudi and his staff for how they handled it.
“We did what we had to, we worked hard and we were rewarded for it. We shouldn’t interpret this victory too much, but for us it was a bit of an emotional relief.”
The Germans, who had won four of their last 17 games before Tuesday, pushed hard and were rewarded when veteran Mueller scored his 45th international goal in the fourth minute from the penalty area after a beautiful 13-pass move.
The French gradually found their way into the game and became more dangerous, with Randal Kolo Muani and Aurelien Tchouameni putting the home defense under pressure.
Tchouameni’s low shot in the 57th minute forced a good save from Marc Andre ter Stegen, who also parried Antoine Griezmann in the 82nd minute by tipping his shot over the crossbar.
Sane then completed a quick counterattack and scored in the 87th minute before bringing down Marcus Thuram from the penalty spot two minutes later, with Griezmann reducing the deficit for the visitors.
Davide Frattesi scored twice as Italy secured a crucial 2-1 win over Ukraine to keep their hopes of reaching next year’s European Championship finals alive.
The defending champions went into the game five points behind their second-placed rivals in Group C after Saturday’s draw with North Macedonia.
But Frattesi’s brace in the first 30 minutes gave the Italians valuable breathing space, although Andriy Yarmolenko reduced the deficit before half-time.
Belgium and Austria cemented their status as joint Group F leaders with convincing victories over Estonia and Sweden respectively.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice in Belgium’s 5-0 win over the Estonians, while Marko Arnautovic also scored a brace as Austria impressed with a 3-1 win in Solna.
Erling Haaland scored the opener as Norway beat Georgia 2-1 in Group A, in a game which Scotland would have automatically qualified had it ended in a draw.
The Euro 2024 qualifying match between Romania and Kosovo was interrupted for almost an hour on Tuesday after Romanian fans repeatedly shouted provocative chants.
The game in Bucharest was stopped in the 18th minute after some spectators chanted “Serbia Serbia” and a player confronted people in the stands with a sign saying “Kosovo is Serbia,” prompting the referee to send the players back to the dressing rooms .
“The match has resumed after the game was suspended due to the discriminatory behavior of some fans,” Uefa said on its website after a 50-minute break.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and received recognition from more than 100 countries, but not from Serbia.
Romania scored two goals in the last ten minutes and secured the points with a 2-0 win.